Maniac Magee Teacher Resources
Find Maniac Magee educational ideas and activities
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Maniac Magee Lesson Ideas
Here are ideas and activities to include in a "Maniac Magee" novel study.
Seventh graders examine the theme of racial prejudice while reading Maniac Magee. They discuss assumptions and their effects. They retell the story through skits or other methods. They stage a talk show and act as characters from the novel.
Textual Analysis Lesson: Segregation: Past or Present?
Are your scholars reading Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee? If so, use this textual analysis packet and lesson plan 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.
Lesson 5: Character and Relationship Changes
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.
Lesson 4: Theme Matters
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.
Guided Reading Lesson Plan: Maniac MaGee
Young scholars start a week-long novel unit by activating their prior knowledge. In this reading comprehension instructional activity, students read, Maniac MaGee a few chapters at a time, and discuss what they read as they go along.
Spinelli's Maniac Magee (excerpt): Reading and Critical Thinking Practice
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.
Literature Response Journal: Maniac Magee chapters 14-21
Students examine chapters 14-21 of the novel Maniac Magee in groups. In this literature response journal lesson, students are given prompts to respond to regarding the reading.
Predicting Events-Realistic Fiction
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.
Identifying Plot Conflicts
Fifth graders determine plot conflicts. In this plot conflicts lesson students read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. Students search for 'Character vs. Character' and 'Character vs. Self' conflicts within the story.
Rest in Peace, Maniac Magee
Scholars read Maniac Magee and create epitaphs for each of the major characters using precise words reflecting the individual characters personality and nature. They will learn what an epitaph is and practice writing their own. They can work in groups or independently.
Fifth graders analyze the relationships among characters in a story. In this language arts instructional activity, 5th graders read Maniac Magee and discuss how the relationships between the characters change throughout the story.
Run, Run As Fast As You Can!
Sixth graders participate in a literature study of Jerry Spinelli's book, Maniac Magee. They study vocabulary, legends, character traits and process writing. They create a reflection journal as they read.
Genre Lesson: Realistic Fiction
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.
"Knot" the Whole Truth: Writing a Modern-Day Story with a Tall Tale's Voice
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.
Maniac Magee: Life Without Problems
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.
Maniac Magee- Find Your Match
Students compare and contrast themselves to classmates. In this compare and contrast lesson, students watch the video Maniac Magee and complete a graphic organizer.
Turning Active Readers into Inspired Writers
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.
Maniac McGee: Literature Response for Chapters 14-21
Learners compose a journal in response to reading Jerry Spinelli's Maniac McGee. For 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.
Maniac McGee: Find Your Match
Students explore similarities and differences between people. In this diversity and literacy lesson, students read Maniac McGee and consider character traits. Students play a game in which they locate classmates with similarities and differences.