Nov 18, 2014

Close Reading with Oreos {by Primary Polka Dots}

What a fun day! My team and I heard about this awesome OREO cookie lesson from the third grade teachers at our school and of course, since it involved OREOs, we had to try it!! It was just one of those awesome lessons, better than I thought it would be. It made my whole day! (Even if the kids had been eating Oreos!)

For the full lesson, see Lindsay's store at Primary Polka Dots for her Close Reading lessons.

Update: She now has the Oreo lesson available in her store! Click here!

Here is how it went in my room today!!!

First, I passed out one cookie to each student. I did it in kind of a rushed way (on purpose) and told them to eat it AS SOON AS THEY GET IT. ("What!? Eat it before everyone else has one? This is weird...." All real comments.) By the time I was done passing them out, a few kids had finished their cookies. My plan was working perfectly. I encouraged a few kids to "Hurry, finish it up, we have to move on."

After some weird looks from the kids (Did I mention this was at 9:45 in the morning?) I had them all take out a Post-It note and a pencil. I asked them to write down what they just ate. ("Uh...okay...Mrs. Stuckey is losing it..." again, real comments.) A lot of the kids looked at me like I was asking a trick question, they were trying to write a complete sentence and use capitals and periods just to tell me they ate an Oreo. It was actually comical. Then I asked them to share with me what they ate, here were the responses:

Obviously, their responses were Oreo cookie, oreo, and one kid actually said Vanilla Wafer (gotta love it!) I didn't record that on the anchor chart because she was so embarrassed that she wrote that. But later, her mistake would be perfect for teaching the lesson.

Next, I passed out ANOTHER Oreo (could it be true!?), but I told them this time they could NOT eat the Oreo! I had them come down to the carpet with their Oreo cookie and I explained to them what they were going to do next.

  • Look at the cookie carefully.
  • Smell the cookie.
  • Think about the cookie.
  • Eat the cookie VERY slowly with your eyes closed, thinking about every bite you take.
  • Think about the texture and the taste of the cookie while you are eating.

What happened next was quite comical because they were literally SAVORING these cookies. I took a few pictures of them eating them with their eyes closed and I SO wish I could share them with you, but I won't.

When they finished, we did our "second read" of the Oreo. I had the categories in red written on the anchor chart (while they were eating). I asked them to describe all of the parts listed. They couldn't stop talking! Look at how much they had to say after their "second read" of the Oreo!

The lesson that we all learned: It's okay to read through something fast the first time (like their first Oreo cookie), but if you do, you can only recall minimal information about it. If you reread it a second time and THINK while you are reading, you can recall a lot more! In fact, it might be smarter to do that the FIRST time!

My little lady that said she ate a Vanilla Wafer...perfect opportunity for my lesson! Sometimes we read through something so fast and with so little thinking that we literally DO NOT KNOW what we read! Right? She ate an Oreo and when she was done, had no idea what she had just eaten...just like our reading sometimes! 

They loved it! I loved it! They were excited about Oreos in the morning and asking if we could please do more reading lessons like this one! Ha. I was excited to show them a concrete example of how to Close Read! The rest of the day, we referred to our reading as our "first Oreo" or a "second Oreo." For example: Wait a minute, I didn't understand that. Let me REREAD and think about my Oreo (the text) one more time.

Try it tomorrow! You will love it too! So glad that this activity was introduced to me by some of the other amazing teachers at my school and I just couldn't wait to share it with you all!

Update: I've recently discovered that Lindsay, over at Primary Polka Dots originally had this great Oreo idea and has the full lesson included in her Close Reading Passage packets. It's amazing how such a great idea can be spread far and wide: across schools, school districts, and across the country. In the few short months since I have posted this blog post about using Oreos in my classroom to teach close reading, I have had such an overwhelming response. Thank you Lindsay for the great idea! You are touching the lives of children far and wide, without even realizing it!! For Lindsay's Cookie Close Reading Lesson, click here