Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a realistic fiction novel, humorously describes the troubles of being in middle school and trying to fit in with integrated text and drawings. This is the first book in the immensely popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!
Greg Heffley relays his thoughts and experiences through his “diary”, which he explains from the very beginning is supposed to be a journal - carrying around a diary is just asking to get beat up. Greg introduces his parents, his younger brother Manny, who is treated like a prince, and his mean older brother, Rodrick. Greg also describes his friendship with his nerdy and socially clueless friend Rowley.
Greg tries numerous ploys to increase his popularity, including running for class treasurer, lifting weights to be better at wrestling, taking up a job as Safety Patrol, and pretending to have an infection in his hand. Each attempt is a humorous failure, although Greg doesn’t seem to realize where he goes wrong.
Greg eventually has a falling-out with Rowley; Greg torments the kindergartners with worms and lets Rowley take the fall. Greg attempts to befriend Rowley again without a sincere apology and Rowley moves on, hanging out with a new friend and leaving Greg to hang out with Fregley, a strange classmate.
Rowley gains popularity through his “Zoo-Wee Mama” comics and Greg feels like he is owed some of the recognition. Greg approaches him after school and some bystanders encourage them to fight. Before either one of the boys make a move, teenagers arrive and force Rowley to eat The Cheese: a slice of cheese that has been sitting on the blacktop for months. Rowley may have been the one to eat The Cheese, but Greg suffers from The Cheese Touch.
Essential Questions for Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Explain the effectiveness of the drawings throughout the novel.
Is Greg Heffley a realistic character? Why or why not?
Is Greg a good friend? Why or why not?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers
In this activity, students will depict the characters of the story using a character map. Have students pay close attention to the physical and character traits of both major and minor characters. Students will provide detailed information regarding how the characters interact with the main characters, as well as challenges the characters face.
In this activity, students demonstrate their understanding of several words using a spider map as a visual vocabulary board. After choosing the word(s), students provide the part of speech, definition, an example from the text, and demonstrate their understanding of the word(s) through an illustration in the related storyboard cell.
[ELA-Literacy/RL/5/6] Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Point of view provides the eyes, ears, and thoughts of a character. By analyzing point of view, students can gather insight to the author’s purpose, theme, and voice. In this activity, students will examine the author’s point of view and identify ways it is unique in understanding elements of the story.
First person point of view allows readers to see everything through Greg’s eyes.
“But then I found out who I DID have to wrestle, and I would have traded for Benny Wells in a heartbeat.”
“The song is only three minutes long, but to me it felt like an hour and a half. I was just praying the curtains would go down so we could hop off the stage.”
“At 12:15, me and Rowley left school and walked the kindergartners home. The whole trip ate up forty-five minutes, and there were only twenty minutes of Pre-Algebra left when we got back.”
[ELA-Literacy/RL/5/2] Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. The theme provides a moral to the story and is the central idea behind the text. Through analyzing themes, students can delve deeper into the text’s meaning and apply the moral to their own lives. In this activity, students will identify a theme of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and support it with evidence from the text.
Example Theme and Support from Text
“I’ve been trying to be a lot more careful about my image ever since I got to middle school. But having Rowley around is definitely not helping.”
“…I realized getting elected Treasurer could TOTALLY change my situation at school.”
“So here’s what I’m thinking: This school year has been kind of a bust, but if I can get voted as Class Favorite, I’ll go out on a high note.”
Additional themes are courage, loyalty, friendship, and family.