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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith

Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith was a hit with my students last year, so I decided to use the book again this year. I have been using the Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention (2nd grade blue system) and have now reached the end of the kit with my 3rd grade reading intervention group. They have made incredible strides, but unfortunately, my school doesn't have the next kit (3rd grade red system) so I had to find something else to use to ensure they continue to get closer to reading on-level.

There is a high percentage of ELL students at my school so I have to spend a lot of time launching any new unit to allow students adequate time to build background knowledge, connect to previous learning and focus on learning new vocabulary. Chocolate Fever was the perfect selection because the students were immediately interested in the story and were immediately engaged.

To introduce the new vocabulary words, I had the students cut out the first page of six vocabulary flashcards. Next, with a partner the students "turned and talked" to discuss what they think each word means from what they already know or from the picture clue on each card. Then, the students used a dictionary to write the definition on the back of each card. It was great listening in on the students and hearing them say, "I was right!" or "I've never heard of that word." Last, to wrap up the lesson, we played vocabulary charades. The next set of vocabulary words don't appear until after chapter 4 so the students began reading the first few chapters before I repeated the same process for the next set of words.

After launching the book, I did a read aloud for the just the first chapter. Afterwards, I explained to the students that they would be responsible for reading the rest of the chapters independently. I use a short comprehension worksheet to check if they read each of the assigned chapters. If they read the chapter carefully, they should be able to get majority of the questions correct. I then took a few minutes to model how to complete the first comprehension worksheet. When students come back the next day after reading the assigned chapter, they work on their comprehension worksheet. Here is an example of a comprehension worksheet:

Since students work at different paces, the "fast and right" students use the extra time to work on the vocabulary word find and the vocabulary crossword puzzle.

I also gave them a fun activity to work on after I read the first chapter. They had to draw pictures of items they might find in Henry's pantry. Most of the students didn't finish with the time I gave them in class, so this was another great "fast and right" activity in addition to the word find and the crossword puzzle.

In addition to reading the chapter as an assignment, I gave the students one other task to complete as they are reading at home. It's very important for students to read the vocabulary words in the context of the story so I gave each student Post-it Flags and instructed them to "highlight" each vocabulary word as they read.

The students were assigned to read chapter 5 and 6 over the weekend. I'm anticipating a very lively discussion on Monday!

Thanks to the Literacy Maven for hosting the linky!


  1. Ms. Mai, it looks like you have been busy! This book unit looks awesome! I love how you have set up the management of your groups with the "fast and right" activities and read/respond routine. Well done! Hope to see you soon!

    Miss Woodward's Class

    1. Thanks so much Miss Woodward! The kids are borderline obsessed with this book. I had one student out sick for three days and when he came back he told me that he wasn't behind because someone in the group told him what chapters to read at home. So studious for a third grader! Hope to see you soon too!