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2 class periods of 45 minutes each
Students will describe, in detail, how to eat an Oreo cookie so that someone unfamiliar with the technique, will be able to follow their directions. The students will soon realize that they need to write detailed instructions for 'how to' concepts.
paper;pencils;Oreo cookies;various recipes that may have unclear directions (Recipes can be altered to fit into this category.); napkins
It is helpful to introduce some basic words of ordering, or sequencing within the 'how to' paragraph. For example such words as 'First, Next, Secondly, Last, Finally,' are helpful so the students do not repeat themselves when giving their directions.
Students will be able to understand the importance of correct, sequential order of events, and the clarity that needs to be present when writing.
Today you will be writing instructions on 'how to eat an Oreo cookie.' These instructions should be able to be followed by someone who has never even heard of an Oreo cookie. They should be able to eat the cookie exactly as you would. Group the students in small cooperative learning groups. Have the groups read the recipes with unclear directions that were gathered earlier. As a group, the students should decide what changes need to be made in the recipes to make the directions more clear. Have the students, as a group rewrite their recipe to make it more understandable and clear. After the groups have written the unclear recipe so that it is 'user friendly,' have the groups present to the class their final draft. The students should be able to defend why their group made the changes they made. Explain to the students that they will be writing a 'how to paragraph.' This paragraph's topic will be 'How to eat an Oreo cookie.' Remind the students that they need to make their directions 'user friendly' to the reader, and that the steps for eating the cookie should be clear and consise. Supply the students with some Oreo cookies, a napkin, paper, and pencil. Encourage them to eat one of their cookies first before they begin to write their paragraph. This will enable them to get their thoughts organized. Have the students eat the cookies and write their paragraphs trying to vary their choice of words by using some of the words that were introduced earlier in the lesson. Also, advise the students that they will want to save some of their cookies for the next step. After completing their paragraphs,the students can now exchange their paragraphs with another classmate to determine if the directions in their paragraph were understandable, and clear. The students should actually attempt to follow the directions in their classmates paragraph by eating the Oreo cookie as described. The classmates should take turns doing this, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses in the paragraphs with one another. After evaluating one another's paragraphs the students should then take the suggestions that were given to them and revise their original paragraph as needed. Tell the students their parapgraphs will be published and placed on a bulletin board, or you may choose to have them share with the class. Have the children learn more about the Oreo cookie by visiting the website www.Oreo.com
As an enrichment activity, the teacher may want to bring in several recipes that are unclear in their directions, and have the students critique and rewrite them so the directions are more easily read. As a class, make some of the recipes listed on the Oreo website. Additionally, the students may write a response paper on their findings after completing the Oreo cookie activity. The students could list whether their directions were inadequate or adequate, and list reasons why.
The 'How to eat an Oreo cookie' paragraph could be the final assessment based upon whether the directions and procedures were clear, fluent, and precise.