Teaching Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Teaching Tales of a Fourth Grade NothingTales of a Fourth Grade Nothing will have your students rolling with laughter. The story tells about Peter Hatcher who lives close to Central Park in New York City with his parents and younger brother Fudge. The novel centers around the events that take place during Peter’s fourth grade year. Most of Peter’s problems are due to the misbehavior of Peter’s 2-3 year old brother. Chapters in the novel are individual episodes of Peter’s life.

Summaries of the First Chapters

Peter goes to his best friend’s birthday party and wins a small turtle by guessing the closest number of jelly beans in the jar. Peter is super excited with his new pet and names the turtle Dribble.

Peter’s father works for an agency that makes commercials. One of his important clients, the maker of Juicy-O, comes to New York City to meet with Mr. Hatcher. Dad decides Mr. and Mrs. Yarby must stay at their apartment. The visit begins wonderfully with Mrs. Yarby making a fuss over Fudge. Problems arise when Mrs. Yarby gives Peter a picture dictionary like the one the family already owns. Fudge shows Mrs. Yarby the copy of the book embarrassing Peter. The visit then goes from bad to worse with Fudge’s mischief including covering Mr. Yarby’s suitcase with green stamps. Needless to say, Mr. Hatcher loses the Juicy-O account.

Fudge decides he is not going to eat. The family does everything to encourage him. Peter stands on his head making Fudge laugh. When his mouth is open, Mom sticks in a little food. After several doctor visits, Mom determines nothing is wrong with Fudge; he is just being mischievous. Eventually Fudge gets under the table and pretends to be a dog eating a bite or two off a plate. Dad finally decides enough is enough. To discipline Fudge he places Fudge in the bathtub and pours the cereal Fudge asked for but refuses to eat over his head. Fudge’s new phrase becomes ‘Eat it or wear it.’

There is plenty more after this.

Activities for
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Free Book Unit Samples

Grab you free novel study samples including vocabulary, comprehension questions, and constructed response writing prompt here.

Websites with Teaching Ideas for Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

  • This 7 page pdf from Penguin contains activities correlated with Common Core State Standards. Ideas include everything from crafts such as making sock puppets to playing games such as Pictionary. This lesson guide contains great ideas to add to your unit.
  • Check out the Judy Blume’s website. Learn what Judy has to say about writing The Fudge Books.

Learn about Pet Turtles

Food Activities

Make Juicy-O Smoothies

Peter’s dad helps Mr. Yarby sell his Juicy-O fruit drink. The story states that Juicy-O tastes like a combination of oranges, pineapples, grapefruits, pears, and bananas. Make classroom smoothies with a combination of some of these fruits. 

Divide students into groups of 4. Give the group the following basic recipe. Students can be creative by adding additional fresh fruit to make a delicious drink. 

  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  • a small banana
  • 1 cup fruit juice

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Additional Activities to Do with Juicy-O

Turn this smoothie making activity into a health/science lesson by having each group figure out the vitamins, calories, sugar content, etc. for each serving of the drink they mixed.

Have students create a storyboard for a commercial to advertise their drink or write jingles for marketing the product they create.

Make Some Classroom Fudge

My students love classroom food activities. This one is super easy with little mess. It is also extremely delicious! 

INGREDIENTS

    • 4 cups powdered sugar
    • 4 ounces of softened cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup softened butter
    • 1/2 cup cocoa
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • Optional mix-ins: chopped nuts, candies, etc.

Place all ingredients in a resealable gallon-sized zip top bag. [You can easily divide the ingredients in quarters and place the smaller amount in quart-sized bags.] Place that bag in a second bag. Seal bags. Use your hands to mix the ingredients all together. With the ball of fudge still in the bag, flatten out with your hand and then remove and cut into squares.

New York City

Peter’s teacher divided students up into groups to create projects. Peter’s team created a project about transportation. What other projects could students do about New York City?Have students brainstorm a list. If time allows have students create a project on one of the topics. If class time doesn’t allow for this, have students select one New York City landmark to write a description.

Example

Stop for a concert at Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell. Enjoy a game of Frisbee, flying a kite, or a picnic at Sheep Meadow, a 15 acre grassy field. Think of the Beatle John Lennon as you cross Strawberry Fields. Ride one of the 57 magnificent horses on the Carousel. Observe the panoramic views of Central Park from the Belvedere Castle. See polar bears and seals at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo and the Tisch Children’s Zoo. Finally put on your ice skates for a spin around the Wollman Rink. Central Park offers adventures for everyone.

  • Landmarks
    • Empire State Building
    • Statue of Liberty
    • Chrysler Building
    • Grand Central Station
    • Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • Bronx Zoo
    • Brooklyn Bridge
    • Yankee Stadium 
    • Rockefeller Center
    • Ellis Island
    • American Museum of Natural History
    • Times Square

Siblings

The main conflict in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the way Fudge interrupts Peter’s life. Brainstorm books that contain siblings that have conflicts with one another. Compare a different sibling pair to Peter and Fudge’s relationship.

Examples 

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie)
  • The War that Save my Life (Ada and Jamie Smith)
  • From the Mixed-Up File of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Claudia and Jamie Kincaid)
  • The Lemonade War (Jessi and Evan Treski)

Free Book Unit Samples

Grab you free novel study samples including vocabulary, comprehension questions, and constructed response writing prompt here.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing teaching ideas. Grab a free vocabulary, comprehension questions, and constructed writing prompts which is great for upper elementary including 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing t teaching ideas. Grab a free vocabulary, comprehension questions, and constructed writing prompts which is great for upper elementary including 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing t teaching ideas. Grab a free vocabulary, comprehension questions, and constructed writing prompts which is great for upper elementary including 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing t teaching ideas. Grab a free vocabulary, comprehension questions, and constructed writing prompts which is great for upper elementary including 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

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