This username and password
combination was not found.

Please try again.

Hotchalk Global

view a plan

In this lesson, students write a researched animal abuse stance paragraph after reading ‘Shiloh Season’


Language Arts, Social Studies  


5, 6  

Title – How Can I Save Shiloh?
By – Jill Moreland
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – 5-6
Inquiry Instruction Lesson Plan
Social Studies/Language Arts/Current Events & Issues

Materials Needed:

  • Shiloh Season , Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Aladdin Fiction, ©1996
  • Archived newspaper story on a real case of animal abuse from within the last two years
  • Pamphlets, brochures and books on Animal Rights and Animal Abuse Issues
  • Computer Access (either in class, or in the computer lab)
  • Bookmarked web sites on Animal Rights and Animal Abuse Issues (i.e., )
  • Printouts of the web site information in case there are not enough computers available for the students.
  • Handouts (one per student) with general information on Animal Rights and Animal Abuse
  • Character Webs (already finished) for reference on the characters in the book
  • Pros/Cons Overhead Example
  • Overhead with questions students may ask themselves in making a determination on what to do

Prerequisite Skills:

  • Students will have read the book, Shiloh Season
  • Students will have discussed the book in their literature circles
  • Students must be able to explain and create Character Webs
  • Students will be able to describe what animal abuse is, and understand the laws concerning animal abuse
  • Students should be able to create a pros/cons list
  • Students should be able to write a summary in paragraph form

The teacher will create an information center with pamphlets and general information on animal rights and animal abuse.

Lesson Goal:

After reading Shiloh Season , and discussing the book in literature circles and creating one character web in each of their literature circle groups, students will be presented with the following problem to solve: An eleven year old boy finds a stray dog. Marty realizes that the dog has been abused by his owner. Marty struggles with the questions of returning the dog to his owner where he knows it will be abused or lie to his family to hide the dog. Students will be required to choose a side (either return Shiloh, or hide him from his parents).

  1. For students who choose to return the dog they must present their rationale in a one paragraph, written summary form, and then write down the steps they would need to take to ensure that the animal abuse is reported to the authorities based on the information they have been given on animal rights.
  2. For the students who choose to hide Shiloh from his family, they must present their rationale in a one paragraph, written summary form and then write down the steps they would take to inform their family of the hidden dog (explaining what they know about animal abuse based on the information they have been given on animal rights) and convince their family with logic and rationale why they should keep the dog by creating a pros and cons list.

Orient Students to the Dilemma:

You have read the book, Shiloh Season and discussed the book in your literature circle groups. You will now each take on the role of Marty Preston, and you will be asked to decide whether or not you should return Shiloh to Judd Travers, or if you should keep Shiloh and hide him from your family until you can figure out a way to explain to them where this dog came from and why you decided to take it from its original owner. First, I am going to read you a newspaper article on a real animal abuse issue to give you a real-life situation and how it was resolved. I encourage you to ask yourselves the following questions while making your decisions on how you will save Shiloh:

Posted on the Overhead Projector

  • Do I have any personal connections that I can draw on to make my decision?
  • Have I ever visited an animal shelter?
  • Have I ever seen evidence of animal abuse in the news? If so, how did I feel?
  • How would I feel if I were Marty?
  • How would I feel if I were Judd Travers?
  • Is it ok to lie if you believe it’s for a good cause?

Organizing Students for Study:

  1. Ask the students who will choose to return Shiloh to Judd Travers to move to the left side of the room
  2. Ask the students who will choose to take Shiloh home and hide him from his family to move to the right side of the room

*Note: If the teacher finds that he/she has largely unequal amount of students on either side he/she should ask a few students to take a risk and volunteer for the other side.

After the student stances have been noted by the teacher, the teacher will then instruct the students to start their independent research to complete their individual projects.

  • They may go to a computer
  • They may go to the Animal Rights Resource Center
  • They may choose from the books available on the book cart

Assist Independent Investigation:

The teacher will be available during the entire research period to help students find information and answer general questions (while being aware that his/her opinion should NOT be stated to any of the students). The teacher will also encourage the students to use the list of questions on the overhead screen to aid them in creating their summary argument.

Develop and Present Arguments:

After students have completed their summaries and depending on the route they chose to take, they will reconvene on either the left or the right side of the room in their original large groups and one by one, present their list of steps they took to report the animal abuse, or they will present their list of pros and cons to each other.

Analyze and Evaluate the Problem-Solving Process:

The teacher will then have the class go back to their individual desks and call on individual students to have them briefly explain how they came to their conclusion on whether to return Shiloh or take Shiloh home. This process is good for allowing students to self-identify their thinking process (i.e., Did they choose based on personal connections? Did they choose based on the information they found during their research? Did they choose based on their visual interpretations of the characters in the book?).


The students will be assessed based on their summary papers and their actions taken to report the animal abuse (does it include evidence of research) or their list of pros and cons (do they contain logical reasoning?)


For those students who need additional help the teacher will have the pre-printed web site information for quicker research, and ‘information organizers” will be posted throughout the room to aid them in their thinking skills, such as: Connections to Self…, This Makes Sense Because…, I imagine/See…, I Guess That…

For those students who are of high ability, they will be encouraged to do additional research to find another type of animal abuse (i.e., Elephant Poachers in Africa, Deer Poachers, Hunting Out of Season, Abusive Farming Techniques) and will present the information to the class by defining the issue and the steps taken to stop the particular type of animal abuse.


Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Shiloh Season . Aladdin Fiction, © 1996

Pet Abuse Web Site:

Animal Abuse Web Links:

E-Mail Jill Moreland !

Print Friendly, PDF & Email