The Details Are in the Sandwich

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SWBAT improve the details in their writing by thinking about how they write down instructions for a person to follow.

Big Idea

A sandwich made out of peanut butter, jelly and details.

Lesson Opener

5 minutes

In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. For this lesson to be necessary, the students would have shown that they do not put enough details in their writing from the assessment I gave them to day before. The assessment was simply to ask them to write, "something they remember well."

Connect: I will say, "Yesterday we had an assessment on something you remembered well in which you were to show your best writing. Today I want you to focus on a specific topic. You will write about something we all know about; how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."*

It is very important that you know if children have peanut allergies. If so, you could use an alternative like a cheese sandwich or a plain jelly sandwich.

Teach: "I want you to take five minutes to write down how you would tell someone else how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (should be on loose leaf paper)." It is important you do not give them any directions or hints of where to start in order for them to be actively engaged.


*Shout out to my colleague Tenesha Fremstad for this idea! 

Active Engagement

10 minutes

Active Engagement: As students are writing, I will set out an economy size jar of peanut butter and an economy size jar of jelly with a plate, plastic knife and two loaves of bread (depending on the class size). After students write quietly and individually for five minutes I will collect their papers. I will say, “Who would like to volunteer to make a sandwich from their classmates’ directions?” I will ask for a volunteer and have them pull a paper from the pile. I will read the directions word for word while their classmate tries to make the sandwich. Inevitably students will not be able to make the sandwich because a student forgot to write “pick up the knife” or “spread the peanut butter.” I will repeat this process with different volunteers at least three times.

Closing of Active Engagement: Ask the class, “Why could no one make a sandwich?” Ensure that you ask every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard). You will then say, “Now you are going to re-write your directions using as much detail as possible. I want you to use I.A.D.D (post for students to see); inner thinking, action, dialogue and description in order to give your reader a clear picture in their minds. As you are writing, think about, “What should I.A.D.D?” The person next to you will then read your directions back to you while you try to make a sandwich.” I will then show my own piece of writing about how to make a sandwich using I.A.D.D.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

Independent Practice: Students will then re-write their instructions using I.A.D.D. As they are writing quietly and independently I will pass out a plate with bread, peanut butter, jelly and a plastic knife bread with small cups of peanut butter and jelly (or an alternate as I mentioned above for those who have peanut allergies).

Partner Work: After about 10 minutes of writing, students will give their directions to their partner. They will try to make a sandwich as their partner reads their directions back to them. This should take about 10 minutes. Even if the student did not have perfect directions, everyone should end up with a sandwich to eat (if they want one). This short video clip shows the process of how we got to the final product.


5 minutes

I believe that the end of the lesson should be an assessment of the days’ learning; therefore it should be independent work. I always end class with an “exit ticket” in which students write down the response to a question.

Closing: What did you learn about your writing today?