Take Away Teaching Ideas #13

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

By Lynley Dodd

First published in 1983, this is the first in a series of books about the adventures of a scruffy dog ‘Hairy Maclary’. Rhyming, catchy and comical with brilliant characters and plots.

And just so you know a ‘dairy’ in New Zealand is a corner shop.

You can view the story HERE  

Check out Hairy Maclary’ s website HERE 

My inspiration to create these teaching ideas came from a memory on my phone! Last year I visited the Lynley Dodd exhibition – which was brilliant!



This book links to reading rhyme with fluency, exploring repetition, and retelling.


This book lends itself to exploring characters and a plot.

I have created a comprehensive online resource which supports writers to collect and generate ideas. The writers borrow a familiar character to generate problems and solutions to develop their own story. I borrowed Hairy Maclary and Scarface Claw to model this strategy lesson!

The resource includes:

  • An overview of the strategy – Love that Character.

  • The Strategy Lesson includes a detailed plan, photographs, videos and classroom resources to download.

  • The instructional video of modelled writing can be viewed by students at home or school. This lesson is ready to be implemented tomorrow!

  • Differentiation is a key feature of the resource – a range of learning focuses and texts are provided to support writers F-6.                       



This is a great book to explore number recognition, ordinal numbers, and words to describe position!

I thoroughly enjoyed planning these teaching ideas for you!

  • Let’s go on a letter hunt! How many words can you find in the story that have two vowels?
  • Collect the rhyming words from the story and write on individual cards. Lucky dip a word and recall the rhyming word from the story.
  • Investigate the letter patterns of the rhyming words.
  • Create a mobile of rhyming words as a reference for your writing.
  • Investigate if all Lynley’s books rhyme. What did you find?
  • Practise reading a section of the story to be videoed and viewed.
  • Research the breeds of the dogs in the story.
  • Retell the story using toy animals or puppets.
  • What would the sound effects of the story be? Make a sound scape of the story.
  • Create a setting for a new Hairy Maclary adventure. What is going to be the plot? Is SCARFACE CLAW in your story?
  • If you changed the characters in the story – who would they be? Why?
  • Innovate the story by including your own pet.
  • If the story did not rhyme how would you describe the characters. Hercules Morse as big as an…
  • In pairs, play the game – Guess Who using the characters from the story.
  • Add to the description of your favourite character. How could you describe Schnitzel von Krumm with a very low tum?
  • Why did Lynley write SCARFACE CLAW all in capital letters? Can you apply this to your own writing?
  • Plot the story on a story map.
  • How would you describe SCARFACE CLAW? How do you know?
  • Draw the characters from the story and label them according to the order they entered– 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
  • Search for the numbers in the story. Make the numbers using the materials to show their value. What is something the same about the numbers? What can you use to calculate the total of all the numbers?
  • What is the number on your letter box? Share everything you know about that number.
  • Visit the playground at school and take photographs to show your understanding of the words -down, past, end, straight, out.
  • Draw a map to show the Hairy Maclary route. Label the map to show your understanding of the words -down, past, end, straight, out.
  • Create a 3D model of your map and use character puppets to retell the story.

Do you enjoy Lynley’s stories and exploring a story across the curriculum with your students? Creating that sense of WOW about a story!

This teaching resource for the story ‘The Smallest Turtle’ is designed for teachers who love to explore books in ‘hands on’ and engaging ways!

The resource includes:

  • Hooks to engage

  • Fun tasks to investigate letters and words

  • Opportunities to build comprehension strategies

  • Strategies to motivate writers

  • Learning experiences with strong connections to mathematics

  • Springboards for investigations

Enjoy and take care,


Andrea Hillbrick