Chopsticks Vs. Forks and Knives

This is a non-fiction writing piece comparing the use of chopsticks vs. a fork and knife.

I lived in China for 5 years, and had no idea how to use chopsticks when I moved there.  I remember my hand cramping the first year.  Then, over the course of time, I figured out how to use them.  There wasn’t a specific day when I concretely learned.  I just had to use them and each week it got a little easier and I could eat a little faster until I was using them without thinking about it.

Here in the USA, I’ve found chopsticks to be a big hit when I bring them to a writing lesson!

(If you haven’t already, you might enjoy reading the Journal Prompt-Hot Tamales where the kids use chopsticks to eat the hot cinnamon candy and then write about it!  It’s still one of my favorite lessons to date!)

Back to chopsticks, forks and knives.

To get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post.  The lesson outlined below (and all other prompts posted) will make more sense and be easier to follow and use.  Here’s the lined paper I use for Grades K-2 and Grades 2-7

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Now for the lesson!

  1. Tell the story line: “You’re going to compare the use of chopsticks and a fork and knife using facts. This is a non-fiction piece so we will only use information and not our own opinion.”
  2. Give each student a set of wooden chopsticks* and a plastic fork and knife to hold and handle.
  3. Using a T-Chart on the board, brainstorm information about chopsticks versus forks and knives.

CHOPSTICKS

Typically used in Asia-China, Japan, Korea

Usually wood or plastic

Occasionally metal

2 sticks for pinching food

Meat is cut before cooking

Meat is served in small pieces

Chopsticks pick up small pieces

FORKS and KNIVES

Typically used in North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Australia

Usually made of metal, not wood

Plastic for convenience

Handle with 4 prongs for poking

Handle with long one-sided blade for cutting

Meat is cut after cooking

Meat is served in large pieces

Forks and knives cut the large pieces

The side of a fork can be used to cut soft foods like eggs or cake

BOTH can be used for twirling noodles

  1. Write the words USE, USED and COMMONLY on the board. These are words that are often misspelled.  Encourage the writers to use at least one, if not all of these words in their writing.

Now to write!

Show the following 5 sections on the whiteboard.  Then, guide the students through each step.  They are free to use their own words.

  1. Write an introductory statement using 1-2 sentences
  2. Write all about chopsticks.
  3. Write all about forks.
  4. Write how the two are similar.
  5. Write a concluding statement.

Here’s the full lesson for you to print out and use.

For the art accent, students can simply glue their chopsticks, plastic fork and knife to the border.

GAMES that we played following this lesson:

Correct the Paragraph

Spelling/Vocabulary-4-11 Words (Use the words USE and USED if your students have a hard time spelling these words correctly)

Facts and Opinions-Speaking Version