Friday, March 6, 2015

Is there a better series than Magic Tree House?

The Magic Tree House is the best series for sharing as a read aloud, in my opinion. Mummies in the Morning is another adventure for Jack and Annie.
I don’t think so!

I LOVE Magic Tree House books. I have read these books every year to my kindergartners. They love them! It’s all about preparation and explanation, but they love them. As you know, I have taught full day and half-day kindergarten. Regardless, there is ALWAYS time for the Magic Tree House.

VA is for Teacher Bloggers is hosting a blog hop all about our favorite books.  It has to be the Magic Tree House Series.

The Rules

I have a few rules to sharing Magic Tree House books.
  1. Always start from the beginning. Go in order for the first 4 books in the series before you stray from the order.  Students get a good grasp on the characters and some details about the tree house.  After the first 4 you can skip around if you want, but I try not to skip so much.

  2. Preview the book and introduce vocabulary. Don’t let vocabulary ruin the flow of the story.  There’s nothing worse than having to stop the excitement to explain a word…it’s a buzz kill.

  3. Before you start the new chapter…do a quick review. Honestly, I scan the pictures from the chapters and put it in a smart board application.  Then, everyone can see the picture and they concentrate on the words, not trying to see the one picture for each chapter.  This also makes for a quick review.

  4. Before you leave the chapter…you need a prediction. At the end of each chapter, I read the title of the next chapter and need a prediction about what will happen in the next chapter the next day.  Students must use the sentence starter “I predict” and MUST include a reason for their prediction.  I predict…because…”

The Plan

It takes about 12 days to read a Magic Tree House book.  Day 1 is an vocabulary introduction day.  I allow students to tell me what they know about the main topic of the book.  Some students will already know about a mummy, but they may not know about a sarcophagus.  By the way, we talk about the “ph” in sarcophagus sounding like an “f” and we cough when we say it.  The next 10 days are 1 chapter a day.  I’ve found this schedule is doable, no matter your day includes.  The twelfth day is a celebration day. Here are 2 methods for incorporating Magic Tree House into your day.

Full-Day Option

The Magic Tree House is the best series for sharing as a read aloud, in my opinion. Mummies in the Morning is another adventure for Jack and Annie.
While teaching full-day kindergarten, we were required to have 3 Read Alouds a day.  Typically, 1 had a phonic connection, 1 had a math, science, or social studies connection and 1 was Magic Tree House.  We devoted 20 (sometimes 30 minutes) a day to our read aloud.  Read Alouds are so, so important to building comprehension skills and thinking skills.  Adding the lovable Jack and Annie to the mix just makes it fun.  There is nothing like getting to the wish is chapter 1 and the students are already with you as the tree house spins faster and faster.  As you read, “Suddenly everything was still.” the students join in with “Absolutely still.”  Once we read the chapter and give our prediction, we move to our table quickly to fill in our summary.  (See Mummies in the Morning Student Book)  It’s a quick review 4-6 sentences and fill in word wall words and familiar words.  Each day we read the book from the beginning, so they are reviewing the story again.  Students can add an illustration.  Of course, I’m a control freak when it comes to illustrations.  Illustrations should be drawn with a pencil to give good details, then colored with crayons.  I also think drawing can cause stress for kindergartners, so showing them step-by-step how to connect circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles to make a shape takes away any stress or apprehension.  At the end of the book, we invited visitors (maybe parents or another class) to come visit.  I pair my students with the guest class and we read our story to the other class.  I LOVE inviting a second grade class into our room for Mummies in the Morning, because in Virginia the current second grade curriculum includes Ancient Egypt.

Half-Day Option

Let’s talk half-day.  My school system has ½ day kindergarten for non-Title 1 students.  Half-day in my system is 3 hours.  8-11 and 11-2ish.  That includes a full curriculum of reading, math, science, and social studies.  It also includes library once a week, computer once a week, and guidance every other week.  So time is limited to say the least.  BUT, there’s always room for Magic Tree House.  The last 10 minutes of the day is always “Chapter Time.”  (Here’s a secret, if you’ve ever had students who took FOR-EV-ER to pack up tell them the Chapter Time starts when everyone is packed and ready to go.  Problem solved.)  Regardless, Chapter Time starts with a review of the vocabulary and the story so far.  Using those pictures on the smart board makes this very quick.  I reread the chapter title and ask someone to tell me a prediction from the day before, then we begin.  At the end of the chapter, sadly we don’t have time to write about it. We still do a prediction, but I add a “Somebody Wanted But So And” Summary.  Students are shown a poster with the key words “Somebody Wanted But So And.”  After our chapter I ask a few students to tell me a summary of the chapter.  I’m always surprised at the summaries they can come up with for the exact same chapter.  Here are some examples.
The Magic Tree House is the best series for sharing as a read aloud, in my opinion. Mummies in the Morning is another adventure for Jack and Annie.

On and On and On

I LOVE Magic Tree House books and I could go on and on and on about how to use these in your class and how to connect their learning to the chapter books.  Oh, and did I tell you they get a special sticker if they use one of the Magic Tree House vocabulary words in their writing?

If you’d like a FREEBIE sample pack of the Mummies in the Morning pack, CLICK HERE or click on the picture.

Thanks and ENJOY!

n6udaco

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20 comments:

  1. I honestly have never read a Magic Treehouse book aloud to my students. And only 12 days to read one? I'm in! I love all your great tips!

    Tiffany
    KteacherTiff.blogspot.com

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  2. Wow! I love how you laid out the steps for presenting the read-aloud to your class. Made me think about how to do my read-alouds in general. Excellent post!
    ~Heather
    The Meek Moose

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  3. I love how you've broken it down like a lesson plan, great for any grade level! My 2nd graders are just now getting serious about reading chapter books, and the Magic Tree House series is a favorite! Thank you for sharing!

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  4. I love these books! I like the idea of having the students predict the next chapter.

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  5. You have to do it. It is a day a chapter...they are only 5 or 6 pages each. You'll need an intro day and a conclusion day. They are fantastic books. Let me know if you do it!

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  6. Thank you, Heather. I think I'm kinda a control freak, but I am very specific about how I read these books...but I'm glad you like it!

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  7. Thanks, Haley! Magic Tree House books will hook them quickly! Enjoy!

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  8. Using the chapter titles as a prediction tool is fun. You'll be surprised how easily predicting becomes habit. Enjoy!

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  9. I love the Magic Tree House series! I'm so excited to try out some of your tips. My kids could listen to these all day long!

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  10. Mine could, too. Most days they groan when I get to the end of the chapter.

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  11. Julie Smith (The Techie Teacher)March 6, 2015 at 4:50 PM

    I LOVE your Magic Tree House rules...too cute!

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  12. I love the Magic Tree House books! I agree that you really need to start out with the first few before going on to the rest. My second graders love them. :)

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  13. I love the way that you laid out this read-aloud. Putting the words on the board is such an engaging idea that will work with multiple grade levels. I'll be trying it with my fifth grade class!

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  14. Your post was fabulous, and I appreciate the resource especially if I slide down to a primary grade in the future. I love the Magic Treehouse Series too. Mary Pope Osborne would be a great choice for VSRA!! Thanks so much!

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  15. Carla, We have tried and tried to get her. I was lucky enough to see her at IRA last year. She was amazing!

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  16. What a great way to think about Magic Tree House books! Love that you have the "rules" for reading them.

    Andrea
    Reading Toward the Stars

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  17. Your rules for reading the series are great. I've read aloud a few of the books, but not in order and I guess that was why they never really "stuck" with my students. You've inspired me to give it a try now!

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  18. I loved using Magic Tree House books in 4th grade and have had several groups of 1st graders love them, too! Great tips!

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  19. I agree! Magic Tree House is the best! Thanks for sharing. I loved the blog hopping. too.

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  20. Thanks, Charles! Magic Tree House is the best...but these ladies on the hop are pretty great, too.

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