Warm Up! What’s Your Favorite Food?
If you are using the Chocolate Fever book by, Robert Kimmel Smith in your lesson plans, no doubt you have spent time discussing the main character, Henry Green's unusual eating habits. For example, reread the passage about his usual breakfast, which consists of "chocolate cake, a bowl of cocoa-crispy cereal with milk (with chocolate syrup in the milk to make it more chocolaty), washed down by a big glass of chocolate milk and five or six chocolate cookies."
Now it is time for the students to brainstorm their favorite foods— not just a favorite food but the food that they could not live without; the food that borders on an obsession just like Henry's feeling for chocolate! You may choose to brainstorm as a whole class and write suggestions on the board or break into small groups. Make sure that the students stick to their favorite foods and do not digress to videos games, sports or television shows!
You’re Getting Warmer!
After the brainstorming session, the students should each choose their personal favorite food, write it on the top of their paper with the word "fever". Say, for example, the favorite food is French fries. The paper would be titled "French Fry Fever". This will be the rough draft.
Next discuss the ways the "the fever" manifested itself through Robert Smith's writing, for example:
1) The spots made popping sounds.
2) The spots smelled like cocoa.
Allow time now for students to think and work independently. Each student writes down two or three descriptive sentences about what happens to them as a result of their "fever". Depending on your time allotment, this part could be moved to the end of the lesson for the day.
Now You’re Cooking! Create Gross Menus!
So what kind of concoctions will your fever require? For "French Fry Fever" you may want a French fry sundae or some French fry soup, or a yummy French fry and ketchup milkshake! Let the grossness begin!
Prior to the lesson, collect some restaurant menus. Show students a few sample menus you have collected. Students, on the rough draft paper, should create 10 items for a menu. The menu should include some appetizers, entrées, desserts and drinks.
The final copy of this will be done on heavy tag-board or construction paper folded like a menu. The student should design a cover to colorfully illustrate their "fever". Inside the menu, their food selections should be neatly written and categorized (appetizer, entrée, dessert, or drink). The inside could include a few drawings of some of the menu items.
Now it is time to cool down the fever. Henry used vanilla to balance the chocolate. Students need to determine an antidote to their fever and discuss it.
Spread the Fever with Oral Presentations
For the culminating activity, each student does an oral presentation in front of the class. The rough draft can be used since it will not be turned in or have students transfer the information to index cards for the presentation.
The student should be prepared to:
1) Name the fever.
2) What two or three things happen when you have this fever?
3) Display the menu and give a sample of the items on the menu.
4) What is the cure for this fever?
It Makes Learning Fun
This lesson plan for the Chocolate Fever book hits several objectives across the curriculum. Students are developing creativity and imagination, artistic abilities, reading and writing skills. They are also learning to be comfortable giving a presentation in front of the class. Plus, students in grades three, four or five love to talk about things that are gross! Have you had your bowl of French fry and cinnamon cereal today?
Smith, Robert Kimmel. Chocolate Fever. Puffin,1972
Source: Author's own experience after twenty-five years of teaching.