Magic Tree House books are my favorite. 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.
I have a few rules to sharing Magic Tree House books.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…”
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.
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.
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.
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?
Click the link if you’d like a Mummies in the Morning SAMPLE Set.
This is also a part of a larger full set. Click the MUMMIES IN THE MORNING link or picture below to see the whole set.
There is also a GROWING BUNDLE for Magic Tree House in my store. It contains 19 books now. It will have 22 eventually.
Thanks and ENJOY!