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MCT How do you use the literature trilogy? - UPDATE

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I used the Town series last year and it went very well. This year we will be using the Voyage series, but I had a question about the literature component. Last year was kind of a flop with Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willow, and Alice in Wonderland. We had already read Alice in Wonderland, but wanted to really tackle the other two books. We got through Wind in the Willow, but it didn't flow well, at least compared to the rest of the curriculum. Anyway, how do you use the literature trilogy set? Do you read it aloud to each other? Do the kids read it on their own? 

Edited by bfw0729
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I'd be interested to know as well. 

I bought the Alice, Peter, and Mole trilogy, and when I reviewed it I couldn't figure out what the point of it was.  There were just some sentences that had been pulled out and parsed.  Frankly, I'd rather just use a beautifully illustrated edition without the grammar lesson.

What's weird is that I read MCT's Classics in the Classroom and he talks at length about all kinds of interesting ways to think about and teach literature.  I was expecting some of that, but there wasn't any.  Of course, maybe I just missed it.

Anyway, I never ended up using the books.

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I have questions also.

I bought the Search and Shadow trilogies used off of a friend. I didn't know much about them except they each covered three books. I did not know that the study of the books was cumulative, meaning that the discussion of the third book involves a building on the discussion of the first book.  I think the questions are interesting. I just wasn't necessarily committed to us reading all six books so now I am looking at if I could do a mix of read alouds and assigned reading. 

My books don't have much of the grammar that EKS is mentioning--there are comments about figurative language, etc. Other than that, I don't see a whole lot of value in the student printed text as you  have mentioned. However, I can see where the teacher texts might be useful, but they are very different than what we have been doing. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sometimes DS#3 reads to himself and we check in every chapter or so, but we've mostly done buddy reading, taking turns reading aloud. We've also done some immersion reading, following along in the book while listening to the audio book. I haven't really consulted the parent guides so far, but we've only done the level 1 and 2 trilogies. We just talk about things as we go. 

I like the MCT versions because they pull out the more challenging vocab words with simple definitions at the bottoms of the pages.

The Mud Trilogy was a major hit. My DS#3 has read it at least 4-5 times all the way through. We are just wrapping up the Alice, Peter, and Mole trilogy done through the summer class at RFWP Online. DS#3 liked Alice in Wonderland, *loved* Peter Pan (and read it 3x), and has been kind of meh about Wind in the Willows. Looking ahead to the next trilogy has me thinking we might wait an extra year to start it. A couple of the book selections seem kind of intense for his age.

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DS11 loved the Mud Trilogy.  I read it outloud to him and he read it to himself several times over.  The parent guide had some questions to generate discussion, but I don't think he really got a lot out of those.  I liked the questions in "Suppose the Wolf Were an Octopus" much better, (also by Royal Fireworks Press). 

We are starting Town level soon, and unless I find a stunningly good deal on the Alice, Peter, Mole trilogy, I will stick with picking books out of "Suppose the Wolf...".  I already have Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland around here somewhere and I'm pretty sure I can find some discussion questions for both of those books online if I look hard enough. 

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8 hours ago, MissLemon said:

...  I already have Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland around here somewhere and I'm pretty sure I can find some discussion questions for both of those books online if I look hard enough. 

Some ideas for study guides/discussion questions:

Peter Pan
"Commentary on Peter Pan?" -- OLD thread with various reactions to the book
- The Annotated Peter Pan -- original text with lots of sidebar notes and info
- Core Knowledge -- lesson plans
- discussion questions -- free; list
- Course Hero study guide -- free
- Novel Units study guide -- for a fee

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
 "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" -- OLD thread with various reactions to the book
- The Annotated Alice  -- original text with lots of sidebar notes and info
- LitWits kit -- study guide and activities
- discussion questions -- free; list
- Macmillion teacher notes -- free
- Course Hero study guide -- free
- Prestwick House teaching guide -- (link is to a sample); for a fee

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  • 9 months later...

I wanted to provide an update about how we did with this year's literature books. 

We did so much better this year and it was one of the highlights of MCT. I spent time reading the entire small instructional The Search Trilogy book. This was the biggest help. I should have done this last year. We read all three books aloud and the kids shared in the reading.

There were parts of The Search Trilogy book I didn't follow and many parts I did. Michael Clay Thompson had a section about Vocabulary prestudy - I didn't really go over that part with the kids. The Strategies and Activities section was fantastic. He included a section named "A Comment," which is a summary of each book, including Michael's thoughts and analysis. I initally read this to myself, but it was so helpful and deep that I also read it to the children. Another section included quotes from the books, which were Treasure Island, The Call of the Wild, and The Invisible Man. I used all the quotes provided in this Search Trilogy book. It suggested to try to pull our own; I didn't. The ones in the book were fine with me. I might do something more with Level 4 this year. Anyway, the kids loved the quotes and they competed with each other about who remembered the most. There was another section named "Creative Questions and Activites." There were a handful of creative questions. I had them pick one question and answer it in writing. I probably should have had them do more. They enjoyed this part. For instance, one of the questions was "You have a terrible, complicated problem in your life, and you can choose one of the characters in Treasure Island to come and help you. Who would you choose and why?" The last section we worked on was the Academic Writing Practice. Again, I had my children pick one question to answer. I wish I had them pick more, or at least discuss some of the questions we didn't answer.  There also was an option to write a paper MLA style. They are not there yet, so we skipped this. 

I loved this part of Language Arts this year. So much more complete and a great wrap up to the books. Michael Clay Thompson's Comment section about Call of the Wild was chilling and fantastic. Loved it! 


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