Thursday, April 26, 2012

My Life in Dog Years

Thanks, Kim Simpson, for your review and good ideas. I love seeing how this plays out in the classroom.
Paulsen, G. (1999). My life in dog years. New York: Bantum Doubleday.
Who has known the love of a dog? A dog is one’s truest friend and loyal companion, as is evidenced in this book.  Paulsen has written, “They are wonderful and, I think, mandatory for decent human life.” And I must say that I agree. This work is a compilation of stories that are biographical/memoir in nature. This wonderful page-turner is dedication to the canine. Within the pages, a theme unfolds of exceptional friendship. 
The sequence of the book is presented in chapters. Each one is dedicated to certain beloved friends in the author’s life. The writing style is simple, yet expressive and the author writes in a conversational tone. I felt as though I was settling down with a cup of coffee while listening to these stories in person. The thought of brave Dirk gives me new respect for these wonderful creatures. The book details the impact these pets have had on the man and experiences he has had with them during his life. My favorite pet from the book is Ike, an unforgettable tale about loyalty.
During reading, I used the Mark the Bold/Talk the Bold bookmarks and they worked out perfectly for this book!! I shared this book in my classroom as a read -aloud to my students, because they are aware of and share my great love for dogs. As previously stated, the chapters are named after a specific canine (in bold letters). So, I noted the page number of the bold word/names. Then I was able to go back to the specific name/page for the classroom discussion. We had a fantastic dialogue about these furry characters!!
As a classroom curriculum connection: I would ask students to choose a dog from the book and write a narrative from the dog’s perspective.
**This blog is dedicated to my most loyal companion, Mason (Mason Bear). Mason is my three year old Yorkie. He is small, at four pounds, yet he exhibits an enormous amount of love and loyalty. He has been with me through every step of this process. I mean, literally, right beside me.  He has watched the screen during every class chat and blog. He sat with me through every weekend of homework, wiki submissions, and all of it. He has looked up at me wearily, at times, as I have looked down at him wearily. However, he never thought of leaving my side. He has walked on my syllabus, licked my notes, and sat on countless books. He is, at this moment, curled up against me and sleeping. So, to Mason bear, we did it!

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