I happened to remember a Thanksgiving writing piece that I was looking at a few years ago that involved kids giving instructions on how to bake a turkey. It was probably one of the funniest things I have ever read ("Bake the turkey at 90 degrees for one hour." Mmmmmm, who wants a fresh slice of salmonella?), but it gave me a cool idea and a reason to talk about cookies!
I began this lesson by telling the kids I want them to tell me how to make the perfect cookie. We very quickly realize that the "perfect cookie" elicits very different images in the minds of each of us. Some kids like sugar cookies, some like snickerdoodles, white chocolate macadamia, and so on. Ultimately, we go very traditional, and I ask the kids to tell me what I need to do to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Some students give me ingredients while others tell me to use a mix or premade cookie dough. We go as far to also cover the process. By this point, there are at least a handful of students who are making the connection that, like cookies, each of us is a different combination of "ingredients," but we're all good cookies. :-)
After passing out the Recipe of Me worksheet, I tell the students to imagine themselves as a cookie (This seems to be the ultimate hook). I have students choose four character traits that describe them and write them in next to the ingredient measurements. With the additional three lines, I allow them to add in special ingredients that make them unique (2 c. of dancing, 1 Tablespoon of video games, etc.). I knew I was taking a big chance of the kids thinking this lesson was positively corny, but the kids have LOVED it! I have had many kids go above and beyond, adding in additional character ingredients and even draw themselves as a cookie. I particularly enjoy seeing what the kids choose to add. I have found out a lot of great information about kids and the things that make them tick. A very fun lesson for all!