Wallie Exercises by Steve Ettinger - Teaching Ideas

Wallie is the fattest, laziest dog around. How fat and lazy you ask? Well, put it this way, Wallie won't fetch what he wants he expects it to be brought to him AND his shorts don't fit him anymore because his belly is so big! Wallie's owner finally drags Wallie to a park where he can get some exercise. There they meet  Edwin the Exercising Elephant. Edwin helps Wallie get moving and even though it is hard for Wallie he keeps at it and soon finds the exercise to be fun.

Mr. Ettinger actually contacted me last school year about doing a review for his book and so he sent me a signed copy. I am finally getting around to the review and have created a fun FREEBIE to go with it. This book is a great addition to your PE or Health units on diet and exercise, I know your kids will just LOVE Wallie and Edwin!

Here is the review of reading skills and strategies and ideas you could use to create a different lesson (than the strong thought one I created) for this wonderful story.

Reading level: 3.6
Theme/subject: exercise, health & nutrition
Genre: fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: magnificent, mutt, stroll, romped, mastered, budge, pants-less, troop, sweatbands, matter of minutes, hydrate, big ole gut, convinced, glee

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder why Wallie needs to exercise. I wonder what kind of exercises Wallie is going to do. {possible questions during} I wonder why Wallie was so lazy. I wonder where Edwin the Exercise Elephant came from. I wonder what kind of moves Wallie will do. {possible questions after} I wonder if Wallie will keep up the exercise.  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – First person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this (we, let’s, I).
  • Author's purpose - informative entertainment {evidence} the story is about a chubby dog named Wallie that was too lazy to exercise. The author gives definitions for some words that have to do with exercising. The illustrations are silly with the elephant all dressed and ready for exercising.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Wallie was too lazy to do anything. {most important event from middle} Wallie’s clothes stopped fitting him. {most important event from end} Wallie learned that he could exercise by doing his own moves.
  • Cause and effect – Why was Wallie a magnificent mutt? Because he was calm and cool and loving and faithful. Why did Wallie say to the boy “Bring it to me!”? Because he didn’t want to go chase the ball. How come Wallie’s pants did not fit him anymore? Because his belly was too big for his pants. Why did the boy need to find someplace for Wallie to get into shape? Because Wallie was lazy and couldn’t fit into his clothes anymore. Why did Wallie think he was going to be smushed? Because Edwin the Exercising Elephant was standing on their car. Why did Wallie think working out was way too tough? Because he worked out without much success. Why did Wallie trip? Because he stepped on his tail. Why did Wallie start to enjoy his exercise? Because he started doing his own moves.
  • Character analysis - describe Wallie. Describe Edwin. {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Character changes – in the beginning Wallie didn’t want to do anything that resembled exercise but by the end Wallie was having fun while he was exercising.
  • Classify & categorize – Classify activities categorizing activities that will keep you healthy and activities that won’t.
  • Compare & contrast – compare and contrast you and Wallie.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Not liking to exercise. Not wanting to exercise. 
  • Fact & opinion{fact} Wallie was a lazy dog. Wallie’s clothes started to not fit him. Wallie thought the warm ups were easy. Water keeps us cool and ready to move. Wallie enjoyed exercising when he could do his own moves. {opinion} I think Wallie is too fat. I don’t think Wallie will keep exercising. Wallie was a magnificent mutt. The boy should walk Wallie instead of taking him to go exercise. Turtles can move pretty fast.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mostly about Wallie trying to exercise. {details} Wallie never wanted to exercise. Wallie thought exercising was too hard. Edwin told Wallie to do his own moves to make it more enjoyable.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Edwin told Wallie to do his own moves.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is going to be about. What do you think the boy will do to get Wallie to exercise? Do you think Wallie will exercise with Edwin? Do you think Wallie will give up completely? What will Edwin tell Wallie to help him keep going?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} Wallie was too fat. {solution} The boy took Wallie someplace to exercise.
  • Sequencing – Wallie wouldn’t do anything to exercise. Wallie couldn’t fit into his pants. The boy took Wallie someplace to exercise. They saw turtles, giraffes and chimpanzees exercising. An elephant landed on the top of their car. Wallie thought he was going to be a chubby cuisine. Edwin invited them to go exercise with him. It was too hot for Wallie. Wallie hydrated himself with water. Wallie gave up exercising. Edwin convinced him to try again. Edwin told him to make up his own moves. Wallie enjoyed exercising with his own moves.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – The boy wanted Wallie to exercise because his pants wouldn’t fit him anymore. What are some other reasons why Wallie should be exercising?
  • Summarize - {someone} Wallie {wanted} wanted to be lazy {but} but the boy wouldn’t let him {so} he took Wallie to someplace to exercise. Wallie met Edwin and {finally} finally learned that exercising could be fun. 
  • Theme – Exercising can be fun.


Happy planning!

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