Sunday, August 19, 2012

Trips Around the World... with the Magic Treehouse

I've been debating all weekend whether I should go ahead and blog about my favorite read aloud series or wait until Monday so I could post pictures...well, I've never been good at waiting, so TA-DA! (I will just have to update with photos later!)
For as long as I can remember, I have LOVED books. I mean really loved books. I know it sounds cliche, but they are magical! In third grade, I had a librarian  (that was PC then) named Mrs. Glenn. She was sweet as sugah :) and had a way with story telling. oooohhhh weeee, I HATED to leave the library! Mrs. Glenn had stuffed story book characters everywhere, it was a wonderland for a child!
Two of my favorites that Mrs. Glenn gave to me when she retired! True treasures!

 I would read at school, on the bus, at the table, in the bathtub (shhh! Don't tell Mrs. Glenn!) I could travel the world, go on adventures, meet new friends, and never leave my lovely, rural hometown. When I began teaching, I wanted my students to feel that same love for book! Thus, my addiction to The Magic Treehouse series. Yes, I teach first grade. Yes, they are chapter books. and YES they are the best thing ever!
Here is a snip it of how I use the Magic Treehouse series in my first grade classroom.
This year, I  Jack and Annie are mailing cute postcards to each of my new babies (snail mail is ExCiTiNg!!)  telling them about the neat adventures we are going to take together!
labels for snail-mail note cards

Now, follow me here. I read the series starting with book one, usually a chapter or two a day, as a read aloud. As I read, I have a marbled composition book under my document camera. I model various reading strategies out loud. For example, questioning an unknown word's meaning. I usually say something like "hmmmmm, Pteranadon. Wonder what that is? I'm going to write that word  in my notebook so that I can look it up later. Let me read a little more to see if I can figure it out with context clues. Ahhh, in the picture, Jack is riding on a flying dinosaur. I bet that is a Pteranadon!" I read further and jot notes in my notebook. We sound out words, write down "wonderings" , new facts, and draw pictures!

The kids love it! They often give me suggestions for my notebook, point out important facts, make connections, etc. After completing a book, we pin the book's setting on a map so we can track our travels, and I link a themed game or virtual field trip that relates to the books destination! (*this year I plan to mark our travels using Google Maps and make notes about the various destination--thanks to a lot of Google professional development this past summer!)
So many skills can be covered with the MTH series....character studies, research skills, map skills, facts/opinions, story elements.....the possibilities are ENDLESS! By the end of the year, my kiddos are stocking up on the series and their parents are amazed at what all they learn (like about a mummies nose and.....never mind!) Just typing this makes me excited! Stay tuned as I plan to update this post with pictures of our travel map, "research" notebook, links for virtual field trips, and shoe box treehouses to fit the various story settings! In the meantime, thank a librarian and ENJOY the Journey!
our  Magic Treehouse in the reading center :)

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