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New York, NY
PK - 12
Class Size:
Less than 10
Recent Resources
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  1. Books from booklist, especially Magic School Bus books.
  2. The Magic School Bus: Gets Lost in Space video
  3. Copies of poems Planet Roll Call [] (PDF) and Solar System in Motion [] (PDF)
  4. Black construction paper
  5. White copy paper
  6. Scraps of brightly colored (red, orange, yellow) construction paper
  7. Scissors and glue sticks
  8. Tracing pattern in school bus shape
  9. Lined paper, pencils


Students will:

  1. Listen to read-aloud book and watch video.
  2. Write in response to the book and video.
  3. Listen to and read poems about the solar system.
  4. Write in response to poems.

Resource Instructions

Day 1
Read book The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System [] aloud. Suggestion: There's a lot happening on each page including sidebars, additional facts, and student "reports." I read through the main text the first time so students get the flow of the story. On second reading I include a few of the other details.

Day 2
Show video The Magic School Bus: Gets Lost in Space []. Follow with discussion of the book and video and how they're the same and different.

Day 3
Read book a second time, adding more of the details. Introduce students to the Magic School Bus Web site [].

Day 4
Write about a favorite planet.

  1. Discuss planets, make a list of planet names
  2. Talk about personal favorite, ask students to turn and talk to person next to them about planet they like and why. Ask two or three children to share.
  3. Introduce school bus stationery. Show sample of school bus rocketing into space on black paper with flames of red, orange, and yellow paper trailing behind.
  4. Generate a word bank with students' help. Pay special attention to powerful verbs: swirl, blast, spin, climb, soar, zoom, propel, etc.
  5. Ask students to write about their favorite planet and why they like it. Use school bus stationery.
  6. Students color and cut out school bus and glue it to black paper.
  7. Students add details with colored paper and crayons.

Other suggestions for writing topics:

    • Compare and contrast two planets. How they are same and different?
    • Narrative written from alternate perspective. What if planets could talk? What would they say about one another?

    Day 5
    Introduce poems

    1. Choral reading of "Planet Roll Call."
    2. Repeated reading with one student taking the part of teacher and small groups assigned to play parts of planets, so everyone has a speaking part.
    3. Sing "Solar System in Motion."
    4. Repeat the song with two students standing and playing parts of sun and earth.

    Day 6
    Write a poem

    1. Use word bank generated from previous writing assignment and add adjectives to the list of powerful verbs.
    2. Here are ideas for poems. None of these ideas need lines that rhyme:
      • Graphic organizer you provide
      • Start with the name of a planet and have lines that consist of "as ___________ as a _____________," to help students write with similes.
      • Write from the perspective of a planet and have every line begin with "I wish...".
      • Write a conversation between two neighboring planets.
      • Acrostic poem using the name of a planet (I'm not a fan of these but some children like them).
      • Group poem you write together as a class.

      Use your imagination and play around with these and other ideas.

    3. Allow 25 minutes for writing and 10 minutes for sharing.


    Solar System Journal
    By the spring of 2nd grade you'll have students who want to write more than is assigned. I have a stack of blue exam books for this purpose. I introduce science journals to a few students apart from the class and make journaling seem very special. Soon, classmates are asking for their own journals. I don't correct journals but I do read and respond in writing.


    Did student:

    • Listen to books?
    • Participate in choral reading?
    • Make an effort during writing time?
    • Ask for help as needed?
    • Generate original ideas?
    • Share what she wrote?

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