The Fatboy Chronicles Book Study

By Jeremy Rinkel on March 26, 2012
  • Grades: 6–8, 9–12

This is the second year I have read The Fatboy Chronicles with my freshman English class. The journal style of writing is very easy to follow, and the students can easily relate to at least one of the characters in the book. As I planned The Fatboy Chronicles unit, I created prereading, during reading, and postreading activities. Continue reading to see the activities I created for this unit, as well as other online resources for The Fatboy Chronicles.



Prereading Activities


Before reading The Fatboy Chronicles, I wanted my students to understand some basic vocabulary found in the book. I conducted a vocabulary jigsaw activity, in which each student was assigned a word to define. In addition to defining the word, students needed to draw a picture using or identifying the term.

Class Discussion

I also had a class discussion in which we created a list of issues or problems teenagers face. I had them focus their thoughts on issues from middle school and their short experience in high school. We discussed ways students should respond to particular situations. Some of the situations discussed were bullying, drug use, family problems, boy/girl relationships, cyberbullying, and peer pressure. This discussion is used for a postreading activity later.

During Reading Activities

Guided Reading Packet

As students read, they had to complete a Fatboy Chronicles reading packet, which included a place for student notes and a place to summarize the chapter. I found that my students did not enjoy writing the summaries because they wanted to continue reading the book. Some waited until the last minute to complete the packet, by which time they had forgotten what happened in the earlier chapters. I learned this lesson from The Hunger Games unit as well, but thought if I gave them the opportunity to just “bullet point” the main topics of each chapter, it would go better.

Nutrition and Exercise Journal

This year when teaching The Fatboy Chronicles, I tried something new. In addition to the reading and vocabulary, I wanted to incorporate an activity stressing the importance of nutrition and exercise. I created a three-week nutrition and exercise journal. The goal of this journal was to encourage and motivate my students to take their health more seriously. By recording what they ate, I hoped that students would begin making better nutritional choices. In addition, I hoped that each student would do some form of physical activity each day. I found that most students did very little, and their habits really didn’t change during the three-week exercise. I think it was most beneficial for me because I filled out a journal along with the students. I still think it is a good activity, but I was hoping that students would show some change in their habits.

Download my Nutrition and Exercise Journal.


Postreading Activities

Letter to Jimmy

After reading The Fatboy Chronicles, students needed to choose two journal entries written by Jimmy to respond to. In the letter, students wrote a letter to Jimmy or another character who is dealing with a particular issue. Students had to offer advice and include a personal example showing how Jimmy or the other characters could deal with the situation.

Download a copy of the "Letters to Jimmy" handout.

Class Discussion

After reading The Fatboy Chronicles, I had the students compile a list of issues or problems the characters face in the novel. The class then revisited the list of issues and problems our class came up with in the prereading activity. I have found that there are many similarities between the two lists.

Students were then divided into groups and critiqued whether the characters handled their issue or problem correctly based on the prereading discussion we'd had. This activity was very beneficial as it provided alternative ways to deal and cope with issues teenagers are facing today.

Online Fatboy Chronicles Resources

The Fatboy Chronicles Web site is a great starting point for blogs and resources about the bookThe Gale Cengage Learning Web site offers a free novel study guide. This guide provides various activities and exercises for the classroom. Reviews of The Fatboy Chronicles movie can be found at the IMDb Web site.


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