My students, especially 1st and 2nd graders, love the Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant. They are timeless classics that make my students laugh and laugh. Henry is a young boy who has many adventures with his big, friendly, slobbery dog Mudge. The book I chose to read with my students was Henry and Mudge and the Tall Tree House.
After reading the book, challenge the students to make a house for Mudge. It could be a tree house, but it could also just be a dog house. This idea came to me via Twitter from the great Janie Hachen. Be sure to follow her @Hachen2nd. She has so many great ideas.
For this challenge, students can be given just about anything to build their houses… Legos, blocks, Lincoln Logs, paper, Popsicle sticks, straws, dominoes, cardboard… the list goes on and on. Just give then a paper cut out of a dog or a figurine and let their imaginations soar.