Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was written in the late 1970’s by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Ron Barrett. In 2009, Sony Pictures recreated this classic children’s story with a motion picture, titled the same. Take advantage of this season’s supposedly best children’s animated film and bring it to life in your own classroom using the following lesson plan ideas.
Read and Report
The purpose of this lesson plan is to teach your students how to write. First, you will need to have them read the book. Although it is still a good idea to read the book together aloud, it is an even better idea for you to encourage your students to buy their own copies. That way, they can always have a copy for reference.
After they have finished reading the book, which will not take long, you can ask your students to write their version. Some routes they can take are: what happens after the story ends? What different ending would they have chosen? How can they change it so that, instead of food raining, something else (to their liking) is raining? Ask for volunteers who are willing to share their stories with others.
Create a Play
One of the best ways to interact with a text is to recreate it, physically and mentally. In order to do this, you will need to write a play. Either you can write it or you can ask your students to write one together. Additionally, you can divide your students into groups of three or four, and each group will act out its own play. This number of different plays will allow your students to see how varying the responses, and interpretations, of a single story can be.
Encourage your students to read the book and then to watch the movie. Ask them to write movie and book reviews. Then, ask them the following questions:
How does reading the story first affect the way they responded to the movie?
Did they feel that the movie was a good interpretation/reiteration of the story?
How does the visual version of the text affect their understanding of the written text? Did the visual version make their reading of the text better or worse?
Although these lesson plans are necessarily for the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, you can effectively substitute this movie (and the book) with another of your choice.