Lisa Evans

1st Grade, Jenkins Elementary School, Hickory, NC

My name is Lisa Evans and I am currently a first grade teacher at Jenkins Elementary School in Hickory, NC. I have had the privilege this year to work with a group of 20 first graders that are reading at above grade level. Magic Tree House Books have been a key to developing these students love for reading and progressing their reading level along with their vocabulary and historical facts. We look at the vocabulary throughout the book and examine each chapter. The students have been thoroughly engaged and excited to learn about the Great Depression and the marvelous sites in New York City. Below I have described one of the units of study that we have completed on Blizzard of the Blue Moon.

  • To learn about the Great Depression we watched a clip on YouTube that gave them an overview. They went home and discussed it with their parents and then shared their discussions within the group. In our research, we discovered that the board game, Sorry, first came out in the 40’s and we compared the cost of the game then and now. As a treat on Friday afternoon, the students had to earn wages through various activities; if they had earned enough in wages, then they could buy the board game for the afternoon and play (pictures included.) They earned their waged by working together as a table team, following directions, and being engaged.
  • We Researched and looks at photographs of Central Park and the Belvedere Castle.
  • When we got to chapter 5-7, it led to a great discussion about the tapestry room. We were able to view the Metropolitan Museum website. We compared the tapestries that were described in the book to the photographs of the real ones; further leading to discussion and the student’s opinions. The students created their own tapestries with their meaning and shared them with their classmates.
  • The last activity came as a surprise as I came upon the Grow a Unicorn toy at the hospital gift shop. I am always on the lookout for learning tools for my students. The students examined the small unicorn the first day and each group came up with two adjectives to describe her. It was unanimous that we name her Dianthus. As a class, we made a web chart to share their adjectives. We measured Dianthus and made a prediction on how much she would grow. The directions said it would take 72 hours for full growth, so we made a prediction each day (photos included).

Magic Tree House books have inspired these students to want to read more and have become more engaged in class. They look forward to our hour of daily collaboration on these books. This has improved the student’s vocabulary, and in return, helping them in other subjects as they recognized and understand more words. We would like to thank the authors for letting us take these travels.