Adventures in Literacy Land: Magic Tree House

Showing posts with label Magic Tree House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magic Tree House. Show all posts

Magic Tree House: The Website

Hi, this is Cathy from Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl and I have done a few posts about the Magic Tree House books.  I LOVE the Magic Tree House.  Today, I'd like to talk to you about the Magic Tree House Website.

The Magic awaits!

I love this website!  It's fun.  Let me walk you through a few fun places to visit on the website!

First the top bar.


On the Games tab, you can do on Missions.  There are 5 books and a clue is read to the student.  If you get it wrong, you get to try again.  If you get it right, the Magic Tree House spins and takes you on an adventure.  There are 4 questions to highlight 4 different that give you "rewards" to complete Morgan's mission.  The questions are typed, but unfortunately, there is no "read aloud" button.  When all four questions are answered and the clues are collected, you have a game to complete the mission. The two games I completed were completing a puzzle and decoding the answer with "decoder" questions.  Very Cute.  There is an option to take notes in their journal for future reference.  

My Magic Tree House

Students are able to create and decorate their tree house.  They keep their rewards in the in their tree house.  They can also see other reader's tree houses.  

My Library and Passport

What a great section.  Students can read a sample of a book.  There are the first 2 chapters available for reading.  What a great way to preview the book before heading to the library.  They can also create a Wish List of books to read.  There is also a Passport to be stamped after completing the quizzes on each book.

Tree House Mail

This section was wonderful.  Students can read answers to questions from other readers, watch videos of Mary Pope Osborne (!), and send her an email.  OMG.  How many students would LOVE to hear Mary Pope Osborne talk to them!  It's a fun section.

About the Series and  On Stage!

These last to are informational and include information about the books, the author, the illustrator, and seeing the books on stage!

On the site...

Under the top a scroll bar with all her books.

On the right side of the website...there are extras.

Explore the Map

This is an interactive map.  Students can enlarge the map to see WHERE the books took place.

Fast Tracker Showdown

These quizzes are based on the Non-fiction Fast Tracker books.  They are ten questions.

Reading Buddies

This is a great way to encourage reading. This is a section to sign up your team and keep track of your reading hours. This is a great way for teachers to sign up classroom buddies or start a reading buddy tracker in their classroom.

For Teachers

The teacher section contains teacher guides and printable activities.  

For Parents

The parent section contains information about the series and how to support reading.

My only concern...or is it?

My only concern with this website is the lack of a "Read to Me" button.  Many of the areas on the website are read to them, but some are not.  My kindergartners loved being on the site, but this would often require a parent to be with them...or maybe that's ok?

My Rating

I'd give this website a 5/5.  Of course, this isn't technical.  AND I'm sure I'm biased because I love these books.


4 Vocabulary Ideas to Avoid Roadblocks

Hello.  This is Cathy from The W.I.S.E. Owl again.  I love talking about Emergent Readers and Writers.  One common hurdle in reading and writing is vocabulary.  There are some fun ways to help students with vocabulary.

I had the distinct privilege of presenting just recently at the Virginia State Reading Association Conference in Richmond.  One of the workshops was on Vocabulary.  I blogged briefly about this presentation in my latest blog post on my website, but thought I would give you a more in depth look at vocabulary here today.

Anchor Charts/Prediction Posters

I am a big fan of Anchor Charts.  Done the right way, anchor charts are invaluable to your students. Anchor charts can be pre-made but must also allow for editing, if an unsuspected word misunderstanding occurs.  Pre-assessing a book for vocabulary roadblocks is a must.  Pulling out words you believe will create "comprehension potholes" or "run the story off the road" are a must for a successful Read Aloud. Before reading a book, introduce words to your students out of context.  Talk about the meaning.  Demonstrate the meaning.  Discuss how this particular word might be in this book.  You may even want to read the sentence from the story.  Preparing for vocabulary can help students spend time on higher order thinking than on the meaning of a single word.  One type of anchor chart is the Story Map.  Words from the story, both common and new, can be written on post-it notes given to the students before they read the book.  Students will predict if the words belong on the map in provided spaces:  Characters, Setting, Actions (verbs), Things (nouns) and New to You.  If they encounter a word while reading that needs to be moved on the chart...they can easily be moved.  

Text Gradients

I actually LOVE text gradients.  Typically, text gradients are used in the upper elementary but every kindergarten teacher has tried to get her student's to use words more descriptive than small or big.  The famous "said is dead" refrain is heard in every first grade class.  So, let's talk primary text gradients.  A wonderful way "add color" to writing is using paint strips.  (I live in fear of paint strips eventually costing money.)  The paint strips can be put in library pockets in the writing center and students can take a color strip to make their elephant "enormous" or their ladybug "tiny."  


Providing students with diagrams is a great way to introduce vocabulary that is both familiar and unknown.  When studying about bats, my students were excited to learn bats had thumbs.  They look very different from our thumbs, but they are still thumbs.  They were also intrigued by the membranes in their wings.  We compared the membranes to duck's feet.  We even found out turtles, otters and some reptiles have webbed feet.  Diagrams draw the student in and help them write about animals and make comparisons.

Finally, Act it Out

When we were preparing to read The Knight Before Dawn, I introduced some words to the students before we read.  One of the words was "precipice."  I needed to relate Jack dangling from a precipice on the castle tower to the students in my class.  First, I showed them pictures of large cliffs in the desert or on mountains. Then, we went to the playground.  The only cliff they really knew about was the playground equipment.  One at a time, the students went to the edge of the playground equipment and they yelled, "I AM ON THE PRECIPICE!"  Then they were allowed to jump off the "cliff."  Trust me they all knew what a precipice was and when Jack was hanging from the precipice they could anticipate his falling!  That's the power of vocabulary!

These are just a few ways you can make sure to introduce children to wonderful vocabulary words they can use to write, make connections, and understand.