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Marcia Thornton Jones
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NEW  NCTE Activities (.pdf file)
Based on NCTE Standards

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NEW  Keyholders SERIES (.pdf file)

Ghostville Elementary SERIES

 

 

Giants Don't Go Snowboarding

Phantoms Don't Drive Sports Cars

Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots

Double Trouble Monsters

Mermaids Don't Run Track

Kilmer's Pet Monster

Ghostville Elementary SERIES
Legends

1.  In the Ghostville Elementary book series Cassidy, Jeff, and Nina hear many legends about their school:

"The Legend of the Basement Ghosts"
"The Legend of the Blackburn Estate"
"The Legend of the Headless Ghost"
"The Legend of Artemus Finnegan"

Cassidy, Jeff, and Nina know that legends are not always based on facts, but the kids at Ghostville Elementary School know one thing is true. There really are ghosts haunting their basement classroom. How do they know? They’ve seen them!
ACTIVITY
:
  What makes a legend a legend? A legend is usually based on something real that gets exaggerated. Go to the library and read lots of legends, then list what makes a legend a legend. Then, try writing your own legend about your family, school, neighborhood, or town!

2.  In the Ghostville Elementary book Stage Fright, the kids turn a favorite book into a play.
ACTIVITY:  Turn one of your favorite books into a play. How? Rewrite each chapter into a script by highlighting all the important parts and then rewriting them as dialogue that characters say. Perform your play for family and friends!

3.  Times certainly have changed since the ghosts first started going to Ghostville Elementary.
ACTIVITY:  What things would be new to a ghost who once lived in the 1800s?  Find out what kinds of toys and games kids in the 1800s played.  Compare them to what kids play today.  Make a chart!

4.  Olivia is the very friendly, and somewhat unusual, custodian for "Ghostville Elementary". One thing she is famous for is saving homeless animals. In some of the stories, Olivia has had a cat, lizard, turtle, parrot, ferret, snake, and even an opossum. 
ACTIVITY
:
  Pretend you are Olivia. Write a book telling kids about the animals you have. Make sure you tell them what the animal eats, where it lives—and how dangerous it would be to try and pet a stray animal like that! You might have to do a little research first!

5.  In the Ghostville Elementary books Jeff, Cassidy and Nina meet new ghosts.  First there is Ozzy, Becky, Sadie, and Huxley in the book Ghost Class.   Then in Ghost Game they meet Nate. In New Ghoul In School they meet Edgar, and in Stage Fright Calliope and Coco-Mo move into the basement classroom!
ACTIVITY
:
  Pretend you are Cassidy, Jeff, and Nina.  Make a welcome poster for new ghosts that might come to visit the Ghostville Elementary School.  Include all the good things about school and even a map so the new ghosts won’t feel nervous.
   You could even make a welcome poster for your own school next!

6.  In the book New Ghoul In School Nina, Jeff, and Cassidy meet Edgar who is always writing ghost stories in his journal.   
ACTIVITY
:
  Be a ghostwriter!  What kind of ghost stories would a ghost write? With a group of friends, with your class, or all by yourself, write a collection of ghost stories that could be included in Edgar’s journal of scary stories!  (By the way... 
"ghostwriter" is an actual word for someone who writes stories FOR someone else.)

7.  Cassidy, Jeff, and Nina meet up with some pretty unusual characters in the Ghostville Elementary book series.  First, there’s Mr. Morton, their teacher. He ’s nice, but why can’t he see the ghosts?  Andrew is the type of kid that likes to tease others.  The twins Carla and Darla are always telling other kids to behave.  That’s pretty normal in most classrooms, though! What isn’t normal are the ghosts!  An entire classroom full of ghosts!  There’s even a ghost dog (woof!) and a ghost cat (meow)!  
ACTIVITY
:
  Who are your favorite characters from Ghostville Elementary?  Make your own trading cards using index cards.  Draw a picture of a book character on one side, then write a description of that character on the other side!
  Have fun designing a game using your trading cards!

 

Mermaids Don't Run Track
(book # 26 in the The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series)
Play Adaptation
   (total words: 1013)

Characters

Liza Howie
Melody Eddie
Mr. Jenkins
(teacher)
Miss Waterford
(running coach)
Narrator -1 Narrator -3
Narrator -2 Narrator -4
Bailey Running Team Sheldon Sharks Running Team
... and the rest of the Bailey School running team

SCENE ONE  -- The Bailey School running team arrives at Camp Lone Wolf and climbs off the bus.
Liza, Howie, Melody, and Eddie and the rest of the Bailey School Running Team singing to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Throw your teacher overboard
And listen to her scream!

Narrator-1:  The Bailey School running team has arrived at Camp Lone Wolf.
Narrator-2:
  They are having a track meet against the Sheldon Sharks.
Narrator-1:  And Mr. Jenkins has a surprise for them.
Narrator-2:  A new running coach.
Mr. Jenkins: Welcome to Camp Lone Wolf.  I'd like you to meet your new coach, Miss Waterford!
Melody:         She looks like a model.
Liza:               Or a princess from a fairy tale.
Miss Waterford:  I am thrilled to help you win your race. Are you ready to practice! Follow me.
Narrator-1:
  Miss Waterford led the kids around the track once,
Narrator-2:  Twice,
Narrators-1 & -2:   Three times.
Narrator-1:  And then Liza had to stop to catch her breath.
Narrator-2:  So did the other runners!
Liza:             I'm tired.
Miss Waterford: I never get tired of running. I love the feel of sneakers hitting the ground. It's like music.
Eddie:         How can running in circles be music?
Miss Waterford: Listen, and you will hear it.
(Miss Waterford jogs in place until all their sneakers hit the track at the same time. Then she starts singing.)
Miss Waterford:
 

Bailey School Kids run all day
Getting faster all the way
Round this track we'll run again,
This way we're sure to win.

(Soon, all the kids are singing the song and running. Lights dim.)

SCENE 2 -- Later that afternoon.
Liza:
             I think Mr. Jenkins is in big trouble.
Melody (pointing at Mr. Jenkins): No, we're the ones in trouble!
Narrator-3:  All the kids thought Mr. Jenkins was a werewolf.
Narrator-4:  He was definitely the hairiest person they had ever seen.
Narrator-3:  He had hair on his chest,
Narrator-4:  Hair on his arms,
Narrator Three: And hair on his legs.
Narrators-3 & -4: He even had hair on his knuckles!
Liza:           Miss Waterford is helping Mr. Jenkins buy a boat.
Melody, Eddie &  Howie: So?
Liza:           I saw a picture of the boat and it had a mermaid carving.
Melody, Eddie & Howie: So?
Liza:          The mermaid looked just like Miss Waterford.
Melody, Eddie & Howie: So?
Liza:          I think that mermaid is our very own Miss Waterford!
Eddie:      And I'm Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!
Melody:  After all, Mermaids don't run track!
Liza:        This is serious. I think Miss Waterford is a mermaid and she's tricking Mr. Jenkins to go to sea in her place so she can stay on land! We must save Mr. Jenkins.
Melody:
  Why should we save him?
Howie:   
Without Mr. Jenkins there would be no Camp Lone Wolf.
Melody: And Camp Lone Wolf is a home for wild animals.
Howie:   Liza's right! We have to save Mr. Jenkins.
Eddie (pointing): Forget about Mr. Jenkins. Worry about saving ourselves!

(The Sheldon Sharks file onto the stage. They look like professional runners. Mr. Jenkins blows a whistle to start the races. The kids line up for relays.)

Howie:    The Sheldon Sharks are going to eat us alive.
Eddie (tugging at Miss Waterford's sleeve):
  I thought you were going to help us win!
Miss Waterford:  Keep a song in your heart. I am sure you'll win!

(Mr. Jenkins blows the whistle and the teams begin to run around the audience. As they run, they start singing their running song. They sing faster and faster. As they sing, they run faster to go with the music. Soon, they are way ahead of the Sheldon Sharks)

Bailey School Runners:

Bailey School Kids run all day
Getting faster all the way
Round this track we'll run again,
This way we're sure to win.

(Liza reaches the finish line first... The Bailey School Kids cheer!!)

Howie (holding trophy):  We didn't win this trophy by ourselves. We have Miss Waterford to thank!
Eddie:         Let's hear it for Miss Waterford!
Bailey School Runners: Hurrah for Miss Waterford!
Melody:     I don't care if she is a mermaid. I think Miss Waterford is wonderful.
Liza (grabbing Melody's arm):  But what if she uses her magical singing to chase Mr. Jenkins out to sea!
Eddie:       So what if she does? Maybe she's like the Pied Piper. We could use her to get rid of all the teachers at school!
Liza:         But if Mr. Jenkins leaves, it will be the end of Camp Lone Wolf!
Melody:   Liza's right. We can't let Miss Waterford do that.
Howie:     But we don't even know she is a mermaid.
Liza:        There's one way to find out. We have to get her wet.
Melody:  What will that prove?
Liza:        If you get a land-loving mermaid wet her fins grow back and she's forced to go back to the ocean.
Eddie:     The only thing wet around here are your brains!
Melody:
  It won't hurt to try Liza's idea!
Howie (nodding):  Here comes Miss Waterford, now!
Eddie:     Leave this to me!

(Eddie grabs a water glass filled with paper confetti to look like water. He hides from Miss Waterford. As Miss Waterford passes near him, Eddie throws the glass of confetti-water on Miss Waterford.)

Miss Waterford (ear-piercing scream):   NOOOOOOOOOO!

(Miss Waterford shivers and shakes. Then she runs off the stage. The kids hear a huge splash.)

Liza:        It's kind of sad. Miss Waterford loves to run, but she can't have her dream because she's a mermaid.
Howie:     Maybe she'll realize she's happy with what she has. After all, a mermaid belongs in the water.
Eddie:      I still say you're crazy. Miss Waterford never was and never will be a mermaid.
Melody:  Eddie could be right. After all...  mermaids don't run track!

ALL NARRATORS:  THE END !!!

Kilmer’s Pet Monster
(book # 4 in the Bailey City Monsters series)

  1. Bailey City is having a pet contest and everyone is excited!  What are the favorite pets of your friends or in your classroom?  What is the most unusual pet?  Conduct a survey to find out!
  2. Ben, Annie, and Jane never get to see Priscilla Pocus’ pet named Bruno.  What do you think Bruno is?  A dragon?  A tiger?  Draw a picture of Bruno.
  3. Design a ribbon or a medal that could be given as a prize in a pet contest.
  4. Boris and Hilda are always offering strange treats like peanut butter and worm cookies.  Make-up your own strange treat-but only on paper!
  5. If Kilmer plans to enter Bruno in the Bailey City Pet Contest, he has to be on a leash.  It’s one of the rules.  Make a list of rules—then have your own pet contest!
  6. Priscilla Pocus speaks in rhymes.  There are lots of ways to make rhymes.  One was is by writing couplets.  That means there are two sentences and the last words of each sentence rhyme.  An example of a couplet by Priscilla Pocus:
    • Feline claws, whiskers and fur.
    • I'll scratch your chin and hear you purr.
  7. You can put two couplets together to make a longer rhyme.  Try writing your own rhymes!
  8. Here’s another example from Priscilla to help get you started:

    • Your life is safe in my hand.
    • Jump now upon my command.
    • Into the swirl, 
    • My little girl.
  9. Annie explains to Issy that spiders are arachnids.  Look up the word "arachnids" at the library.
  10. The prize in the Bailey City Pet Contest is a bicycle.  Ben thinks a brand-new bike would be great, but Kilmer likes Ben’s beat-up old bike.  What kind of bike would you like?  Draw a picture showing what a "cool" bike would be like.

Double Trouble Monsters
(book # 5 in the Bailey City Monsters series)

  • The newest visitor to Hauntly Manor Inn is 
    Professor E. Gore.  During his visit, the Hauntlys get two new sculptures.  Make your own sculptures using clay or Play-Dough.
  • Ben, Jane, and Annie are building a tree house.  Design your own tree house.  Draw a picture.
  • Boris always wears a cape that has a red button that looks just like a giant drop of blood.  Could his button be magic?  Write a story about Boris’ magic button.
  • Ben, Annie, and Jane fine two unusual statues in Hauntly Manor Inn.  There are many other famous statues in our country like the Statue of Liberty.  Research to find out all about the Statue of Liberty.
  • Are there any statues in your community?  Make a picture book of the statues in your community!  Share it with your teacher!
  • Statues honor important people.  Who do you think deserves to have a statue?  Design a statue of an important person in your life.
  • Jane explains that statues can be found in art museums.  Visit a nearby art museum.
  • Create your own art museum with your friends.  Include drawings, paintings, sculptures, and models of your very own.
  • Ben, Jane, and Annie are worried that Professor E. Gore is making doubles of everything... including monsters!  But some doubles are fun—like when you play doubles in tennis and Ping-Pong.  Doubles in a game is when four friends play a game using two teams of two players.  Make up a game that can be played in teams of two.  Then have fun playing doubles with three of your friends!

Giants Don't Go Snowboarding
(book # 33 in The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series)

Giantb.jpg (3974 bytes)

  • The Bailey School Kids enjoy sledding, snowboarding, and snowball fights, but they would like a new winter game to play.  With some of your friends, make up new outdoor games to play in the snow, then have your own neighborhood Snow Olympics.
  • Write a list of rules that would help kids stay safe when playing in the snow and when participating in snow sports.  Share you rules with you family and friends.
  • Liza and her friends are excited about the weekend trip to the Golden Egg Ski Lodge, but some kids wouldn’t think that was a good vacation.  What do you think would be the perfect winter vacation for kids?  Just for fun, plan the perfect winter vacation.
  • Liza doesn’t like the way Eddie changes one of her favorite Christmas songs, but sometimes changing the words of a song can be fun.  Try it and see!
  • Jack likes cows so much he has pictures of them all over the Golden Egg Ski Lodge.  It’s true cows are helpful.  After all, that’s where we get things like milk, cheese, and hamburger.  Celebrate cows by having someone help you make a milkshake or an ice cream sundae.
  • Jack tells the Bailey School kids they can learn a lot from studying giants.  Most people think giants are big, but some people use the word giant to describe someone that’s been very successful in their chosen field.  Who are some giants you can look up to in sports?  Music?  Government?  What makes those people "giants" in their fields?  Write a letter to a "giant" that you admire.  Be sure to tell him or her why you think they are "giants" worth "looking up to."
  • Jack wears a bell to help him remember his best friend.  Ask your mom or dad to help you make a gift for a friend or family member.  Use yarn, paper, cardboard, and other creative things you can find around your house.
  • Hugh is great at growing beans.  Ask your mom or dad to help you plant some seeds  Can you make them grow?
  • Hugh Mongus and Jack remind the Bailey School Kids of characters from the fairy tale, Jack and the Giant Beanstalk.  Think of a character from your favorite fairy tale. Write a fun story telling what would happen if that character showed up at your school or in your neighborhood!
  • It’s fun to put on a play.  Can you and some friends put on a Jack and the Giant Beanstalk play?  If you're really feeling brave try jazzing things up and making it a modern day Jack who lives in the big city-maybe Jack even likes to rap!

Phantoms Don’t Drive Sports Cars
(book # 32 in The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series)
  • Eddie loves sports cars.  His favorite is the Lambourghini®.  Do you have a favorite car?  Can you find a picture of it in the library?  The Lambourghini® was designed by an Italian company.  Design your own sports car and draw it on a piece of paper.  A designer must write out the following things:
    - What will it be made out of?
    - How fast will it go?
    - How big is the engine? 
    - Where will the engine be (in front or back)? 
    - What fuel will it run on (gasoline or something else)?
    - How many people will it hold?
    - How much will it cost to build?  How much to buy?
    - Eddie’s favorite color for a sports car is red.  What color will yours be?
  • Eddie and his friends go to an opera.  An opera is like a play with a special type of singing.  Can you and your friends put on a play about the book Phantoms Don’t Drive Sports Cars?
  • Operas began in a country called Italy.  Find Italy on a map.  It looks like an old-fashioned boot.  Italy is famous for many things, especially pizza.  Rome is the most famous city in Italy.  Draw your own map of Italy and put a star where Rome should be.  Then go to the library and find check out a book on Italy.  It will probably be in the 900 section, which is where books on countries are usually located.  Find three neat things about Rome and draw them on the paper around your map.
  • Violins are beautiful musical instruments.  They are often called fiddles when they are playing non-classical music.  Does anyone in your school play the violin?  Perhaps they can bring it to school to show your class.  If not, perhaps your teacher can find a tape of violin music for you to listen to.  Did you know that it has been proven that listening to some music will make you smarter?  Listen to violin music for two minutes.  How did it make you feel?  Do you feel smarter?  Maybe we should all start listening to violin music before a spelling test!

Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots
(Book # 1 in The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series)

Put on a Bailey School play with your own class!
(a short 3-scene play)

Characters

The Narrator Mrs. Jeepers
(the new teacher)
Liza Howie
Melody Eddie
two moving men the school janitor
... and the rest of the children in the 3rd grade class

SCENE 1  -- Students are sitting in their desks in their messy third grade classroom, waiting for their new teacher.

Melody:    Poor Mrs. Deedee. You shouldn’t have been so mean to her.
Eddie:       Nobody was very nice to her.
Melody:    Now we have to get a new teacher.  I hope we don’t get a male wrestler.
Howie:      Be serious. Wrestlers don’t become teachers.
Melody:   Yes, they do. My cousin had a wrestler for a teacher. He was huge and very mean.
Liza:          I hope we don’t get Viola Swamp for a teacher.
Class:       Ha! Ha! Ha!
Narrator: Viola Swamp was a character in a book they had read. She was the strictest teacher in the whole world. Everyone stopped laughing when the classroom doorknob slowly turned.

SCENE 2  -- After school. The kids are walking home as they pass the Clancy Estate.

Melody:    I think our new teacher, Mrs. Jeepers, is strange.
Howie:      She talks really freaky.
Liza:          I think she’s nice. She talks funny because she is from Transylvania.
Howie:       Isn’t that where Count Dracula was from?
Melody:    Maybe Mrs. Jeepers is a vampire, too.
Eddie:       Mrs. Jeepers is just a wimpy teacher. I’m going to get rid of her.
Melody: (pointing) Yuck, somebody is moving into the Clancy estate!
Eddie:       I bet it’s haunted with ghosts and vampires. (Eddie pretends to bite his friends on the neck)
Narrator:  The kids are staring at the creepy looking house when a voice comes from behind them. The kids jump.
Mrs. Jeepers:  Good afternoon, children. I see you have noticed my new home.
Howie:      You mean you’re going to live here?
Mrs. Jeepers: (nodding) Yes, is it not lovely?
Narrator:  Two moving men walk by carrying a long wooden box.  It looks just like a coffin!
Liza:          I think I hear my mom calling.
Howie, Melody, and Eddie:   Me, too!
Narrator:  The kids ran away from Mrs. Jeepers as fast as they could.
Howie:      Did you see that coffin!
Melody:   Maybe Mrs. Jeepers really is a vampire!
Liza:         Don’t be silly, vampires don’t wear polka dots.
Eddie:       Mrs. Jeepers isn’t a vampire and I can prove it.

SCENE 3   -- Third grade classroom with Howie and Melody

Howie:      This book says that garlic will get rid of vampires.  I brought some garlic salt from home.
Melody:   Now we can find out for sure if Mrs. Jeepers really is a vampire.
Narrator: Mrs. Jeepers and the rest of the kids come in the room.  They start to work, but something is wrong with Mrs. Jeepers.
Mrs. Jeepers: (sneezes)  Ah-chooo! Ah-chooo!
Eddie:       Phew! Somebody stinks. It smells like spaghetti in here!
Howie and Melody:  Shhhhhh!
Narrator:  Mrs. Jeepers was too busy blowing her nose to notice Eddie. So Eddie threw paper planes, knocked books on the floor, and sharpened his pencil about one hundred times.
Mrs. Jeepers: (sneezes)  Ah-chooo! Ah-chooo!
Eddie:       Sick people shouldn’t come to school.
Mrs. Jeepers: (sneezes)  Ah-chooo!  Class, go to lunch.
Narrator:  When the class got back from lunch, the janitor was just finishing sweeping up all the garlic salt.
Mrs. Jeepers:  Thank you, Mr. Dobson. I am sure I will feel much better now.
Howie:      Eddie, I’ve got to tell you something.
Eddie:       Don’t bug me, I’m getting ready to bombard Mrs. Jeepers with spitballs.
Howie:      But you can’t. The garlic’s gone. Mrs. Jeepers is already feeling better.
Narrator:  It was true. Mrs. Jeepers was no longer blowing her nose or sneezing. Eddie stuck a wad of paper in his mouth and got it good and soggy. Then, taking careful aim, Eddie let the spitball fly.
Eddie:       Bingo!
Narrator:  Mrs. Jeepers slowly plucked the spitball from her papers.
Eddie:       I told you see isn’t a vampire. She won’t do a thing.
Mrs. Jeepers: (pulling Eddie from his desk)  I have had enough!  I will speak to you in the hall this instant.
Eddie:      I’m sorry, Mrs. Jeepers. I’ll never do it again.
    (Mrs. Jeepers and Eddie leave the room)
Melody:  What do you think she’ll do to him?
Howie:     I don’t know, but I’m glad it’s not me.
Liza:         Let’s clean up the room before they get back.
Narrator: When Mrs. Jeepers and Eddie get back, Eddie is as white as a ghost.
Howie:     What happened?
Liza:         Did Mrs. Jeepers bite you on the neck?
Narrator:  But Eddie never told his friends what happened out in the hall. All he said was . . .
Eddie:       I know one thing, I’ll NEVER make her mad again!
Narrator:  Do Vampires REALLY wear polka-dots?  We may never know...  

NARRATOR:  THE END !!!

Create Your Very Own "Bailey School Kids" Story
...if you dare!

There are some pretty weird grown-ups living in Bailey City and maybe in your neighborhood, too!  Is your next door neighbor really a zombie?  Share The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids by creating your own funny story or picture.  Use the ideas below or make up your own.

A Character

Their Job

Fun Things They Might Do

Snow Man Scientist -- plays tennis
Space Man Ballet Teacher -- wears a tutu
Tooth Fairy Carpenter -- licks lollipops
Robot Janitor -- plays with a Hula-Hoop®
Easter Bunny School Bus Driver -- eats pickles and ice cream

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YOUNG WRITERS
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