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Maniac Magee

By Jerry Spinelli

A 5th Grade Literature Guide

Jaymie Gerard Reading & Literacy Spring 2010

Table of Contents...

1. Introduction Summary Rationale 2. Project Overview 3. Initiating Activity 4. Mini-Lessons Mini-Lesson 1: Synthesis Mini-Lesson 2: Question Answer Relationships 5. Critical Thinking Questions/Vocabulary Words 6. Supporting Activities Cobble's Knot Challenge It's Polka Time 7. Final Project Ideas 8. Resources & Frameworks

1. Introduction...


Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Cover photograph by Carol Palmer Some kids just don't have it easy, and Jeffrey "Maniac" Magee was one of those kids. When Jeffrey was only three years old his parents were the tragic victims of a famous trolley accident, leaving him an orphan. He was sent to live with his Aunt Dot and Uncle Dan, a contemptuous couple who lived in the same house yet led completely divided lives. After eight years of living among their hatred and anger, Jeffrey had had enough, and so, in the middle of a school concert, he jumped off the stage, and began running ­ running and running and running, until he had run away into an unknown town with unknown people and soon, a series of awesome adventures that would eventually lead him "home." Jeffrey's first adventure began when he wandered into the town of Two Mills, a town where blacks and whites were separated physically by only a train track, but were socially divided by years of fears and assumptions about each other. He arrived in the East End one morning, and there he met Amanda Beale, a precocious girl with a suitcase full of books who was on her way to school. With a bit of persuasion, Jeffrey convinced Amanda to lend him a book if he promised to return it. Although he ran into some trouble in the shape of an angry East End bully with a sweet tooth named Mars Bar, he miraculously got the book back into Amanda's hands, and in turn, she invited him over for dinner. Amanda's family didn't fuss over the fact that Jeffrey was white, and when they found out he had no home to return to that night, he was invited to stay. Amanda's little siblings, Hester and Lester, simply adored Jeffrey, and he pulled more than his weight around the house for Mr. and Mrs. Beale. Jeffrey finally felt at home. When he was not getting Hester and Lester ready for school or borrowing books from Amanda or tidying up his room, Jeffrey was running around the town and building himself quite a reputation. He impressed (and enraged)

people from both sides of town with daring feats such as daringly going onto the Finsterwald's forbidden front steps, stealing the football from the best high school quarterback in the middle of a game, untying a giant, impossible knot at Cobble's Corner, and hitting every single ball that the unbeatable bully, Giant John McNab, sent flying his way. Of all these amazing feats, the most audacious was the ease at which he seemed to wander back and forth across the tracks into both ends of Two Mills. He became known as "Maniac" around town; he was brave and unstoppable. Unstoppable, that is, until one hot summer day when everyone on East End was out cooling off in a broken fire hydrant, and an old coot told Maniac he wasn't wanted there, that he should go back to his own kind. Maniac loved the Beale's so much and feared that his being there would cause them pain, and so again, he ran away, never to return again. Maniac had nowhere to go, and so he went to the best place he could imagine himself living ­ at the zoo. Although he spent some time living with a buffalo mother and her baby, his plans began to change when an old zoo attendant found him cold, hungry, and in need of some care. The old man, Grayson, took a liking to Maniac, and they began to develop a friendship. Grayson told Maniac of his days playing in the Minor Leagues, and Maniac gave Grayson a very special gift ­ he taught him how to read. Their relationship was wonderful, and although they did not have much, they thoroughly enjoyed the simpler things in life ­ going on walks, eating Butterscotch Krimpets, and dancing to polka music in the band shell where they lived. Once again, however, tragedy struck and Grayson passed away, leaving Maniac to fend for himself once again. He was homeless, hopeless, and decidedly against ever considering himself as part of anyone's family again. Over that winter, Maniac found an abandoned cabin in Valley Forge to squat in. He also found two young, very unruly and extremely rude runaways. Maniac bribes them into going back home, only to find that they are the younger brothers of his old enemy, Giant John McNab. After convincing John that Maniac was not such a bad guy (after all, he did bring back his two little brothers), Maniac was invited over to the McNab residence ­ a disgustingly messy house full of bigoted bullies.

Over the weeks, the McNab's began to enjoy Maniac's reputation ­ they began to feel like celebrities for housing him. They would send him on challenges that would push him to the limit. Their biggest challenge was one Maniac had actually accomplished before ­ to cross over the tracks into the East End. Despite the sour taste that his last time there had caused, Maniac did the undoable. Unfortunately, an old foe from the past was nearby. Mars was waiting to for his own challenge ­ a race. Before they knew it, there were crowds on both sides of them watching them run. Suddenly Hester and Lester and Mrs. Beale appeared. Maniac was trapped between two worlds. When he returned to the West End, the little McNab brothers were shocked. They had thought he was a goner from that last challenge. Maniac reached his last straw with the McNab's racism, and once again, he ran away. He stayed in the park and in people's back lawns; once again, he had no home. Then one morning on Maniac's daily run across Two Mills, he noticed someone running too. It was Mars, but instead of picking a fight, the two ran side by side. They ran together daily. They ran in silence. Until one day they began a friendly conversation that lead Maniac back to where he belonged ­ back to his family, the Beale's, never to run away again.


Maniac Magee is the perfect book for a fifth grade class. It touches on racism, bullying, homelessness, being different, having special gifts, teaching others to read, and the value of finding true friends, all in the package of a wonderfully engaging story with unforgettable characters. The themes of this book also tie together nicely with the study of place and home. Jerry Spinelli is known for his ability to write for this age group, and he has many other books that kids could enjoy as an independent reader either before or after reading this book in class.

2. Project Overview...

Reading Portfolios

Rather than having my students follow a traditional "book report" model, the following series of activities will guide students through the process of creating what I call a Reading Portfolio. The Reading Portfolio is a binder that holds the instructional material and products that each student makes. Portfolios will be broken into the following sections (to be described in further detail in the subsequent lessons): Initiating Activity Mini-Lessons Comprehension Questions/Vocabulary Sketching & Journaling Final Project


This book will be given to students who are on guided reading level W (grade level 5.4). Students will have the opportunity to interact with this book in multiple ways. The majority of reading for this assignment will be independent, however, there will be certain chapters read aloud by the teacher or members of their book group. At several points, students will be given mini-lessons and/or activities that will enhance the reading strategies, comprehension, and enjoyment of the book. In addition to lessons and activities, students will look up selected vocabulary words from the text, and they will answer critical thinking questions about each chapter. Finally, a Portfolio Review/Celebration will be held to display all of their work for their families, friends, and the greater school community.


Two mini-lessons will be given while the students are reading this book. The first will be a reintroduction to synthesis (assuming they had covered synthesis before with a less complicated text), and the second will be an introduction to identifying different kinds of comprehension questions and their relationships to where their answers can be found.


Assessment will be based on participation in activities, contribution to group discussions in their reading groups, the completion of a final project, and the Portfolio Review. Accommodations will be made for exceptional children including utilizing one-on-one aids for extra support, clear instructions and structure of assignments, lessons, and activities, mixed-ability grouping, and choice in final project.

3. Initiating Activity...

The introduction or, "Before the Story" chapter, of Maniac Magee is so engaging that it only makes sense to use it as an initiating activity. However, the specific initiating activity I have planned is also the anticipatory set for a mini-lesson on creating images and that will follow shortly after.

Lesson Plan Title General Goal(s) Who is Maniac Magee? To introduce the book Maniac Magee To introduce creating mental images of text To introduce the theme: Assumptions Students will be able to create an image of a character they hear about. Picture I drew of a person (Amanda Beale from the book); Drawing materials (paper, markers, crayons, etc); a copy of Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli; binders for portfolios Hold up a picture that I drew of a person. Ask the students to tell me what they know about her. Ask for details such as how old she is, where she is from, what kind of house she lives in, what her grades are, etc. Ask them how they know, or what in my picture made them assume this about her. Discuss the word "assumption." 1. Complete Anticipatory Set 2. Tell students that I drew this character based on what I learned about her from the book, and that they are going to do a similar activity now. 3. Hand out paper, pens, crayons, markers 4. As I read "Before the Story" aloud, have them draw the character they are hearing about. 5. When they are done, have them write their names on their pictures, entitle them "Maniac Magee," and hang them on the bulletin board. (When this board goes down, they will be put into the Sketching and Journaling section of their binders.) 6. Give a 2 minute book talk on Maniac Magee. Include theme, about the author, and why I chose this book 7. Hand out binders 8. Present structure of this Literary project ­ Reading Portfolio 9. Question/Answer Write the words Inference and Assumption on the board. (Students are already familiar with Inference). For homework, have them write 1 paragraph about what they think the difference is between an inference and an assumption. Completion of "Maniac Magee" picture; completion of homework Read the chapter slowly and clearly, and read it more than once.

Specific Objectives Materials Anticipatory Set


Closure Assessment Adaptations

4. Reading Strategy Mini-Lesson 1: Synthesis...

Lesson Plan Title General Goal(s) Specific Objectives Materials Procedure Synthesis To introduce (or reintroduce) synthesis with a more complicated text Students will be able to synthesize what they read and will incorporate synthesis into their reading comprehension strategies Copies of the first chapter of the book, board, handouts with synthesis boxes (see next page) 1. "Today we are going to revisit a reading strategy that we have seen before ­ synthesis. Can anyone remind me what synthesis is?" (Write answers on board) 2. "I am going to reread you the very first chapter, "Before the Story" and when I am done reading I'd like you to jot down some ideas about what you think this book is about in the first box" (Read chapter) 3. Draw synthesis sheet on board, and fill in their answers in the first box. Then have them write what 4. Hand out chapter 1 (sections marked off) 5. "I'd like you to read the first section of chapter 1. When you finish the section, think about what you put in the first box, and see if your understanding has changed. Do you still think this book is about the same thing? Write what you think it is about in the second box." (ask for 2 volunteers to share their 2nd box answers) 6. "Now take a look at section 2, and let's do the same thing ­ read it over, think about what you now know about the story, and write it in the 3rd box. Sometimes your understanding will change dramatically each time you fill in a box ­ that is okay! The story is unfolding, and your understanding is unfolding as well!" (Ask again for 2 volunteers, and write their answers in the 3rd box on the board) 7. "Let's do the final section of chapter 1 and fill in the 4th box" (Follow same procedure) 8. Ask: "What did you notice as you moved through the boxes?" 9. Ask: "How is synthesis useful?" 10. "I also want to say that we broke one chapter into 4 sections, but you can take larger amounts of text and do the same. For example, you can do an entire chapter per each box, or you could even do a section of the book (Maniac Magee has 3 sections), for each box. There is no prescribed method, but the general rule of thumb is, when you think you have idea of what's going on, it's a good idea to fill in a box, and as you begin to notice your understanding change, it's a good time to fill in another one." 11. "Any questions? Great, so as you read chapters 2 and 3 independently, I'd like you to practice using this reading strategy!"




Use the boxes below to show how your understanding of the story changes as you read. You can write full sentences, take simple notes, make lists, draw pictures, or represent it any other way that helps you!

4. Reading Strategy Mini-Lesson 2: Question Answer Relationships...

Lesson Plan Title General Goal(s) Specific Objectives Materials Procedure Question Answer Relationships (part 1) ­ After completing Parts I & II of the book To learn how to identify the relationship between the types of comprehension questions and where to find the answers (text, self, etc), which will help them know where to look for answers more easily. Students will look at comprehension questions critically, identify which type of question each one is, Eventually, they will use this structure to create their own comprehension questions for themselves and their fellow book group members Overhead projector w/ transparency of blank chart, copies of blank chart for each student to glue into their reader's notebooks, 1. "We have completed the first two sections of this book, and you all have a done a wonderful job demonstrating your understanding of the text through activities, drawings, finding and using vocabulary words from the text, and also from answering comprehension questions." 2. "Today I want us to take a look more closely at comprehension questions, and the ways in which we can tell where to find their answers ­ in the text, or beyond. What we will be looking at is called Question Answer Relationships or QAR" 3. Put up transparency of blank chart 4. "Looking at the chart, how many types of questions are there?" (4), "Can someone read them aloud?" 5. These are ordered from the least complex (or easiest to find the answer to) to the most complex (not necessarily hardest to find the answer to, but you will have to pull from more places than just the text to find your answers for 3 & 4" 6. Hand out blank charts for kids & have them glue them in their mini-lesson section of their binders. 7. "Today, we are only going to look at the first two levels ­ Right There and Think & Search. As we talk about this, I'll be writing down your answers on the overhead, and you will be writing down descriptions in your own charts. You can write what I write, or you can put it in your own words. If you don't complete every section, don't worry ­ I will hang this chart on the wall and you can copy it into your binders at a later time. Any questions so far?" 8. "Let's take a look at the first type of question ­ Right There. Just by looking at the name, where do you think you can find the answer to a "right there" question?" (Write answers in, discuss details on completed sheet and continue to fill in) 9. "What are some examples of comprehension questions you have heard that you know you can find the answer to right there in the text? Flip through some of the old

Procedure (cont.)

Follow-up Lessons


questions you have answered from Parts I & II in Maniac Magee." (fill in chart) 10. Follow same procedure for "Think & Search" section. Give examples and fill in chart. 11. Direct their attention to the column to the far left. Ask, "So where can the answers to both of these types of questions be found?" (in the text) "Because they can be found in the text, we have proof of our answers ­ these types of questions can be proven based on references to the text" (write "can be proven" in column) 12. "Any questions?" (Summarize again) 13. "For before you begin to answer your new set of questions today, I'd like you to take some time and think about what level questions are on your page. Label your "Right There" questions with an "RT" and label your "Think & Search" questions with a "TS." Next time we will be looking at "The Author & You" and "On Your Own" types of questions." Finish last two levels Have kids discuss the difference ­ How does it feel to answer each type of question? Which type do you prefer and why? Do the different types of questions encourage you to connect with the text in different ways? If so, how? Have each group member pick one type of question. Assign: Write one question and bring it to the group the next day. Share with group members. Discuss ­ does it fit into the description? If so, everyone answer it. If not, how should we tweak it to make it fit? Tweak, then have everyone answer it. Are there other places we go for answers? Where? For exceptional students, copy of completed chart will be hanging on the wall. In addition, it may be useful to put a key on the chart (RT next to Right There, TS next to Think & Search)

Question Answer Relationship (QAR): 4 Types of Questions (Completed Chart) Type of Question 1. Right There Qualities

The answer is in the text, usually easy to find. The words used to make and answer the questions are right there in the same sentence. The answer is in the selection, but you need to put together different pieces of information to find it. You must think and search because words from the question that are needed for the answer are not in the same sentence. To answer these types of questions, you must use both the text and your head. They require you to put yourself in the shoes of the author to find the answer. Because the answer involves speculation, there is no way to prove it. The answer is not found in the selection. You can even answer the question without reading the selection ­ all you need is your own experience. On your own, you can use your own background knowledge and scheme to for opinions or relate to the text.

Examples of Question-Starters

Who is... Where is... How many... What is... What caused... Compare/contrast How did... Why was... Why do you think... The speaker's attitude... The passage suggests... What might the author have meant by... In your opinion... Would you have... Have you ever... Would you ever... Is it ok...

Can be proven Cannot be proven

2. Think & Search

3. Author & You

4. On Your Own

Question Answer Relationship (QAR): 4 Types of Questions Type of Question Qualities Examples of Question-Starters

1. Right There

2. Think & Search

3. Author & You

4. On Your Own

5. Critical Thinking Questions & Vocabulary Words...


Chapters 1-3 How do you think Jeffrey felt when he ran away? The author says that Jeffrey said, "Hi," to the strangers he passed as he was running (p.9). What do you make up about the kind of person Jeffrey is? Who lives on the West End of Two Mills? Who lives on the East End? What assumptions do you think Amanda first has about Jeffrey? (include a page # that helped you come up with your answer) Vocabulary Words: legacy (p. 2), trolley (p. 5), scraggly (p. 9), deserted (p. 11), grungy (p. 13) Chapters 4-6 Why do you think James "Hands" Down has the nickname "Hands"? What do you think Finsterwald looks like? Draw your answer in your Sketching & Journal section. Please write "Finsterwald" on the top of the page. Describe Jerry Spinelli's writing style. Do you enjoy reading his writing? What makes it enjoyable or not to you? Have you ever met a family like the Pickwells? If so, what ways were the two families similar? If not, in what ways are the Pickwells similar OR different from your own family? Vocabulary Words: commotion (p. 16), infamous (p. 16), cardinal (p. 17), mirage (p. 18), scanned (p. 21) Chapters 7-9 Who would you root for, Jeffrey Magee or John McNab, on the Little League Field? Why? What do you think the author meant when he said, "The town was buzzing," on page 28?

Do you think "Maniac" is a good nickname for Jeffrey Magee? What other names might you choose for him? What did the Cobras assume would happen to Maniac once he crossed into the East End? What do you predict will happen to him?

Vocabulary Words: automatically (p.24), runt (p. 24), pandemonium (p. 25), lumbered (p.26), blemish (p. 30) Chapters 10-12 Why do you think Mars offered Maniac a bite of his candy bar? Maniac chooses to try to get Amanda's book back from Mars rather than running away. What does this say about his character? (In other words, what kind of person do you think Maniac is?) Why do you think Amanda stopped Mrs. Beale from telling Maniac what she said about him? How do you think Maniac felt to "finally" have an address? Why?

Vocabulary Words: befuddled (p. 35), lingered (p.37), hoisted (p. 39), solemnly (p. 42), quiver (p.43) Chapters 13-15 Spinelli used the phrase, "Such as:" several times in a row. What is the effect on you as a reader? What is your opinion about Maniac getting into the tub with Hester and Lester? What time do you think the "before-the-working-people time" takes place? Have you ever been out during the "before-the-working-people time? Maniac describes the skin colors on the East End as gingersnap, light fudge, dark fudge, acorn, butter rum, cinnamon, and burnt orange, not as black (licorice). Use a food or plant to describe the color of your skin. Why did Maniac say, "I love you," to Mrs. Beale after she slapped him for trash-talking? Vocabulary Words: blotches (p. 48), pulpit (p.51), gingersnap (p.51), vacant (p.55), unbeknownst (p.56) Chapters 16-18

Write a journal entry about something that you were once blind to. Write your entry in your Sketching & Journaling section. Please entitle this entry, "Once I Was Blind." When the old man asks, "What happens when we go over there?" (pg. 61), what do you think he means? Make an assumption. Who wrote (F)ISHBELLY GO HOME on the wall of the Beale's house? What did Amanda say that hurt maniac's feeling so badly? Why do you think he felt so hurt?

Vocabulary Words: veering (p.57), blaring (p.59), clotted (p.60), gawked (p.62), coot (p.64) Chapters 19-21 Why would someone expect a famous magician or an infamous pick-pocket to be able to undo Cobble's Knot? Does anything happen to the town of Two Mills when Maniac decides to attempt to untie the knot? Who comes to watch? Do you think the public assumed that Maniac could or could not untie Cobble's Knot? Why? Think about all of the emotions Maniac must have been feeling in Part I of Maniac Magee. In your Sketching & Journaling section, draw the "ride" of his feelings. Entitle your entry, "Maniac's Emotional Rollercoaster." Mark off important feelings in blue and important events in red. Vocabulary Words: pickpocket (p.69), testimony (p.70), cunning (p.73), leering (p.75), escort (p.76)


Chapters 22-24 Make some assumptions about Grayson. What kind of person do you think he is? Is he rich? Poor? Where do you think is he from? Why doesn't Maniac want to go to school? How do you feel about his decision?

Grayson makes a lot of assumptions about black people, and he is surprised to find out his assumptions are not true. How do you think it was possible for Grayson have gone so long without knowing that his assumptions about black people were false?

Vocabulary Words: minor (p.85), prompt (p.85), recognition (p.86), piped (p.87), dumbfounded (p.87) Chapters 25-27 Why do you think Grayson opened up and shared his stories with Maniac? Describe how Maniac and Grayson's relationship is changing. In what ways do you think Grayson and Maniac will help each other? Dig deep! Use the map provided to mark the locations of the teams that Grayson played on. (chapter 25) Make a key. Please use your Sketching & Journaling section, and entitle this, "Map of Gayson's Teams" What new things did you learn about Grayson in these chapters? Were your assumptions correct? Vocabulary Words: stubble (p.91), weariness (p.91), robust (p.92), repertoire (p.97), anxious (p.102) Chapters 28-30 Maniac uses the phrase, "A-men" in a different way than they use it in most churches. Describe when you might use "A-men" according to Maniac. Give a real-life example. Do you think there was any significance that Maniac chose the color black to paint the number on his door? Why or why not? Draw a picture of the inside of 101 Band Shell Boulevard. Please use your Sketching & Journal section. Entitle this entry, "101 Band Shell Boulevard." Vocabulary Words: climax (p.103), preposterous (p.105), deputized (p.106), pursuers (p.106), proclaimed (p.109) Chapters 31-32

Pretend you are Maniac. Write a journal entry about December 30th. Include details and emotions. Please use your Sketching & Journal section. Entitle this entry, "December 30th." Were you surprised by the ending of Part II? What do you think will happen to Maniac in Part III?

Vocabulary Words: meandering (p.113), crudely (p.114), stoic (p.115), mourner (p.116), pallbearer (p. 117)


Chapters 33-35 The author says that Maniac, "would not beg," on page 122. Why wouldn't he beg? Describe the new characters that Maniac meets in chapter 34. What is their connection to Maniac's past? Why did Maniac make up the story about McNab and the stopball? Several "loony" scenes are shared from Maniac's experience at the McNab's house. Make up another scene in your Sketching & Journaling section. Entitle it, "A Loony Scene." Vocabulary Words: Find 5 vocabulary words and list their page #. Chapters 36-37 What made Maniac encourage Russel and Piper to go to school? The McNabs "felt important" just for knowing Maniac. What does this sentence tell you about how they might have felt before they met Maniac? The author references a jump-rope song about a bull on page 142. Make up a jump-rope song about a baby buffalo. You can use nonsense words! Have fun! Do this in your Sketching & Journaling section. Entitle it, "Baby Buffalo Jump-Rope Song." Why did Piper and Russel think that sending Maniac into the East End was the most perilous (risky) challenge of all?

Vocabulary Words: Find 5 vocabulary words and list their page #. Chapter 38-40 What does Mars mean when he calls himself "Bad?" How does Mars react to Maniac's responses to him? Maniac made considerations about whether or not he should try to win the race, and one was what the consequences might be if he won. What consequences do you think Maniac was considering? How did McNab's father feel about the people of East End? What in the text gives you that impression? Why do you think Maniac stayed with the McNab's for so long? If you were in his shows would you have done the same? Why or why not? Who is the librarian? Vocabulary Words: Find 5 vocabulary words and list their page #. Chapters 41-43 Jerry Spinelli says, "But the East Enders stayed in the east and the West Enders stayed in the west, and the less they knew about each other, the more they made up." (page 159). Do you agree with the idea that the less we know about someone, they more we make up about them? Write your response in your Sketching and Journaling section, and entitle it, "The Less We Know" How are Mrs. Beale and Mrs. Pickwell similar? What was the impact of George McNab calling Mars "it" when he says, "Let me know when it leaves," on page 163? Vocabulary Words: Find 5 vocabulary words and list their page #. Chapters 44-46 Why didn't Mars and Maniac say a word to each other when they were running? What was so significant about the P & W trolley to Maniac? What happened to Piper and Russel after Maniac walked away?

Why do you think Maniac says he can't go to Mars's house? Draw a picture of the ending of Maniac Magee in your Sketching & Journaling section. Entitle it, "The End."

Vocabulary Words: Find 5 vocabulary words and list their page #.

6. Supporting Activities... Activity 1: Cobble's Knot Challenge

Lesson Plan Title Description Connections to Maniac Magee Materials Introductory Procedure Lots of Knots Students will use the website to find the instructions on how to make different kinds of knots. Using as many types of knots as they want, they are to try to recreate Cobble's Knot ­ one that is impossible to untie! In the book, Maniac is faced with his greatest challenge ­ untying Cobble's Knot. This will be a hands-on activity where they get to experience what it might have been like for Maniac to do something that seemed impossible. Lots of different kinds of thin rope, access to computers, Challenge sheet, camera 1. Have kids sit at desks and hand them each a challenge sheet 2. Read top of page aloud to them 3. Read up through Internet Resource together (take turns) 4. Have them gather around a computer and show them the web site and how to use it 5. Show them the materials 6. Go over checklist 7. Set them on their way! 8. When they have all completed their knots and title cards, have them stand behind the table and take pictures for their portfolios 1. Pair up students randomly 2. Set timer to 2 minutes 3. Have them try to untie each other's knots 4. The last knot left will be placed in the center of all of the pictures on our portfolio review day! Completion of checklist, respect for materials (participation), finished product = knot + title card photo Extra help for those with less access to computers, choice of which knots to attempt.

Closing Activity

Assessment Adaptations

Name:______________________________________ Cobble's Knot Challenge


Maniac Magee was given the ultimate challenge to prove himself ­ he faced the infamous Cobble's Knot. Hundreds of people had tried to untie it, but only Maniac had the patience and skill to accomplish the feat. Challenge: Make a knot that would be a worthy opponent of Maniac himself! You will be using an online resource to find step-by-step instructions on how to make all different kinds of knots. Use as many or as few types of knots as you wish; your end goal is to make your knot as difficult to untie as possible. Internet Resource: When all of your knots are complete, we will have an Untying Face-Off! Checklist Get materials (3 pieces of rope maximum) Browse the internet resource to different kinds of knots to use Make your knot Give it a title Make a title card and place it and your knot on the presentation table Pose for a picture to go in your portfolio

Activity 2: Polka Time!

Lesson Plan Title Description Connections to Maniac Magee Materials & Resources

Introductory Procedure

Closing Activity Assessment Adaptations

Polka Time! Students will listen to polka music, learn basic polka dance steps, and (eventually) perform a polka dance at the portfolio review Grayson and Maniac danced the Polka in celebration. Using physical movements, students will learn standard polka moves while engaging with part of the setting of the story ­ the background music in a memorable scene from the book. Polka Music (on CD and on the internet) A Polka dance instructor A room for dancing/practicing The end of Part II of the book is very sad when Grayson passes away, but this is a way we can remember him. Who remembers what Maniac and Grayson did to celebrate? What is Polka Music? (Give brief overview) Over the next few days we will be working with Polka Music Today we are going to use the internet to listen to different samples of Polka music Then tomorrow we will have a special guest come in and teach us how to dance Polka! We will practice a few times a week, and when we have our portfolio reviews with our school community, family and friends, we will teach them how to polka too! Demonstration of Polka dance at Portfolio Review, where students will also get a chance to teach our guests. Participation, thank you note to instructor, reflection paragraph Physical adaptations may be necessary for students with special needs

7. Final Project Ideas...

Students will be given the choice between the following final project ideas. All projects will be presented during the portfolio review, and a reflection paper will be required at the end that highlights connections between the student, the book and what was learned from completing the project. School Posters o Question: How can we educate our fellow students about recognizing and dispelling assumptions about people who are different? o Task: Create a visual aid that supports people in identifying their own assumptions about others and gives them some ways to let them go, all with the goal of learning to live in peace o Products: Poster/Visual Aid; final reflection paper that ties together what you learned from the book to this final project o Assessment: Rubric for Poster/Visual Aid Fact or Assumption? o Question: How much truth is behind our assumptions? o Task: Select a culture you know almost nothing about. Write down 10 assumptions you have about people from this culture. Create a fictional character from that country/culture and describe, in detail, this person's life, values, and customs. Draw a picture of them person and create a character profile for him/her. After your profile is complete, do some research about the culture you selected. How accurate were your assumptions? Compare and contrast your character to what an actual person from that culture may be like.

o Products: Picture of character; chart of accuracy of assumptions; final reflection paper that ties together what you learned from the book to this final project o Assessment: Rubric for picture of character and chart Getting to Know You o Question: What is the value in meeting someone different? o Task: Interview someone outside of school who you know little about. Then write up your interview questions/answers, as well as a narrative about this person o Products: Narrative about person; final reflection paper that ties together what you learned from the book to this final project o Assessment: Rubric for Narrative Maniac Monologue o Question: What does it feel like to be in Maniac's shoes? o Task: Select your favorite scene in the book and create a monologue out of it. You should be speaking from 1st person as Maniac. You will present this monologue to the class and at the Portfolio Review o Products: Monologue typed; monologue presentation; final reflection paper that ties together what they learned from the book to this final project o Assessment: Written monologue/ presentation of monologue Storyboard Summary o Question: What is another way to show what happened in the story, other than in words alone? o Task: Create an 8-frame storyboard that depicts 8 major events from the story in order that they occurred. Each frame should include a caption of no more than 3 sentences.

o Products: Storyboard; captions; final reflection paper that ties together what they learned from the book to this final project o Assessment: Storyboard/captions/ presentation of monologue

8. Resources & Frameworks...

NJ Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy

Reading Standards: Key Ideas & Details: 1. Quote from a text to support statements about the text. 2. Determine a theme of a text, drawing on how characters in a story respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text. 3. Compare and contrast two or more characters, events, or settings in a text, drawing on specific details. Craft: 6. Identify how a narrator's perspective or point of view influences how events are described. Integration of Knowledge & Ideas: 7. Explain how images, sounds, and movements contribute to an animated or live-action adaptation of a story, comparing that version to what they "see" or "hear" from reading the text. 9. Compare the treatment of similar ideas and themes (e.g., opposition of good and evil) as well as character types and patterns of events in myths and other traditional literature from different cultures. Range & Level of Text Complexity: 10. Read literature independently, proficiently, and fluently within the grades 4­5 text complexity band; read "stretch" texts in the grades 6­8 text complexity band with scaffolding as needed. Vocabulary Acquisition & Use: 4. Determine word meanings (based on grade 5 reading). o a. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown or multiple-meaning words through the use of one or more strategies, such as using semantic clues (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text); using syntactic clues (e.g., the word's position or function in the sentence); analyzing the word's sounds, spelling, and meaningful parts; and consulting reference materials, both print and digital. o b. Use a known root word as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word with the same root (e.g., photograph, photosynthesis). o c. Interpret figurative language, including similes and metaphors. o d. Explain the meaning of common idioms, adages, and proverbs. 5. Understand word relationships. o a. Build real-life connections between words and their various uses and meanings. o b. Define relationships between words (e.g., how smirk is like and unlike smile; what items are likely to be vast).

o c. Distinguish a word from other words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms). 6. Use grade-appropriate general academic vocabulary and domain-specific words and phrases (in English language arts, history/social studies, and science) taught directly and acquired through reading and responding to texts. Comprehension & Collaboration: Initiate and engage in group discussions on grade 5 topics and texts being studied in class. o a. Come to discussions prepared, having read the required material; in discussions, explicitly draw on that material and other information known about the topic. o b. Respond to questions with elaboration, make comments that contribute to the topic, and build on the ideas of previous speakers. o c. Ask questions to clarify or follow up on ideas or information presented orally or through media. o d. Draw conclusions based on the ideas of others and incorporate them into their own thinking as appropriate Presentation of Knowledge & Ideas: 4. Report on events, topics, or texts in a focused, organized manner, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate, specific facts, details, examples, or other information to develop main ideas. 5. Incorporate visual displays and digital media into presentations when appropriate.


Fountas, Irene C., and Gay Su. Pinnell. Guiding Readers and Writers, Grades 3-6: Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2001. Print. Keene, Ellin Oliver., and Susan Zimmermann. Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1997. Print. Miller, Debbie. Reading with Meaning: Teaching Comprehension in the Primary Grades. Portland, Me.: Stenhouse, 2002. Print. Spinelli, Jerry. Maniac Magee: a Novel. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990. Print.


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