Lesson 9: Dear Dog

Lesson Overview

This is the final Empathy Pawject Lesson, intended to celebrate student learning. I discuss with my students that this special project is ever-evolving as it involves real dogs that they have helped raise awareness for. Each year I book a public space to display my student’s portraits. A public venue allows student’s families and friends to come and cheer on the work these artists have created. It widens their community and continues to raise awareness for animals in need.
In this lesson, students will apply the information and skills they have learned about adoptable dogs, empathy, and compassion to help them craft a letter to their adoptable dog. The idea here is to do something nice even though they know they cannot receive anything in return. They will also get a chance to ask their dog some questions and put into words how they have felt learning about them and painting their portraits.

Lesson Materials

1) dog’s profile
2) portraits
3) sketchbooks
4) a sheet of writing paper, a pencil and an eraser
5) a large piece of chart paper, smart board or white board to record brainstorming ideas on

Go to PDF for printable file

Curriculum Outcomes: From the Grade 4 Alberta Program of Studies

(from the Alberta Education Program of Studies for Grade 4 Art)

  • Explore drawing media (AC: 10iii a) (CHC 10h)
  • Understand that operating from a position of trust sets the stage for building relationships (CHC 9e)

(from the Alberta Education Program of Studies for Grade 4 Health and Wellness)

  • recognize that individuals can have a positive and negative influence on the feelings of others (R R-4.1)
  • identify and describe ways to provide support to others (R-4.6)

Learning Activity

Brainstorming Session:
Ask the students to think about all of the things they have learned about empathy, adoptable dogs in shelters both local and around the world, and about their dog specifically. Before writing, have them think about what they want to share with their dog.

Brainstorm with the students to come up with some questions they could ask their adoptable dog. Also, list some things they would like their dog to know about them:

  • Are they curious if their dog has any siblings?
  • Do they want to tell the dog about their own siblings
  • What are their dogs favourite foods, games and activities?

Have the students spend the rest of the class writing a letter to their dog. They can also draw a picture for their dog.


Go to PDF for printable file

End of Class Activity

At the end of this class ask your students for feedback on the project: what they liked, what they found challenging and what they think they would add to it. This feedback will be very valuable but it will also give you some insight into your students learning and developing empathy.