Saturday, January 25, 2014

Common Core Classroom Activities for The Case of the Invisible Witch by Patrice Lyle

Are you looking for language arts classroom activities to use in conjunction with a middle grade novel? Look no further. The following activities are common core friendly, project-based, technology optional, and nurture thinking skills.

Sit back and enjoy reading The Case of the Invisible Witch by Patrice Lyle, and then choose one of the following projects to complete (either independently or collaboratively).

1.    Design a Poison Ivy Yearbook.  The yearbook should include a cover, pictures (hand-drawn or staged photographs) of the characters, a map of the school grounds, pictures of five major events with text to summarize the event, and pictures of school clubs with names of members and a short description.  When possible, be sure to include aspects of the yearbook as described in the novel. Technology options include designing in Photoshop, compiling at, using a scanner, using a digital camera, and PowerPoint/Prezi.

  • Summarizing text
  • Conveying  information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content
  • Encouraging multiple intelligences to include:  visual, spatial, and verbal
2.    Design a spell book. Choose five spells from The Case of the Invisible Witch and copy them into your book.  Explain why each is used in the novel and the result of each spell. Based on what happens in the book, are there tips you might give to improve spell implementation?  If you could, how would use you the spell in your real life?   Include a cover and decorate your spell book.  Students could use word processing software to complete.


  • Quoting accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text
  • Hypothesizing
  • Evaluating the value of information and idea
  • Finding relevant information

3.    Create a presentation on “How to Be a Good Detective.”  Compile the tips Tulip Bonnaire shared in The Case of the Invisible Witch.  Try to mimic the voice that the author has given Tulip.  Create visuals to go with your presentation.  Technology options include: video recording equipment, PowerPoint, and i-movie.

  • Writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly
  • Finding relevant information
  • Organizing information
  • Imagining

Try these activities out and let me know what you think in the comments below.


Mary Helen Sheriff lives in Richmond, VA with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has an MFA in children’s literature from Hollins University and is an experienced teacher of elementary, middle grade, and college students. Her most recent publishing credits include four middle grade short stories for a reading comprehension website and a YA short story for an anthology written for Ethiopians learning English. She is currently writing a novel and maintaining a blog where you can read her thoughts on writing and education. 


  1. Wow! These are fantastic, Mary! I love the one about designing a Poison Ivy Yearbook. Thank you so much for your efforts on this :)

  2. Patrice, Thank you for writing such a fun book to inspire them!