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Teaching Guide

Teaching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

A classroom of pure imagination.


Gene Wilder. Johnny Depp. You.

What do these three people have in common? Well, besides a fabulous taste in fashion (you're welcome), they're all people who teach others about Willy Wonka's fabulous chocolate factory.

You don't have the benefit of Oompa Loompas doing all the work for you, but you have something even better: this teaching guide.

In this guide you will find

  • many peeks into Roald Dahl's life and how his experiences informed the book.
  • activities that don't involve turning into a giant blueberry (but do ask students to examine the bad habits of the book's characters).
  • reading quizzes to check if students know the difference between Prince Pondicherry and Professor Foulbody.

This teaching guide is your golden ticket to success.

What's Inside Shmoop's Literature Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring literature to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 13-18 Common Core-aligned activities to complete in class with your students, including detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes for every chapter, act, or part of the text.
  • Resources to help make the book feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop’s teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the text and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

Objective: Oompa Loompa, doopity-do… we've got another puzzle for you! 

Creepiness aside, we love us some Oompa Loompa songs. And for this activity, students will create a song, rhyme, or chant focusing on a sixth rotten little character and tell the story of their demise in the chocolate factory. You can do this activity alongside the 'Bad Habit' activity, or it can be a standalone—your call.

Allow one to two class periods for creating and one for presentation.

Materials Needed: Paper, pencil, computer with Internet, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory text, any costumes desired for presentation; and a thesaurus might help with rhyming

Step 1: Your students have read the Oompa Loompas' songs, but let's give them a chance to listen, too. Hopefully the audio component will help them feel more comfortable in creating a song, rap, rhyme, or chant for our character. Here are a couple examples to show them:

Step 2: How are the songs different between the book and the movie? Which do your students like more? Take a few minutes to discuss. A few things to highlight in your discussion:

Step 3: Divide students into groups of four or five, and provide them with the student instructions.

Optional: Think about setting up a video to record student presentations and play it later in the year on a party day.

Instructions for Your Students

You've seen the 'bad little children' come to life, but is there one lurking in your imagination? How about creating your own character? And hey, no one knows how to describe a character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory better than the Oompa Loompas, right? So fancy yourself an Oompa Loompa and let's get started.

Step 1: In your group, let your imagination run wild as you work to decide your character's description and the scene of the accident that leads to your character being eliminated from the chocolate factory.

In order to help you brainstorm, review some of the songs (slash poems, chants, or raps) of the Oompa Loompas that are located in the text and then watch a few versions come to life in the movie:

Step 2: You may choose to write a rhyme, a rap, a chant, or a song about your character. Once your group has decided and voted on which type of presentation you want to do, begin making notes with great descriptive words for your character. Also, remember you are telling a story, so you want to include action and events in your presentation. Brainstorm away.

Step 3: Now think about how you can turn those ideas into a song. Remember to use figurative language and make it rhyme as much as possible. It's a song, after all.

Practice reading it to each other to see how it sounds. You may want to sing it, or rap it and clap, or tap to get the rhythm as you go along. Whatever works.

Step 4: Revise and edit your presentation as a group and discuss how you will present it to the class. Don't leave a brother (or sister) out! Make sure everyone has a part. If you are rapping, make sure you have the background sounds and claps from your group to help you keep the beat—and of course, swaying back and forth is a must.

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Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary    Themes    Quotes    Characters    Analysis    Questions    Quizzes    Flashcards    Movie    Best of the Web    Write Essay    
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