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AKC Public Education
Resource specialist Danielle Belliveau with her fifth-grade students.

Danielle Belliveau, a resource specialist at Hedenkamp Elementary School in Chula Vista, Calif., is always seeking new ways to engage her students. When AKC Public Education launched a web page for teachers called “Educator Resources” in fall 2017, she was able to bring her love of dogs into the classroom.

Educator Resources offers national standards-aligned lesson plans for kindergarten-12th-grade teachers that introduce information about purebred dogs into the math, science, social studies, and language arts curriculum. Belliveau, who serves as the case manager for students requiring special education services, chose to teach a lesson on figurative language for her fifth-grade class.

Students read the poem “My Dog” and were tasked with identifying figurative language within the writing before drawing a picture of the dog, using details from the poem.

A New View on Writing

The children who participated in this lesson do not always enjoy writing. For that reason, Belliveau offers her students a unique incentive for completing writing projects. After a piece is finished, students can create an iMovie, eBook, or animate their work in order to help it come to life. Though she was previously limited by the technology in her classroom, as the winner of AKC’s “Win an iPad” contest — which asked educators to teach an AKC lesson plan and take pictures of their students engaging in the lesson — Belliveau now has more resources for her kids to use.

“The students’ patience, perseverance, and flexibility was rewarded with AKC selecting us as the winner of the iPad,” says Belliveau. “Their pride swelled with the announcement. And when they saw their photo on the AKC website, awareness of what they accomplished was in their eyes. The most rewarding thing is that I no longer hear moans and groans when I announce, ‘Our next writing assignment is…'”

While figurative language can be a difficult and dry concept, Belliveau says AKC’s lesson plan got her students excited because they were reading about a dog and were able to make that pup come to life using their imaginations.

Check out the Educator Resources page for hands-on activities, professional development opportunities, and information on the AKC Character Education Program.

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