School Programs

Sandra Philipson's educational programs have been given in over 450 schools in Ohio and the surrounding states in the last 13 years. All the activities listed have been extensively field tested and designed with both Ohio and other local states' literacy standards in mind.
The author, the dogs, and often the illustrator, strive to present an educational program that is interactive, educational, and memorable for children, teachers, and parents.
Schools may choose programs from the following menu. Please note that there is flexibility, and many of the individual programs can be combined to suit each school's unique needs.


Large Group Power Point Presentation (Accompanying workshops)

This power point presentation, narrated live by the author, will give some brief biographical information on Mrs. Philipson and an introduction to the dogs and their roles as book characters. There is a cavalcade of book illustrations paired with pictures of the real dogs, highlights of the making of Miracle Dogs, the movie, and a possible question and answer session at the conclusion.
If the illustrator is also present, the children will create a character with her, and she will draw it on the spot to their specifications. They will be encouraged to write a story for that character back in their classrooms.
This is designed for K and up.


Generating Writing Ideas and Creativity

This program consists of the children exploring the author's doghouse box which is a storehouse of potential writing ideas generated from art, music, literature, historical objects, folk toys, etc. Student volunteers pick a variety of objects and the group will generate writing ideas and a writing plan (graphic organizer). The children and teachers end the presentation with questions and answers and a drawing lesson that produces an illustration of one of the dogs using basic shapes.
This program is appropriate for grades 1 and 2.

Building A Story and Character Development

This is a pre-writing/brainstorming activity designed to demonstrate creativity and story planning. The session may begin with a student picking a writing prompt from the doghouse box (described above). Next the item is discussed by the class, descriptive words are collected and written on the easel, and the illustrator (if applicable) presents some visual images of the ideas expressed. The class then decides on the format and objectives of the story. The actual story or poem can be written as a follow-up to the visit.
This is appropriate for grades 2 through middle school.

Building a Story (with the Author & Illustrator)

This is a story building activity that emphasizes story structure, organization and illustration. The students will work with the author and illustrator to create an original story, usually for children younger than themselves, based on a character prompt from the writer's doghouse box. They will give special consideration to audience, voice, and creating a humorous twist to make the story original. The illustrator will produce on-the-spot illustrations to accompany the story using feedback from the young writers. The story can be written as a follow-up to the program and produced in the classroom.
This program is appropriate for 4th grade through middle school.

Evening Parent and Child Programs---Large Group Format

This program is meant to reinforce the author's visit to the school. An entertaining power point presentation will give an overview of being an author, the roles of the dogs as book characters, movie making, and show a collection of book illustrations paired with pictures of the real dogs. We will also discuss with the parents how they can encourage their children's literacy outside of school and what children and parents can do together as in-home literacy activities.
Fee: There is an extra fee of $250/evening for this program.

Artist-in-Residence---The Creation of a Literary Magazine

In this extended program, students will write in a variety of genre, ie, prose, poetry, short story, and letters using a wide range of writing prompts presented by the author. The author will collaborate with the classroom teachers involved in the project (if appropriate) and will read and critique all the pieces of student work. There will be time built in for student writers to meet and work individually with the author. After the piece has been written, revised, and edited, it may be possible to work with the illustrator to create a related illustration of the piece and to work on cover art. The end result will be the creation of a literary magazine or book of highly crafted student work. Student performances of the pieces are possible. This program can be completed in three weeks to one month, depending on the number of participants.
This unique program is appropriate for grades 3-8



Author and Dog(s) Visit: $ 900.00/day *
Author, Dog(s), & Illustrator Visit: $ 1,100/day *
The Illustrator is Jenny Campbell, freelance artist, illustrator, and syndicated cartoonist. Her work can be seen at
Overnight accommodations are required if the school is two or more hours from Cleveland. If applicable, hotel and mileage should be added to the cost of the program.
Fees for the Artist-in-Residence programs are negotiable.
Doggie Fees: Treats and lots of petting! "We work for bones!"
*Please call us to see if your school district is eligible for discounted pricing.