Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Willy Wonka Lesson Plans

Through our local theater school, our children have gained confidence, seen first-hand the value of hard work, mentored younger children, learned from gifted and generous teenaged role models, and had a lot of fun. Oh, and they’ve also done a lot of singing, dancing, and acting.

Thirteen-year-old Peter reads voraciously for pleasure, on topics ranging from Civil War history to video games to zombies. I once witnessed him march right up to a girl about his age with the line, “Do you like science? Would you like to hear my theories about how to combat cancer with genetic engineering?” Because we were at the zoo at the time, I admired his choice to lead with his interest in life science rather than his interest in subatomic physics. (Incidentally, the girl’s face lit up, she asked interested questions for several minutes, then she snatched my son’s hat from his head and made him chase her through the lemur room, which I took as a good sign.) A few months ago, the boy woke me up in the middle of the night to say he was ashamed that he didn’t know more Latin. Quite frankly, it’s not hard to believe that Peter will continue to manage to find ways to connect the outside world to his intellectual interests. Meanwhile, the crazy balance between controlled chaos during rehearsals and the discipline of performing for a paying audience has helped him to appreciate his peers’ diverse talents, as well as live a little more comfortably in his gangly teenage body.

Nine-year-old carolyn is a kinesthetic learner, which is I guess the modern, politically correct way of saying something like “Our little drama queen is a flibbertigibbety gell of emotions, energy, nerves, attitude, energy, and, once again, energy.” For Carolyn, sitting down to read a book is the opposite of exciting. We feel that the rigor of rehearsals, the discipline of waiting backstage quietly for her cue, and even the disappointment of not always getting the part she wanted (or not getting to be in the show at all) have all taught her valuable life lessons.

Once we realized just how much both our kids were benefitting from their theater experience, we started looking for ways to incorporate upcoming local shows into our daily homeschool routine. My wife got the idea of taking it a step further, and writing up our lesson plans in more detail, and sharing them online.

Here is our first educational package. We’d be happy to know what you think.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Willy Wonka Lesson Plans

Did you grow up hoping to catch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when it aired on TV, once a year? Are you a teacher or parent who has seen how much kids still love the story of kind, generous Charlie, and the magnificent, mysterious Mr. Wonka, in whatever form it takes?

The original 1964 book, two movies, and live stage productions offer seemingly endless opportunities for learning. No matter how your students or children have come to know the story, these pages will help you enrich their appreciation of Roald Dahl’s creations, and it just might help us all keep control over the little bit of Augustus, Violet, Veruca and Mike in all of us.

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