Now that I have exhausted my collection of Graeme Base books, and before I start a new author series, I wanted to bring y'all a few of my favorite stand alone (or in this case paired) books. I normally do these books with my fourth graders (either in conjunction with the Heat Wave story from HMR or the Problem Solving unit from MMH). I am not going to lie to you, this unit was easier before the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie came out because my kids had no preconceived notions of the story line. I am a big proponent of books over movies, and this movie pretty much just took the name of the book, and the fact that large food fell from the sky, then rewrote the entire story line...but I digress. Having kids with prior knowledge of the movie does give you the opportunity to do a compare/contrast activity between the book and the movie, so there is that. If you don't know about these two books, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the story of a town where food falls from the sky like precipitation so there are no stores and restaurants have open roofs for the food to fall through. One day, the falling food become enlarged and ends up destroying the town. The people must leave to find a new place to live. Pickles to Pittsburgh is the sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and takes place years later when people return to their town to use the enlarged food to feed hungry nations. They are both great fantasy reads.
Here are some activities you can do with these books:
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs:
1) Nonfiction/Realistic Fiction/Fantasy: Before I read these books I review the differences between fiction and nonfiction stories. We talk about characteristics of each type of story using a T-chart. I then break fiction into realistic fiction and fantasy. As I read Cloudy, we talk about the parts of the book that are realistic and the parts of the book that are fantasy. I then ask if the illustrations of the book provide a clue as to when the story changes from realistic fiction to fantasy (pictures become colored). You can do this same activity when you read Pickles to review.
2) Questions: There was this great book at my old school entitled, Literature Links by Sharon Richardson, that I absolutely LOVED because of the ideas it had to link story books to the curriculum. It is old school and probably out of print but it breaks down some older books like Cloudy. I think I got this list of questions from that book, I don't really remember but I want to go ahead and site it just in case. The questions are all "wh" questions to test for comprehension.
Get your Questions here!!
3) Grammar: Literature Links also provided a list of words in Cloudy by part of speech you can use for a grammar lesson. You can have your kids diagram sentences using different colored highlighters on or separate the words into noun, verb, adjective, and adverb categories. After you finish categorizing the words, you can use them to create new sentences. Other activities you should try come from the Speech Room News blog entitled Grammar Sandwiches and That's Bologna! My kids love That's Bologna! Instead of having them compete against each other, I have them try to best their own scores. It makes my overly competitive kids a little less so when they are competing against themselves. I am attaching a link to Speech Room News so you can see the activities.
Get your Grammar activity here!!
Get your link to Speech Room News here!!
4) Fantasy vs. Reality: After reading Cloudy you can review fantasy and reality by providing your kids with three choices of events and having them tell you which events are fantasy and which are reality. Here are five options to get you started:
1) Flipping pancakes, eating breakfast, snowing mashed potatoes
2) Thunderstorms, meatball storms, electrical storms
3) Tomato tornado, windy hurricane, dust storm
4) Sailboats of weed, sailboats of bread, sailboats of fiberglass
5) Rain, giant meatballs, hail stones
5) Categories: Sort and classify food into categories such
as breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, fruit, veggies, meat, nuts, drinks, etc. I told you about this activity in my post about The Waterhole, but I originally created this activity for Cloudy. I have a bunch of magazine
pictures on file that I will pull out to do random sorts with to work or
classification and categorizing. I just throw them on the
floor and have the kids create the guidelines for the sort. They have
to work together to come up with the categories based on what pictures
they have. They could sort by type of type of food, when they eat the food, let their imaginations run. To make it
harder, you can reduce the number of categories they are aloud to sort
into and have them start over using new parameters.
6) Chewandswallow News: My kids love this part of the unit. They become their own news station and report on what is happening in the town of Chewandswallow. Each kid is given a specific job (meteorologist, anchor, traffic reporter, etc.) and asked to write their own script for the broadcast based on the book using facts from the story and the problems it caused. I then work with them on correct syntax/semantics when revising their script. We write the script on butcher paper so they can read it while looking into the camera and I video tape the whole thing. They love watching themselves and it is a great way to add a little technology in.
Pickles to Pittsburgh:
Get your Pickles here!!
8) Compare and Contrast: Using books that are connected is an easy way to work on compare and contrast goals. We normally start with a T-Chart of everything we know about each story, then we transfer that information into a Venn diagram.
9) Pancakes: In Cloudy the school is covered with a giant pancake so I thought this would be a perfect time to have pancakes in speech. My school has a griddle in the speech room so this can be done in the speech classroom even though it is a cooking activity. This is also a great time to add comparatives and superlatives when you are making your pancakes by talking about the difference in size. You can go the easy way and use pancake batter mix or follow a recipe to make it from scratch. Happy eating!!
Get your Recipe and Permission Slip here!!