One of my all time favorite Thanksgiving activities to do with my students is a sequence writing lesson entitled, 'Recipe for Cooking the Perfect Turkey'.
I begin the lesson by telling the students that they are going to instruct me on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (you can use sun butter if you have any peanut allergies in your class). In front of me, I lay out peanut butter, jelly, two pieces of bread and a knife. I ask the kids, "How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?" I make the sandwich exactly the way that students tell me to. In the funniest cases, the students do not use sequence words, forget to tell you to use a knife to put on the peanut butter or jelly, do not tell you to spread the peanut butter or jelly, and do not tell you to put the peanut butter and jelly facing each other on the inside of the sandwich. Assuming the students have left out any or all of those important details I use my hand to put a blob of un-spread peanut butter and jelly on bread. I also have put the peanut butter and jelly on the outside of the sandwich rather than the inside. This disaster of a sandwich is usually met with roars of laughter.
Then I show the students a set of directions that include sequence words and that specifically explain how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We discuss the importance of sequence words and the need to be very detailed and specific when giving or writing instructions.
Next I tell the students they will be writing instructions explaining, “How to cook a turkey...” I remind them to use sequence words and to be very specific. Some students may need prompts, so I will ask them: Where do you get a turkey? Do you put anything on the turkey? What temperature should the oven be set at? How long does the turkey need to cook?
First get a turkey at the store with no feathers. Second put it on a rack and put seasons on it. Then turn the oven to 100 degrees. Next cook the turkey for an hour. Finally use a plunger-like thing to squirt it with gravy.