A Mother’s Day Recipe
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Looking for a way to tie in some of your great poetry studies from last month? How about Mother’s Day? Wrap up all things poetry with a Mother’s Day recipe poem for that special mom in your students' lives.
Have your students research and study different types of recipes, from food to playdough and more, so they can get a handle on what it takes to be a recipe writer. Once they are completely familiar with recipes, they can take what they have learned (format, word choice, and purpose), and mix it all up to create a one-of-a-kind recipe for Mom.
Read on for the step-by-step process I use with my class when creating recipe poems:
Step 1: Introduction
Bring in all sorts of recipes for students to view. I show a variety of recipes and invite them to bring in some of their own. Ask the class to write down or share out loud what they notice. Chart this information on chart paper for students to refer back to when creating their poems. Some guiding questions might be:
What do you notice about the format of the recipe?
What information comes first?
What information comes last?
How is the information shared with you?
What is the purpose of writing a recipe?
Step 2: Word Choice
We spend some time discussing the word choice and sentence structure of recipes. Again, we start with an inquiry. I ask, “What do you notice about the words used in your recipe example?" Students go back to their recipes and share their findings with the class. This information is also charted on our class findings.
We make a list of recipe verbs because many recipes use a variety of verbs as commands. For example: “Mix 3 cups of flour," or "Sprinkle with salt and pepper.” As students continue exploring recipes, I ask them to write down the verbs that they come across. These verbs become a great word bank for students to use when writing their own recipes.
We also talk about how recipes are written in numerical order. Many of the recipes we looked at were written in step order. This observation was noted on our class findings chart paper. One student shared that instead of having a beginning, middle, and end, recipes have a three-part process of introduction to the product, ingredients, and then procedure.
There will be a variety of findings that your students will catch. Remember to write these down on the chart paper for the class to use as a guide when writing their own recipe poems.
Step 3: Brainstorm and Write
Once my students have researched how to create a recipe, it becomes their turn. We start with a brainstorming exercise where I ask the class to think about all the characteristics found in moms. From there, I ask them to use fractions (Yes! Math review!) to create amounts of each characteristic. I usually ask, “If you had to measure the amount of each trait you listed for your mom, how much would you need?”
From there, students create their ingredients list. Once that is finished, I let them write creatively. I have a form for those who want a structure that you can download here. For those who don’t, I just let them create. I keep samples and visuals (class notes on chart paper) out for students to refer back to.
I ask my students to wait until the end to create the introduction to their poem. This is a short description of what it is they plan to make. While they have the option to write this first, I find it is easier for them to describe their recipe and connect their ideas after they get them down on paper.
Step 4: Revise, Title, Publish
After rough drafts are completed, I have students partner up and share their poems. Partners are advised to critique with purpose. This means that any feedback given comes with a suggestion or idea to help improve their partner's work.
Students make revisions to their poems and are then asked to create a title. When titling our work, we abide by the “Rule of three C’s.” This is a quick reminder that I learned at the San Marcos Writing Project. A title can be Common, (A Recipe for Mom), Catchy (Mom’s Marvelous Masterpiece), or Creative (Never-ending Love).
I have the class rewrite their poems as nicely as possible. They can choose which type of paper they want to use. They can also choose to type it, or write it out by hand. (I personally like hand-written. It is such a neat thing to go back and see what your child’s writing once looked like.)
For the finishing touch, I take pictures of each student wearing a chef’s hat and apron while holding a mixing bowl. I’ve used the picture differently every time I’ve introduced this recipe poem activity. One year I put the picture at the top of the recipe. Another year I made a card and the picture was on the front. This year I noticed a Scholastic post about making a book for Mother’s Day complete with an "About the Author" page. I thought about adding something like that to the back of the recipe with the picture in the middle. The sky’s the limit with ways you can incorporate their cute little faces into the final product.
We wrap up their finished work with tissue paper and send it home as a gift for the kids to give.
As a mother, I feel like what I want captured in a gift are the words my child might say at any given age and what they look like. Creating a recipe poem allows students a chance to write about how special their mom is and the process it could take to create her.
What other fantastic ideas do you use to celebrate Mother’s Day? I’d love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading.