Standard Lesson

Get Cooking With Words! Creating a Recipe Using Procedural Writing

3 - 5
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Five 45-minute sessions
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Writing is often one of the more difficult skills for children to master. Consequently, teachers are interested in models of instruction that clearly define the components of good writing or the writing traits. Beginning writers also require instruction in producing specific genres to effectively communicate ideas and messages. To give beginning writers a comprehensive approach to writing, this lesson combines word choice—as a writing trait—with procedural writing—as a genre.

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

  • Teachers tend to place a great deal of emphasis on expressive writing; particularly the narrative genre of writing, rather than expository or informational writing genres.

  • In early elementary classrooms, children engage in narrative writing most often.

  • By teaching informational writing (e.g., procedural writing), educators can help to improve the quality of students' written works.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Piggie Pie! by Margie Palatini (Clarion, 1997)

  • Baloney by Jon Scieszka (Puffin, 2005)

  • Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher (Clarion, 2003)

  • The Wolf Who Cried Boy by Bob Hartman (Putnam Juvenile, 2002)

  • Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey (Blue Sky, 1994)

  • Henny-Penny by Jane Wattenberg (Scholastic, 2000)

  • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown (Aladdin, 1997)

  • Macbeth for Kids by Lois Burdett (Firefly, 1996)

  • Computers with Internet access

  • LCD projector

  • Chart paper and markers




1. Select and read children's literature that exemplifies the effective word choice writing trait. Word choice refers to the use of appropriate nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other parts of speech in a given context. This lesson uses all of the books listed in the Resources section as examples in the lesson. Two examples include:
  • In the book Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini, the author uses many effective adjectives (e.g., grouchy, grumpy, hungry, delicious, delightful, special, sweet, tasty, and yummy).

  • In the book Baloney by Jon Scieszka, a variety of verbs are used to enhance the story (e.g., misplaced, found, drove, grabbed, jumped, launch, used, pop open, turned, blasting, jammed, land, entertained, decided, crowned, forgot, disintegrate, plugging, and erased).
You will need to choose one book to read aloud to the class (see Session 1, Step 2) and to gather enough copies of the rest so that when you break the class into groups of three to five students, each group has copies of one of the books (see Session 2, Step 2).

2. Make several word choice charts with the title Word Choice and three columns labeled nouns, verbs, and adjectives (see Session 1, Step 3 and Session 4, Step 2).

3. Read Stone Soup by Marcia Brown and Macbeth for Kids by Lois Burdett to get a sense of the content of these stories. Examine how these stories can provide students with a framework for procedural writing. For example, the plot in Stone Soup takes the reader through the process the soldiers follow to make stone soup for the villagers. All of the ingredients needed to make this soup, as well as how the soup is made, are embedded in the storyline. Also, Macbeth for Kids features the creation of a "witches brew," including the ingredients and the steps for developing this wacky recipe.

4. Preview the website Disney FamilyFun: Cooking With Kids. If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, reserve one 45-minute session in your school's computer lab (see Session 4). If possible, arrange to use an LCD projector during this session. Bookmark this website on your classroom or lab computers.

5. Photocopy the Procedural Writing Graphic Organizer for students, and make an overhead copy of the Procedure and Word Choice Rubric.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the function and range of the contexts of procedural writing

  • Apply an appropriate procedural framework and order to a piece of writing

  • Formulate in writing explicit instructions for a sequence of steps needed to complete a task

  • Use appropriate nouns, verbs, adjectives, and linking words throughout a procedure

Session 1: An Introduction to Word Choice

1. Introduce the concept of word choice to students. Explain that this is the use of interesting, creative, and effective vocabulary or words in a piece of writing. Ask students to provide their idea of word choice by asking specific questions.
  • How would you describe word choice?

  • What are some things that we might see in a piece of writing that demonstrate good word choice?

  • How might you think about word choice when you are writing?
Prompt students to come up with key parts of speech, including nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

2. Tell students you are going to read the story Hello, Harvest Moon by Ralph Fletcher. Ask students to think about effective nouns, verbs, and adjectives that the author uses throughout the story. Tell students that they should be able to provide an explanation for their answers. Possible questions include:
  • Why did you like the noun/verb/adjective that the author used?

  • What made that noun/verb/adjective stand out for you?
3. Read the story to students and discuss the nouns, verbs, and adjectives that students choose as effective words used by the author. List these nouns, verbs, and adjectives and the book's title on the chart paper you have prepared.

4. Conclude the session by reading all of the students' choices listed on the chart paper as a whole group.

Session 2: Group Activity to Enhance Understanding of Word Choice

1. Review what word choice means and have students reiterate their understanding of this writing trait. Tell students that they will be working in small groups to review and develop a better understanding of good word choice in pieces of writing. You can determine the number of students in each group, which typically should range from three to five students. Students should be grouped heterogeneously to allow for a variety of reading and writing levels in each group.

2. Assign one of the following books to each group of students:
  • The Wolf Who Cried Boy by Bob Hartman

  • Piggie Pie! by Margie Palatini

  • Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey

  • Baloney by Jon Scieszka

  • Henny-Penny by Jane Wattenberg
Tell students that they will read the story as a group and select the nouns, verbs, and adjectives that they feel were used effectively, creatively, or interestingly by the author.

3. Tell students to select one group member to be the reader and another member to be the recorder, and that the rest of the group members will be the word finders. You could also have students share the roles of reader, recorder, and word finders.

4. After the story has been read, students should use the Word Choice handout to record their information and word choices (i.e., group members, book title, author, nouns, verbs, and adjectives).

5. At the end of the session, have groups share their findings with the whole class by providing some background on the book they read, and some of the words they chose to include on their list, along with a rationale for choosing those words.

Session 3: An Introduction to Procedural Writing

1. Remind students that writing involves choosing the best words to communicate ideas so that the reader will understand an author's message. Then explain that some writing involves telling the reader how to do something or how to make something. With that groundwork laid, you can move on to the concept of a procedure, or a procedural piece of writing. Examples of procedures are recipes, rules for games or sports, science experiments, and how-to guides.

2. Explain to students that there are several important components to a procedure; these include a purpose, materials or ingredients, steps, and a conclusion. List the elements on chart paper and make sure that students understand what they are.

3. Read the story Stone Soup by Marcia Brown to the class and ask them to listen for all of the components of a procedure throughout the story. After reading the story, ask students what type of procedure was used (making a recipe for stone soup).

4. Guide the students step by step through the process of writing a procedure (recipe) for making stone soup.

a. Ask students to identify the purpose or the goal the characters wished to achieve in the story; that is, to make stone soup.

b. Ask students to identify the ingredients or materials that were necessary in making stone soup.

c. Discuss with students the steps that were followed to make the soup. At this point, stress word choice as an extremely important aspect of writing a procedure. Tell students that they need to use a variety of appropriate verbs to describe the process or steps in a procedure. Have them brainstorm verbs directly linked to the making of stone soup (e.g., chop, stir, dump, cut, plop, pour, and heat). Also discuss the use of appropriate sequencing when creating a list of steps for a procedure. Prompt students to identify examples of words that indicate sequence or time, such as first, next, then, after, and finally.

d. Finally, ask students to brainstorm appropriate conclusions that could be stated at the closing of a procedural piece of writing (e.g., Bon appétit, Enjoy your soup, or I hope you like your meal).

5. Read over the stone soup recipe as a whole class, with the teacher and students reading aloud together, to solidify students' understanding of the connection between word choice and procedural writing.

Session 4: Practice With Procedural Writing Using the Internet

Note: If you do not have classroom computers with Internet access, this session should take place in your school's computer lab.

1. Set up the LCD projector and prepare all computers so that students can access Disney FamilyFun: Cooking With Kids.

2. Using the LCD projector, guide students through the various links on the website to view different recipes. Remind students to look for the components of a procedure when viewing the recipes, as well as effective word choice. Because this is a fun, kid- friendly website, students should be able to easily identify creative and interesting vocabulary in the recipes. Write the words on a piece of chart paper.

Session 5: Writing a Recipe Based on a Procedural Framework


Read an excerpt from Macbeth for Kids by Lois Burdett. Much like the recipes website, this excerpt demonstrates a different, more imaginative spin on writing a procedure:

The sisters were hidden in a cavern deep;
Around the cauldron, they did creep.
With their hands so crinkled with time,
They stirred a stinking, putrid slime.
"Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron, boil and bake.
Adder's fork and blind worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing.
A horrid smell it does secrete,
Cool it now and the spell's complete.
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.

2. Tell students that they are now going to develop their own recipes, either real or fictional, following the guidelines of procedural writing and employing appropriate word choice.

3. Place a copy of the Procedure and Word Choice Rubric on an overhead and read it with the class, highlighting each area being assessed in the students' recipes. While going over the rubric, also highlight key words within each of the areas being assessed, to ensure students understand the items you will be looking for in their recipes.

4. Provide students with the Procedural Writing Graphic Organizer to assist them in developing their ideas before they write their actual recipes.

5. Give students some "talk time" to brainstorm with their peers ideas for a recipe. During this think-pair-share time, students should try to orally express ideas about what they would like to make, the ingredients they might need, the basics of how they are going to create the recipe (steps), and what they think the outcome of the recipe will be (conclusion).

6. After sharing their ideas aloud, students should then write key words and phrases that they have discussed onto their graphic organizers to assist them in the initial drafting portion of their writing.

7. Students can then follow the remainder of the writing process, by writing a rough draft based on the graphic organizer, revising the draft, editing the draft, and publishing the piece.


  • Have students share their recipes with the rest of the class by reading them aloud.

  • Create an ice cream sundae with the class, using ice cream, bananas, chocolate syrup, cherries, and any other ingredients. After the students enjoy their own ice cream sundae, have them write a procedure outlining the making of an ice cream sundae.

  • Have students develop a game or sport and outline the purpose or goal of the game, the equipment or pieces needed, and the rules, including how to win. They can then play the game or sport with the rest of the class using only the list they developed as an explanation to test its effectiveness.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Record anecdotal notes throughout the group activities and students’ independent writing time at the end of the final session.

  • Assess students’ final procedural writing pieces using the Procedure and Word Choice Rubric.
Lauren Webb
K-12 Teacher
Hi, Love this lesson, can't access the session 4 link- with the zoo recipes???
Is this non-existant now?

K-12 Teacher
Wonderful! A free resource that is absolute quality. Thank you for sharing!
K-12 Teacher
Wonderful! A free resource that is absolute quality. Thank you for sharing!
Lauren Webb
K-12 Teacher
Hi, Love this lesson, can't access the session 4 link- with the zoo recipes???
Is this non-existant now?

K-12 Teacher
Wonderful! A free resource that is absolute quality. Thank you for sharing!
Lauren Webb
K-12 Teacher
Hi, Love this lesson, can't access the session 4 link- with the zoo recipes???
Is this non-existant now?


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