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Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Teacher Guide by Elizabeth Pedro

Find this Common Core aligned Teacher Guide and more like it in our Elementary School Category!

Student Activities for Diary of a Wimpy Kid Include:

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!




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Brief Synopsis of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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

  1. Explain the effectiveness of the drawings throughout the novel.
  2. Is Greg Heffley a realistic character? Why or why not?
  3. Is Greg a good friend? Why or why not?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Characters


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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.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid Characters

  • Greg Heffley
  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Rodrick
  • Manny
  • Rowley

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a character map for the major characters.


  1. Identify the major characters in Diary of a Wimpy Kid and type their names into the different title boxes.
  2. Choose a Storyboard That character to represent each of the literary characters.
    • Select colors and a pose appropriate to story and character traits.
  3. Choose a scene or background that makes sense for the character.
  4. Fill in Textables for Physical/Character Traits, Character Changes Over Time, and Challenges Character Faces.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Diary of a Wimpy Kid Vocabulary Activity


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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.


Example Vocabulary from Diary of a Wimpy Kid

  • horsing around
  • promotion
  • announcement
  • degrading
  • ironic
  • vampires
  • regimen
  • ad lib
  • gimmick
  • foiled
  • dignity
  • humiliate
  • sarcasm
  • fabrication
  • blubbering
  • budge
  • confer
  • racket
  • complicate
  • hassle

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Demonstrate your understanding of the vocabulary words in Diary of a Wimpy Kid by creating visualizations.


  1. Choose three vocabulary words from the story and type them in the title boxes.
  2. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary.
  3. Write a sentence that uses the vocabulary word.
  4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
    • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to show the meaning of the words with the search bar.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Point of View - The Perspective of Greg Heffley

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.

  1. “But then I found out who I DID have to wrestle, and I would have traded for Benny Wells in a heartbeat.”

  2. “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.”

  3. “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.”

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Text Evidence


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Provide students with a question or prompt to answer with a storyboard using textual evidence. The example prompt is, "What complications does Greg experience with his friend Rowley?"

Possible answers to the prompt include:

  • “Rowley ended up getting grounded for that whole haunted house mess yesterday. He’s not allowed to watch TV for a week, AND he’s not allowed to have me over at his house during that time.”

  • “But I guess he had his heart set on rolling that snowball down the hill, and he was really mad. But get this: Rowley was mad at ME for what DAD did.”

  • “Well, me and Rowley have officially been ex-friends for about a month now, and to be honest with you, I’m better off without him.”


Other prompts include:

  • Why does the author include drawings throughout the text?
  • Why is it ironic that Greg would be the one to have the Cheese Touch?

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that answers the prompt using at least three examples from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Click on "Add Cells" to change the number of examples.


  1. Type the question into the central black box.
  2. Think about examples from the text that support your answer.
  3. Type text evidence in the description boxes. Paraphrase or quote directly from the text.
  4. Illustrate each example using scenes, characters, items, etc.


(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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Themes of Diary of a Wimpy Kid


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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

Belonging

  • “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.


(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Diary of a Wimpy Kid you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for examples that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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•   (English) Diary of a Wimpy Kid   •   (Español) Diario de un Niño Wimpy   •   (Français) Journal D'un Wimpy Kid   •   (Deutsch) Gregs Tagebuch   •   (Italiana) Diario di una Schiappa   •   (Nederlands) Het Leven van een Loser   •   (Português) O Diário de um Banana   •   (עברית) יומנו של חנון   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) يوميات طفل جبان   •   (हिन्दी) एक कायर बच्चे की डायरी   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Дневник Слабака   •   (Dansk) Dagbog af en Wimpy Kid   •   (Svenska) Dagbok av en Mesig Unge   •   (Suomi) Diary of a Wimpy Kid   •   (Norsk) En Pingles Dagbok   •   (Türkçe) Wimpy Kid'in Günlüğü   •   (Polski) Dziennik Cwaniaczka   •   (Româna) Jurnal al Unui Copil Wimpy   •   (Ceština) Deník Malého Poseroutky   •   (Slovenský) Denník Wimpy Kid   •   (Magyar) Egy Ropi Naplója   •   (Hrvatski) Dnevnik Wimpy Kida   •   (български) Дневникът на Детска Котка   •   (Lietuvos) Diary of a Wimpy Kid   •   (Slovenščina) Dnevnik Wimpy Kid   •   (Latvijas) Dienasgrāmata Wimpy Kid   •   (eesti) Diary of Wimpy Kid