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Talk with Animals

Day 1

Read The Dogs Could Teach Me from Woodsong by Gary Paulsen.

The Dogs Could Teach Me here.

Answer the following questions in complete sentences.

Reading Check 

a. Why does Paulsen stop trapping animals? 

b. What mistake leads to his accident? 

c. How do the dogs react to the accident? 

d. Why is Paulsen surprised at the dogs’ behavior? 

Pick two from the following three questions to answer. Use complete sentences.
1. Make a rough diagram illustrating the trick Columbia plays on Olaf. What cause-and-effect relationships did Columbia need to understand to come up with his plan? 

2. In your opinion, what is the most important sentence in “The Dogs Could Teach Me”? Explain your choice. 

3. This account is told by Gary Paulsen himself, using the first-person pronoun I. What things does he tell you that no one else would know? Think back on other selections you've read in this book. What other accounts are told from the first-person point of view? 

Pick two from the following three questions to answer. Use complete sentences.

4. About his decision to stop trapping, Paulsen says, “That change—as with many changes—occurred because of the dogs”. Give an example (from your own experience, if possible) of how a relationship with an animal might change someone. 

5. In “Mrs. Flowers,” Mrs. Flowers says that it is language that sets humans apart from other animals. Other people believe that only humans have souls or laugh. What do you believe makes people unique? 

6. Go back to the story, and reread the paragraph starting “If Columbia could do that. . . .” Do you agree with Paulsen’s reasoning and the conclusion it leads him to? Why or why not? 

Day 2

Creative Writing 

Do either #1 or #2 and #3

1. Let the Dogs Talk 

How might one of the dogs describe the experiences Paulsen tells us about in this account? Rewrite one of the episodes so that one of the dogs tells the story from his or her first-person point of view. If you retell the story of how Columbia torments the doofus Olaf, let Columbia or Olaf tell the story, using I. If you retell the story of Paulsen’s terrible accident, have Obeah tell the tale, using I. If the dogs tell the story, what will we know that Paulsen could not have known? 

2. Collecting Ideas for a How-To Essay 

Suppose you would like to create a children’s illustrated how-to guide to pet care. You could focus on one animal or make a general manual of pet care. You might get information from an animal shelter, pet owners, a veterinarian, or website on pet care. Take notes now on some of the basic kinds of information you’d like to cover. Put your written note in the order which you'd place them in your how-to-guide.

3. The Perfect Pet 

Paulsen admires his sled dogs for their intelligence, strength, and loyalty. What would your ideal animal be like? Draw a picture of the perfect animal—it can be a member of a real species or one that you invent. Then, write a paragraph describing qualities the animal has that can’t be shown in a picture. (Don’t forget to give your imaginary animal a name.) 


Day 3

Read We Are All One

Answer the following questions in complete sentences.

Reading Check 

a. Why doesn't the peddler's wife want him to go?

b. Why did the insects help the peddler?

c. What did the peddler find that helped cure the blindness?

Answer in a complete sentences.

1. What is the morale of the story?

Give examples from the text and explain.

2. Compare this story to The Dogs Could Teach Me.

How are they similar. How are they different?

Rewrite each of the seven paragraphs in the story.

3. Rewrite this story as "We Are Not All One."

Use all of the same characters and the same plot. Make sure you're story still has a valuable lesson.

Day 4

Using Commas with Adjectives 

Sometimes an adjective and its noun are thought of as a unit, as in orange juice, fried chicken, or mouse pad. When you use adjectives to modify these pairs of words, you should not use a comma before the last adjective (cold orange juice, not cold, orange juice). 

EXAMPLES         This is my favorite Paulsen book
                               Brian eats raw, slimy turtle eggs

You can use either of these methods to decide if you need to use a comma. 

1. Insert the word and between the adjectives in the series. If and fits logically between the adjectives, use a comma between them. (In the first example above, favorite and Paulsen book doesn’t make sense. In the second, and seems logical between raw and slimy but not between slimy and turtle.

2. Change the order of the adjectives. If the phrase still makes sense when the order of the adjectives is reversed, use a comma between them. (Slimy, raw turtle eggs makes sense, but turtle slimy eggs and Paulsen favorite book don’t). 

Try It Out 

Copy the following paragraph, adding commas where needed. 

Hatchet is a popular adventure novel by Gary Paulsen. Its hero is a thirteen-year-old city boy who survives a terrifying disastrous plane crash. He learns to fend for himself in the harsh unforgiving Canadian wilderness.