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"How to..." Writing Project

Submitted by: Jennifer Smith
From: West Valley City, Utah
Date Submitted: May 16, 2001

Kids do their best writing when they write about things they know a lot about. This project is designed for just purpose. I introduce it by having students in small groups write instructions for how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I am their audience, an alien from Mars that has never heard of a sandwich before (a costume helps). This encourages details. As each group reads their instructions, I follow them EXACTLY. They get to eat the finished product, if there is one...sometimes forget details such as how to get the lid off of the peanut butter jar. Amazingly each group starts revising and getting more specific as their turn approaches. After this introduction, students are asked to choose their own "how to..." project to describe. They can tell about a talent such as how to draw a dog or something basic or silly such as how to brush your teeth. Students are given the following guidelines:
1. Your paper must describe how to do something.
2. Instructions must include at least five steps.
3. Each step should be written in its own paragraph with examples and details.
4. Be prepared to share the final product with the class. You may use props.


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