Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Chocolate Factory - Part Two- We Begin to Read

I passed out a BME chart for the students to write in as we begin reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As we made our way through the first several chapters, they noticed that there weren't really any events happening to the characters, but it was giving us information about the Bucket Family and about Mr. Wonka himself. Very interesting noticings.

I also gave them a characterization chart for Grandpa Joe. In this they were to look for information regarding this sprightly 96 and a half year old. When they found something they would record it on their sheet. Then fill in information about what the text meant when they said this, or why the author thought it was important to share. The last column was for them to write down their own reactions to this information. The first thing they noticed was that there were four people sharing one bed. They thought Roald Dahl wanted us to know how poor the family was. Some of the kids wrote down things like, "Wow! That's a lot of people in one bed." or "I wouldn't be able to sleep with someone's feet in my face."

Another activity we were doing for the first couple of days had to do with summarizing each of the chapters. They were to write a sentence or two to explain what had happened and then write down a new title for that chapter. I thought it would be an interesting way to gauge whether they could manipulate material to come up with their own synopsis of a section. I had them turn this sheet in when they finished with chapter ten. I was pleased to see how well most of them did with this. They were getting the main gist and could come up with comprehensible chapter titles. Some of them tried getting away with things like, "Chocolate" or "OMG!"  I had to pull them aside and explain how vague that was. They needed to really think about what was happening in the story and think about how best to explain in three words or less. Very interesting.

After chapter 6 there was a vocabulary quiz to see if they could use their context clues and resources to understand unfamiliar words. Most of them did well with words like drafts, dotty, and margarine. Some of them took the lazy way out and tried to use these new words in sentences like, "My mom is fastened (fascinated) with her new car." or "I want deserted (dessert) after dinner." Pretty funny stuff.

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