• Pre-reading Group Activity -
NOTE: I used this activity for a Compass Evaluation and received a Highly Effective rating as a result.
In this activity, students rotate to 5 stations in which they will obtain background knowledge on key concepts necessary for understanding and appreciating Maniac journey for acceptance and family. Concepts are: background on Jerry Spinelli, Willie Mays, Social Segregation, A discussion on Civil Rights, and Student Homelessness). After absorbing the information provided, students select a higher order thinking question slip at random (each station has 4 HOT questions which allow students to respond to the information on a deeper, more meaningful way). Reflection slips are glued to a response sheet and discussed as a group though responses are individual.
• Go Maniac Vocabulary Game –
Lead students into an understanding of not only crucial words found in the novel, Maniac Magee, but also how to identify and explain how context clues help define words.
Wait! Doesn't that sounds terribly boring? Not with this method! Students play Go Fish (I call it GO MANIAC) in order to practice these skills.
One game set includes 64 cards (a total of 16 vocabulary words) and directions.
In this game, four of a kind include: the vocabulary word, definition, quote from the book, and a list of context clues + explanation of how those words help students infer what the word means.
This activity is sure to make kids enjoy vocabulary study!
• Hyperbole BINGO –
Have your kiddos thinking about hyperboles morning, noon, and night with this fun add-on to a novel study on Maniac Magee.
Students identify 21 examples of hyperboles from the book out of a total of 42 examples of figurative language (also from the book).
This activity also calls on students to create their own hyperboles or hunt out additional hyperboles from the novel not included in the set provided.
After each day of reading, students are encouraged to check back on their BINGO sheet and eliminate any examples covered on that day.
Now, what about those 21 additional examples of figurative language? Don't throw them away! I have included a list of suggested activities for those cards to further enhance your overall study of Maniac Magee!
• Urban Legend Activity-
There's no doubt about it, Maniac Magee is a legend! But how much of his story is true, how much is based on truth, and how much is just the craziest thing you've ever heard?
Why not connect this idea of a kid legend with popular urban legends?
This kit includes everything you'll need!
Have student first read about urban legends. This 4 page nonfiction resource discusses examples of urban legends, but also goes deeper by discussing their origins, how and why they spread, what it says about current cultural trends, and the typical ingredients for an urban legend that stands the test of time.
After building some back-ground knowledge, students test their smarts be determining what popular urban legends are real and which ones are false. Half are true, half are false (but you may not want to tell your kids that just yet!)
The teacher can then reveal the truth using the provided 24 urban legend cards.
This activity will certainly be a hit with your students!
This download includes a total of 4 versions of the student worksheet to better fit your classroom needs.
Two have an introduction connecting this activity to Maniac Magee (one is the complete 25 urban legends, one eliminates rougher material if you have a more sensitive group)
Two have an introduction that allows you to use this activity REGARDLESS of if you're reading Maniac Magee or not (one is the complete 25 urban legends, one eliminates rougher material if you have a more sensitive group)
• Allusions Activity –
It's no accident that certain stories or historical events are brought up in Maniac Magee. As a teacher, you know there's no sense in overlooking that fact. So, go to your local library, borrow those classics children's stories, download this kit, and set up an enjoyable (yet educational) center for your students.
This kit includes: a worksheet pointing out 6 allusions found in Maniac Magee while also leading students into questioning the purpose of that reference PLUS two nonfiction resources connecting two of the allusions referenced in the book.