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Saturday, January 24, 2015


I love when teachers post activities or share other ways they're making the most of my books in their classrooms. So I'm delighted to share teacher-developed activities built around one of my newest books, WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL HAIR!?  Plus I'll add my ways to build on these.

Learning to the Core shares a free download where kids are challenged to first choose one of the animals from the book. Next, children are asked to draw a picture of themselves with that animal's hair. Then students research to find out and share more facts about the animal they picked.

FROM ME: I loved when children made masks for WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL TEETH!? to share themselves with their favorite animal's teeth. How about having kids make masks or even costumes to imagine having their favorite animal's hair. It could even be fun to have a party kids attend as their hairy animals. Encourage each to tell one way their hair helps them survive--even thrive--as that animal.

Nancy Vandenberge's First Grade Windows On Wonder shares encouraging students to imagine how having hair like one of the animals in WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL HAIR!? would help them.

FROM ME: I'd love children to imagine their entire family having hair like their favorite animal from WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL HAIR!?

  • How would family grooming change?
  • How might this effect how the family is viewed by the neighbors?
  • How might having this hair even change what activities the family does together? offers an idea for WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL TEETH!? for third-graders that will work just as well for WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL HAIR!? It's which animal's hair would you least like to have? And why?  

First Grade Fairytales points out--It's a great way to get kids writing their opinions. Just push them to give more than one reason to really get them thinking. 

FROM ME: Third-graders could imagine giving the animal whose hair they'd least like to have a makeover. What would they do to improve that animal's hair color? Length? Special features?

How could a makeover change a three-toed sloth?

Then challenge kids to imagine how such a makeover is likely to change how that animal lives, including how it stays safe, what it eats, and how it hangs out with others of its own kind.

Could a tiger do as well with any other color or kind of hair?

Have your class decide to add on to WHAT IF YOU HAD ANIMAL HAIR!? Then work as a class or in small groups to choose at least three more animals to include in the book. Use the book's format to first tell something key about that animal's hair and how it helps the animal. Next, have each child brainstorm how having that kind of animal hair might be helpful. Or just plain fun!

Imagine animals in the book being able to trade hair with another animal. Then think about how that would change that animal. And how it would change how they live.  For example, what if a star-nosed mole had porcupine hair?  Or a polar bear had zebra hair?

Or what if a polar bear had reindeer hair?

Now, start brainstorming activities for what's coming soon--


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