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Maniac Magee Teacher Resources
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This useful approach to determining themes based on specific details from a book is aimed at readers of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee. It could also easily be adapted for use with other books or readings. The class identifies recurring events and topics and, with guidance, develops theme statements and discusses author's message. Some materials are accessible only if you sign up for a free account with ReadWorks.org. Well worth it.
A brief, dialogue-rich passage from Jerry Spinelli's novel Maniac Magee is accompanied by a well-written literacy assessment tool. Thematic content lends itself to age-appropriate discussions about race relations and social justice. Seven questions address main idea, supporting details, key events, inference, figurative language, and cause and effect. Paragraphs labeled with letters and sentences numbered for reference develop useful test taking skills.
In this reading comprehension lesson, 5th graders, after reading the novel, Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli analyze characters and their roles in other peoples lives. Students interact with plot conflicts and character relationships. Students fill out 2 specific charts as directed. Students relate how people change over time in the novel and then relate similiar changes in their own lives with an array of pictures that they are asked to bring to class.
Start out with a general scenario to get your class warmed up. Have individuals guess what will happen next and then apply that skill to Maniac Magee. Provide guided practice and then break your class off into partners to fill out a predictions chart. Sample charts are included. You must sign up for a free account to view these materials.
Beyond Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, tall tales can be a great way to teach young writers about word choice and voice in their writing. Using Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee and the Six-Trait Writing process, they begin to write their own modern-day tall tales placing emphasis on exaggeration, metaphors, and similes. The lesson plan includes all necessary worksheets and resource links.
As scholars begin identifying stories as realistic fiction, its important they see many examples to solidify their concepts of this genre. Readers begin with a personal connection, thinking of television shows they like and determining which ones are realistic fiction. Next, model a couple of examples from the "Is This for Real?" graphic organizer which has kids read passages to determine whether or not they are realistic fiction. They underline key elements and make personal connections to each excerpt. Take this further by having them find and analyze their own excerpts from a novel they are reading (blank organizer included). This lesson is part of a larger unit on Jerry Spinelli's novel Maniac Magee and can be found in the beginning of a 38-page student packet.
Are your scholars reading Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee? If so, use this textual analysis packet and lesson guide to drive deeper thinking about the characters, create personal connections, and apply historical contexts to the text. Learners explore segregation, reading an informational text for more understanding. They mark the text and answer eight comprehension questions (seven multiple choice and one short answer). There are some debriefing questions to guide thinking for two of the questions, and debate should be encouraged! The text and questions can be found in the Maniac Magee reading packet; use the packet to guide learning through the entire story.
Young readers discuss how they would deal with problems faced by the main character in Maniac Magee. They write down their own problems and exchange them with others to analyze and provide possible solutions. They establish a "Dear Abby" box where problems can be dropped off for responses. Be sensitive to potential problems.
How do you hold pupils accountable for independent reading? Consider using response journals. Each week, readers address a letter to the teacher in which they respond to a series of provided prompts. Each prompt has an accompanying rubric which details the requirements for the response. The teacher uses the rubric and responds to each student letter.
Students compose a journal in response to reading Jerry Spinelli's Maniac McGee. In this literature-response lesson plan, students are given several possible journal topics from which to choose. The lesson also includes guiding questions for a literature discussion group.