Thursday, October 21, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

 Because one day Greg will be rich and famous...

I found myself incredibly happy that I chose Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney as my next children's novel to read. With a movie out based off the novel and elementary students talking about it non-stop, it was about time I cracked it open.
Greg is a typical middle school student, but how typical is it for a boy to be writing a "journal" definitely NOT a "diary" about the things that happen to him on a day to day basis? Greg is a small, "wimpy" kid who finds it foolish to have to go to school along side guys who are 5 times his size and have to shave every day. His antics will have you laughing out loud. He is constantly trying to find a way to raise his standings on the popularity stage where he has estimated himself being about 52nd or 53rd most popular in his class. When we first meet Greg's best friend Rowley, Rowley is more like 150th most popular.  Greg's plans to rise up in the popularity standards are constantly backfiring and when it seems to be Rowley who is rising in the ranks, their friendship is tested. The cartoon drawings that are included within the journal/diary add to the hilarity of Greg's stories and leave you wanting more. It's a good thing Kinney has written 3 other books in the series, with another coming out next month, because I know at least I can't get enough!

The Wimpy Kid Website

Teachers: Here are some resources and ideas to help you teach this novel...

Web Resources:
  • Enrichment Activities: This site offers some activities that a student could do as a book project, for an extension or even just for fun.
  • Comic Creator: I also featured this comic generator in my blog on The Popularity Papers. This is a fun way for students to start their own comic journal like Greg's journal.
Vocabulary: I found the vocabulary in this novel to be fairly easy as well as many of the words can be decoded using context clues. However, here are some words that may need to be pre-taught: ambush, anonymous, audition, bandit, campaign, chaperone, contributor, culprit, dismantle, embroidered, expectations, fabrications, gimmicks, humiliate, immortal, ironic, lecture, legitimate, logic, perk, promotion, psyched, refund, regimen, resolution, sarcastic, sod, soprano, taunt, treasurer

Before Reading: Ask students to predict what kind of character traits Greg will have based on the title Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The implications of the word diary and wimpy may have students coming up with all kinds of ideas about Greg and what he will be like throughout his story.

During Reading: Have students take note of events that happen to Greg that they can relate to. They can use these notes after reading for a writing prompt/essay.

After Reading/Writing:
  •  Have students use their notes on events they can relate to that they took while reading for this activity. Using these notes have students write a compare/contrast writing prompt about one of the events they could relate to and how they related to it. Encourage students to point out the similarities and differences between Greg's event and their own.
  • Ask students to write a journal using comic pictures or the comic generator from readwritethink (link above) in the style of Greg, keeping track of events that have happened over a week's time (or longer if you choose).
In case you didn't know, there's a movie that goes along with this book. It doesn't follow the book exactly, but what movie does? I found it hysterical and have watched it more than once! Check it out!
    Kinney, J. (2007). Diary of a Wimpy Kid. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers.

    Happy Reading (&Running) =)

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