Are You a Horse?

Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in Early Learning, Logic Smart, Nature Smart, Science | 1 comment

Roy gets a saddle for his birthday with the instructions to find a horse and enjoy the ride, but Roy doesn’t know what a horse is. Are You a Horse? by Andy Rash had my group of kindergartners giggling and chiming in each time Roy asked a different character his big question. “Are you a horse?” Roy asks a cactus, but it can’t be a horse because it’s not an animal. Roy asks a snake, but even though it’s an animal, it can’t be a horse because a horse has legs. Time after time, Roy uses what he’s learned¬† and finds a new something to ask, “Are you a horse?” only to be told no. Finally he finds an animal that meets all the requirements (an animal with legs, friendly, fast, no stripes, etc.) – yes, it’s a horse! The last page had those kindergartners guffawing, because Roy and the horse do use the saddle to go for a ride, but the horse rides Roy.

There’s a great deal of “yes/no” information in this book, so it was the perfect story to teach kids how to use a chart as a graphic organizer. I made a chart with all the characters Roy meets (the cactus, the snake, etc.) going down the side. Across the top of the chart were listed all the characteristics that came up in the book: are you an animal, do you have legs, etc. Next, I put the picture of each character on a 3×5 card. To make sure I had enough for everyone in the class, I made three cards for each character. I passed out the index cards and asked the kindergartners to find the people who had matching cards (the cards had both the picture and the words to help my non-word-readers). Once the kids were sitting with their character buddies, we filled out the chart together on the Smart Board.

“Are you an animal? Cactuses, thumbs up if yes you are an animal, and thumbs down if you’re not.” Because the kids were in little teams, they could look to each other to answer the question. “Noooo!” Since the cactus did not meet the animal requirement, we wrote the word “no” with a frown face in that square. “Crabs, are you an animal?” Thumbs up meant we wrote the word “yes” with a smiling face in that square. If we weren’t certain (do crabs lay eggs? Good question!) we marked those squares with a question mark and decided to find out the answer during library time.¬† As a group, we used the chart to review and organize all the information we’d learned in reading Are You a Horse? and all the students were actively involved. My animal-loving “nature smart” kids were thrilled, my “logic smart” kids were in heaven, and I had a blast listening to a classroom of kindergartners asking in their best cowboy drawl, “Are you a horse?”

For more information, visit Andy Rash’s website:


One Comment

  1. This was a HUGE hit with my kindergarten kids. They loved the silliness and the fun of using that delightful, addictive cowboy accent. Great book! Thank you!

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