Friday, April 18, 2014

One of My Favorite Projects

I love the fourth grading period of first grade. It's the time of year when everything comes together. It's also the time when I break the monotony of my usual weekly reading fluency and comprehension homework and start assigning projects!

The first project of the grading period is the Magic Tree House Book Bag Report. My STARS are obsessed with the Magic Tree House series, so this is one homework assignment that they are excited to do!

*Now, this is in no way my idea. If your kids love Magic Tree House, and you haven't visited the Teacher section of their website, you are MISSING OUT! There are some fabulous resources on their site for FREE!*

I start by sending home the explanation sheet I created, a blank "My Magic Tree House Book Bag Report" sheet (can be found here), and a paper lunch bag. Here is the explanation I send home:

I send home weekly homework in a homework folder on Mondays, and it's due back on Fridays. For most of the school year, I send home a leveled reader or reading passage with comprehension questions for the kids to complete. This Book Bag project takes the place of three weeks of the leveled reading homework. Since there are always kids who can finish a book in a few nights, I offer an extra credit project for those "early finishers." 

For the past three weeks, my STARS have been reading, drawing, and rehearsing, and today was the big day!! This was our first big opportunity to show off our Speaking and Listening skills, not to mention comprehension!! I absolutely love watching these presentations. I emphasized rehearsing, and they ALL listened and did SO WELL! I was one proud teacher today! 

Here are a few of the completed bags: 

For this project, they are supposed to draw four pictures of events from the story that will help them retell the plot. Then they add objects to the inside of the bag that relate to the story and will also aid in their retelling. I had a few STARS who wanted to tell us every. last. detail. of their book, bless their hearts, but most of them stuck to a few details from the beginning, middle, and end and did a wonderful job incorporating their pictures and objects. 

Here is an example of a completed "My Magic Tree House Book Bag Report" and the rubric I created using RubiStar:

Here is an example of an extension project for extra credit: 

He made a diorama of the tsunami from his book heading straight for the main characters, Jack and Annie. So awesome! 

One thing I will change for next year is to assign presentations on two different days. I forgot how long they take! Book Bag presentations took almost 2 1/2 hours today. Of course we didn't do them all at once, but even with them spread throughout the day, I still had several who were struggling to be good audience members. Overall, though, it was a great day! 

Next up on the project list is a Career Day speech! Look for that post next week! I'm even MORE excited for that one! 

I hope you all have a blessed Easter weekend! :) 


  1. How fun for you and the kids. These kind of things are what help young readers LOVE to read.
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition