Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew

The Beginning of a Magical World...
Did you know there's a story before The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe? Of course there is! How did Narnia begin? How did there come to be an entrance from our world to the world of Narnia? Find out in The Magician's Nephew, C.S. Lewis' prequel to the Chronicles of Narnia that you know. In this book, meet Digory and Polly and follow them through their adventures discovering other worlds started all because of  a trek to the abandoned house next door. Instead of exploring the house, they end up in Uncle Andrew's study. What has Uncle Andrew cooked up? Is this why Digory hears strange noises in the night? Who knew how much magic 2 yellow rings and 2 green rings could possess? Find out in this fantastic start to the Chronicles of Narnia.

*New Feature*
Reading Level:  Flesch-Kincaid Index 5.7
I will be adding reading level to my previous posts as well

Teachers... Here are some ideas and resources to help you to teach this novel...

Web Resources:
  • Literature Study: This site contains a lot of good information. I recommend the characters, summary, spelling/vocab word and study questions sections, broken down by each chapter. There are other sections to connect across the curriculum but most of the ideas are very loosely based on the chapters, so ere on the side of caution with those links. This site also has the same type of links by chapter for the other books in the Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Teaching Guide: This guide has an overview of the entire Chronicles of Narnia with many ideas for activities as well as a section for each book in the series.
  • Discussion Guide: This guide provides discussion questions for reading groups that go with each of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia.

Vocabulary: Here are some words I thought may need to be pretaught: cistern, pantomime, dingy, indignant, asylum, preposterous, dotty, treachery, hansom, minion, delirium, ostentatious, sagacious, shied, cataracts, conceited, coronation, tyrants.

Before Reading:
  • If students have read (or watched) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, explain what a prequel is and have students predict what happened before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • Help students learn what a good reader does, model examining the picture on the cover and make a prediction out loud to the class. Then have half the students make a prediction based on the title while the other half of the class makes a prediction based on what is written on the back of the book. Be sure to share predictions. Have students write a sentence or two about their predictions so they can compare those predictions to what really happens in the novel.
During Reading: Have students create a double entry journal. This can be created by simply folding a piece of paper into 2 sections and labeling one section: The book says and the other section: I say. Under "The book says" the student writes down a passage that they think is important, confusing, etc. Under "I say" the students write why they thought this passage was important, confusing, what they think it means, etc. Ask students to write 1-2 entries per chapter.

After Reading: The last chapter of The Magician's Nephew tells a little bit about the future of Narnia, but it does not fill in all the details between when Digory and Polly leave Narnia to when "another child" finds Narnia. Write a story to fill the gaps. We know Digory becomes a professor and that he and Polly keep in contact after he moves away, but what else happens? Write a story about Digory and Polly and what happens with them after their adventures in Narnia ended.

Lewis, C. S. (1955). The Magician's Nephew . New York: HarperCollins.

Happy Reading (&Running) =)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Educating Esmé

A Must Read for Teachers, Especially First Year or Aspiring Teachers!!!
I orginially created this blog as a class project (those of you who read my first entry, you may have figured that out). Since then I have been adding to this collection of children's novels and providing tons of ideas and resources to help teachers to use these books in the classroom. In doing so I hope I have attracted many current teachers as well as aspiring teachers, like myself (almost there, all my tests are passed (CT Foundations of Reading & Praxis 2) only student teaching to finish!!!). So, I decided it would be a good idea to include this book on my blog for all my teacher readers.

This has been the most inspiring book I have read in a LONG time.
Esmé takes the reader through her first year as a teacher the ups the downs, including the rock bottoms. Esmé was a typical first year teacher, ready to change the world, but being in a inner-city school with a principle who was a complete idiot made changing the world have a whole new meaning. This book is honest in every way and is full of amazing ideas that I hope to someday be able to use in my own classroom. I was impressed with the ability for Esmé to admit that some days she just didn't care while other days she cared too much. I think ALL teachers have something to learn from this book. It is probably one of the most important books you could read as a teacher. And since it is so important, I won't spoil anymore of it!

I'm very tempted to now type: web resources or vocabulary!

There is now an expanded version (pictured at left)... I wonder what I'm missing out on! Check it out! 

Codell, E. R. (1999). Educating Esmé: diary of a teacher's first year. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

And as always,
Happy Reading (& Running) =)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Magic Tree House #40: Eve of the Emperor Penguin

Antarctica, Penguins & Magic!

My first experience with Magic Tree House books was a success! The pictures throughout Eve of the Emperor Penguin and other Magic Tree House books are very welcoming to reluctant readers and who could pass up an exciting adventure with Jack and Annie? In this Magic Tree House book, Jack and Annie are off to find the last secret to help Merlin find happiness. They find themselves in Antarctica the land of penguins, snow and adventure! Mixed up in a group of scientists and reporters, Jack and Annie must hide their identity lest they be found out to be children. They have no idea how they will tackle their mission with all these adults around, but they know they must try their hardest... pick up this book to learn a little bit more about Antarctica, penguins and the Magic Tree House saga by Mary Pope Osborne.

Teachers: Here are some resources and ideas to help you teach this book from the Magic Tree House series...

Web Resources:
  • Teacher's Guide: This guide has lots off great ideas for reading activities as well as across the content area in Math, Social Studies and Science. This guide also has ideas that go along with Penguins and Antarctica: A Nonfiction Companion to Eve of the Emperor Penguin. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page there are print outs available as well.
  • Partner Reading: This is an article by Reading Rockets about Paired/Partner Reading. It's a great strategy for students who lack fluency. Eve of the Emperor Penguin is one book suggested to use with this strategy.
  • Magic Tree House: Bookmark this website on your classroom's computer to let students explore the Magic Tree House series.

Vocabulary: Here are some words you may need to preteach: alas, cavern, compassion, deserted, dignity, dread, eerie, enchanter, expedition, fiery, fragile, frantic, hovered, immense, preserve, ravine, slab, squall, streak, summit, urgent, usher

Before Reading: Sometimes a KWL doesn't work well with a fiction selection, but being that there is a lot of nonfiction information in this book, you may choose to do a KWL about Antarctica for this book.

During Reading: Jack and Annie face some tough decisions throughout their time in Antarctica. Choose a decision they make a write an entry in your journal explaining if you would make the same decision. Explain why or why not. If you wouldn't make the same decision, explain what you would do differently.

After Reading: Finish the KWL chart. Research (as a class or in groups) to find the answers to the questions you were not able to answer by reading Eve of the Emperor Penguin.

Across the Curriculum: Click here to visit the Magic Tree House teacher's resource for Eve of the Emperor Penguin where you will find connections to Science, Math and Social Studies

Osborne, Mary Pope. Eve of the Emperor penguin . New York, NY: Random House Children's Books :, 2008. Print.

Happy Reading (&Running) =)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...