The Magic School Bus: Lost In the Solar System by Joanna Cole
Book Synopsis: A planned trip to the planetarium turns into a field trip through the solar system.
Instructional Focus: (Numbers are for the Virginia Standards of Learning, generally Reading/English)
Science- Solar System Reading: Non-fiction (1.10F, 2.9E/F, 3.6D, 4.6J, 5.6K, Writing: Inform/Short Report (3.11, 4.9, 5.7)
Creating the Costume: I took a white dress from a thrift store and dyed it blue. Then I used my sewing machine to sew various felt planets and stars all over the dress. After gluing some felt planets on my shoes and adding Liz the lizard I was all set. (Getting an actual stuffed Liz was a fluke. The first year I did Ms. Frizzle I just had a TY lizard, but before the second time around I managed to bribe a student to trade me Liz for a stuffed ostrich that I happened to have.) I’m working on convincing one of my teammates to be the magic school bus. I’m totally willing to create a magic school bus for him to wear, but he’s not having it.
Delivery: Ms. Frizzle is the reason I became a teacher. Ok, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, she is ONE of the reasons I became a teacher. Reading a Magic School Bus book aloud is a bit of a challenge, and I tell students before I begin that I will not read every word on every page and that they can go back later and read some of the notes along the sides. What worked out really well with this book was that it was the bridge for us between fiction and nonfiction since it had elements of both. It was a good way to start our work on nonfiction text features as well as a way to build some background knowledge for a short report they had to write in science on planets.