Lesson Plan

"You're Doing it All Wrong!"

This lesson will help primary and intermediate students to write a great "how to" essay.
Dane S.
Classroom teacher
Indian Ridge Elementary School
Aurora, CO
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My Grades 3
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science

Students will be able to...

  • Write an organized, informational piece on how to prepare their favorite food item
English Language Arts
writing clearly
Grades 2 - 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Broadcasting
  1. Show one of the following videos from professional chefs who demonstrate how to best make common food items (presented by CHOW):                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  2. Let the kids watch the video once without interruption.  Let them watch one more time, this time really paying attention to the key vocabulary and steps the chef is following.
  3. Have the students share with a shoulder partner some key ideas they saw/heard that made it easy to follow the chef's "how to."

2 Direct Instruction

BrainPOP Jr.
From $175

Show the following BrainPop Jr. video to the students about how-to essays.


Let the class take the quiz after the video if time permits.

3 Guided Practice

Activity: Presenting
  1. Open up a new Google Doc and project the blank document onto your board.
  2. Briefly tell the students about one of your favorite food items that you like to prepare.
  3. Demonstrate how to write a how-to essay to your students.  Make sure to share your thought process out loud as you're typing your essay.  Ask the students if they can spot any of your transition words.
  4. When done typing, have a student read your story out loud as everyone else listens and helps edit/improve.
  5. Have the students share with their shoulder partner all the pieces that go into a how-to essay.

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Creating
  1. As you release the students back to their seats, have them begin thinking about the favorite food item that they like to make.
    Once at their seats, the kids can share how to make their favorite item with their face partner and then their shoulder partner.
  2. Ask your students to open a new Google Doc, title it, and share the document with you.
  3. Give the students the next 30-40 minutes to plan with a Flow Thinking Map (or Flee Map if you prefer) and write their rough draft of their how-to.

5 Wrap-up

Activity: Assessing
  1. The following day, have the students come back to their essays to check for grammar and punctuation.  They should also check to make sure they used strong organization words and transitions.
  2. Have the students mix randomly and pick another person to share their written piece with.
  3. After letting the students share a couple times privately, have them come back together as a whole and ask if anyone would like to nominate a good example that they heard.
  4. Let kids nominate good examples they heard from other students.  Have the owners of the essays stand up and share with the class so that they can hear strong examples.