I like to do this lesson around the holidays because the likeliness of students seeing recipes is more likely this time of year. My hope is that the lesson will become more relevant.
I start by asking the question, "Why Use a Recipe?" I then let students do an activity I call, "Call On." This is where students answer the questions and then "call on" the next student to answer the same question. This way they keep the answers coming. Students often want to be chosen by their peers and I find that more students will participate when students are choosing rather then myself.
Some good kid-friendly recipes:
I then hand out the recipe they will be looking at and using. You can use any recipe. Our history book came with many that we can use and there are many easy kids recipes on line. I choose the kids recipes because the directions are more clear and understandable.
To make sure they begin to understand the layout of the recipe I play a little game with them similar to "I Spy." I ask them to point and find the ingredients. They immediately begin to talk to each other about how easy that was. I exclaim that I will step it up and make it harder. I start getting specific and try to make it harder and harder. I move through the recipe at first from top to bottom, when it appears they have the hang of it, I mix it up.
They at least now have the idea of where to look for certain pieces to the recipe. They know what some of the ingredients are, how much they need, servings, and some of the directions like oven temperature.
Now that the layout is familiar, we can move onto how to read it. I place the recipe under the document camera and have them work with me. To begin, we start by going over the servings and what that means. I have them annotate with me, and write next to the word servings - how many it will make. We go through the ingredients and make annotations to what they are and what any abbreviations stand for.
When we get to the directions, I explain that not all directions are written the same. Some recipes use synonyms for what you are supposed to do with the ingredients. When we go through the directions I point out to them which words might be the ones they use synonyms for. I have the students give me some synonyms for these words. I ask them to underline any special instructions that might be very important to remember.
We then go trough the whole recipe again and make sure we got everything. I ask them to do this and then we discuss if their is anything that catches their eye.
The last part of a good CLOSE reading is to ask text dependent questions. For a recipe this can be tricky. I chose to ask questions that converted some of the ingredients. I also chose any special instructions and I asked them to elaborate on why these instructions might be needed. Other good questions is to infer when this recipe might be used and how they know that.