Earlier this year two second grade teachers asked me if I would be willing to take their higher level kids and do something with them, they wanted me to do something with reading and they were looking at my readers theater unit that I do with some gifted fourth graders and they wanted me to do something like that. I decided that since these groups were small I could do a book group and add extras into it. I meet with each group once a week for about 45 minutes. The first book I decided to do was Marty McGuire by Kate Messner. it was the PERFECT choice on so many levels and both the boys and the girls in the group LOVED the book - they have not stopped asking me WHEN the new books is coming out - I have a feeling I will have to have the new book - Marty McGuire Digs Worms on preorder for these guys!
Here is an outline of what I did each week with the students. I used the AWESOME discussion guide from Kate and Scholastic to guide my planning of this unit. Where it says "discussion questions" below, I used the questions from this guide. The other great thing about Scholastic is, they released this book as both a paperback and hardcover at the same time - there is no way I could have purchased 17 copies of the book in hardcover, but could do it in paperback! I assigned chapters for them to read every week, but they could always read as much as they wanted to, I had some kids finished with the book by the second week!
Marty McGuire Book Study Unit
Week one: Introduce the book and the author, look at Kate Messner’s website. Give the kids bookmarks I created.
Week two: Use discussion questions for chapter 1-3 and also read a picture book version of Princess and the Frog.
Week three: Use discussion questions for chapters 4-6, use the databases (our school subscription to World Book Kids and PebbleGo) and National Geographic site to gather information on frogs. This is where I was hoping to bring in a live frog, but catching a bull frog seemed much easier for Marty then it was for me!
Week four: Use discussion questions for chapter 7-9 and talk about improve and do an improve exercise (this website has some good improv exercises for kids). Introduce what reader’s theater is and give them their parts for the readers theater. We used a reader’s theater from the book: Fairy Tales Reader’s Theater by Margaret Allen from Creative Teaching Press we used the reader’s theater To Kiss a Frog
Week Five: Use discussion questions for chapters 10-12 and practice readers theater
Week six: Use discussion questions for chapters 13 & 14 and practice readers theater (we were hoping to do a Skype visit with author Kate Messner but we had a compatibility issue, she was so willing to connect with my students, but I couldn’t figure it out this time, going to try harder next time to come up with an activity that we can connect with Kate!
Week seven: Perform the reader’s theater to classmates and start writing, as a group, a book trailer for Marty McGuire (show examples of book trailers to them before we started).
Week eight: Create the book trailer – the students drew pictures illustrating the book and we used those illustrations plus some video and audio recording I took to create the book trailer. I created the final product this time, but might have the students try their hand at it next time.
Here are the finished book trailers:
Next up we will be doing a unit using Mr. Poppers Penguins starting in January.