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James & the Giant Peach Activities

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Reading ''James and the Giant Peach''? These engaging, easily adaptable activities will increase comprehension and engagement among your students using materials you have handy.

Activities Connected to Reading

When reading novels with students, teachers typically incorporate activities. Why is this? For starters, incorporating fun activities can increase student involvement and excitement for reading. When children are allowed to get creative and hands-on, they seem to enjoy working more. Also, teachers can help students gain a deeper understanding of the content by applying what they've learned to everyday situations. After all, most things in our real lives don't fall into neat compartments like 'reading' or 'math.'

Finally, when students are given a chance to participate in learning activities related to a novel they're reading, it can mean they get to see how other students are understanding and processing the same story. Jenny may understand James' experiences one way, but after a conversation with Mick, she sees them in a whole new light. How cool is that?

Activities for James and the Giant Peach - Characters and Setting

Help students connect to and think about the multifaceted characters and setting of James and the Giant Peach with these exciting activities.

Mental Images Posters

Before reading the book, pull out descriptions of the characters. Distribute paper to students and read the descriptions one by one, asking students to label each page with the character's name. After reading the descriptions a few times, ask students to draw their own mental image of each character. Allow them to color with crayons or colored pencils.

Share the students' mental images, comparing and contrasting them. Reinforce the idea that there are no wrong answers here. Next, pull up examples of the many differing images used for these characters, such as the movie versions and the illustrations in the text. Compare and contrast again, discussing why these mental images are so similar or different. Finally, allow students to display their mental images in the classroom.

Character Traits Flip Books

Help students analyze unique characteristics with this fun flip-book activity. Before reading the novel, assign each student a character from the text. You should have several students with the same character. As students read, have them keep a journal of character traits in the form of actions, dialogue or thoughts, notating the pages where these events occur.

At the end of the book, have students sharing the same character work together to develop a flip book of traits. Each page should include a different character trait and an illustration of the character. If students can, teach them how to make an animated flip book. Share with the class when finished.

Travel Brochure

James and the gang go to some pretty exciting places! Have students examine the setting in the novel by recreating a travel brochure. Bring in some examples of travel brochures and look at them closely with students, noting their components. Then have students brainstorm all the places James went in the novel, listing similar traits.

Finally, have students transfer their notes to create a tri-fold travel brochure, complete with images and catchy phrases. Share and display in the classroom.

Activities for James and the Giant Peach - Plot and Culmination

Peachy Food

Roald Dahl sure uses a lot of descriptive imagery about peaches! Satisfy students' hunger and connect to math and science concepts by baking some sweet or savory peach treats. A few suggestions include:

  • Peach cobbler
  • Peach smoothies
  • Peach jelly or jam
  • Peach preserves

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