Popcorn Writing Prompt Non-Fiction

Kids love this popcorn writing prompt because they get to watch the pops and eat them up!  Anytime I teach a lesson on popcorn I bring my Stir Crazy West Bend Popcorn Popper.

popcorn kernels heating up, popcorn writing prompt popcorn kernels fully popped, popcorn writing prompt

It is a HUGE hit every time and motivates the kids to write.  Moreover, it rewards them for their finished work.  If you don’t know about this perfect popper, you can read its full post here!

Non-Fiction

For this popcorn writing prompt, the students write a non-fiction piece about popcorn.  Then they watch the pops and eat them up.

Common Core State Standards

NOTE:  This lesson can address the following Common Core State Standards:  CCSS.ELA.LITERACY.W.K.2, W.1.2, W.2.2, W.3.2, W.3.2.A, W.3.2.B, W.3.2.C, W.3.2.D, W.4.2, W.4.2.A, W.4.2.B, W.4.2.C, W.4.2.D, W.4.2.E, W.5.2, W.5.2.A, W.5.2.B, W.5.2.C, W.5.2.D and W.5.2.E

Popcorn as a Reward

The first time I taught this popcorn writing prompt lesson, I only had one short hour to work with.  One of my slowest writers became even slower, distracted by the popcorn that would be coming.

When he finally wrote he got very lazy, just copying notes that I had written on the board and supporting the facts with lists of words rather than elaborating with sentences.

I gave him the popcorn, but realized, I had missed the point with this student.  The point is to guide and help the students write a good piece.

The popcorn is their reward for hard work!

Teaching the Lesson

To get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post.

The lessons I write are designed to guide students step by step to complete a writing piece and to feel successful.  Students can do it.

Really try to hold them accountable and make sure they finish a quality piece before making the popcorn.

Bring Spices

Here’s one more thing before I go into the lesson.  A key fact about popcorn is that people can flavor it many different ways.  This idea may be relatively new for some students.

Mexico and China

When I lived in Mexico, they would put butter, chili powder and lime.  The popcorn in China was almost always sweet.  Here in America, popular toppings are cheddar and caramel.

American Options

So, to go along with this writing lesson I brought different flavors for the students to sprinkle onto their reward popcorn:  salt, sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, paprika, chili powder and garlic powder.

They LOVED this and one girl commented, “Oh I want to try this at home.  I never thought about sprinkling different flavors on my popcorn!”

If you’re going to do this lesson and bring popcorn, I do suggest bringing flavors too!

spices to add to popcorn, popcorn writing prompt

NOW FOR THE LESSON!

Again, to get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post.  The popcorn writing prompt 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

Non-Fiction—No “I” or “My”

Remind the students that a non-fiction piece consists of facts and information.  While tempted to, they won’t be able to include their opinion.  Tell them that they can’t write “I” or “My” in this essay.

Older Students

If you are teaching an older group, you can have them do a little research on popcorn so that they can incorporate more advanced facts and information.

Click on this popcorn website to find more information.

Tell the Story Line

Begin the lesson by telling the story line: “You’re going to write and explain facts about popcorn. This is a non-fiction piece so you will only use information and not your own opinion.  You won’t write I or my.”

Brainstorm Facts

Next, brainstorm facts about popcorn with the kids.  Ask them what they know about popcorn.  Write their responses on the board.  Here are some facts to guide them if they need it:

Popcorn can be:

-popped in several ways (stove, microwave, popcorn machine).

-flavored in many ways (butter, salt, sugar, garlic powder, cheese, caramel, chili powder,  lime etc.)

-sold in many places (cinema, sports events, concerts, fairs, carnivals etc.)

-a healthy snack (low calorie, low fat, low sugar, fiber, some protein)

-used to decorate (Christmas trees, Halloween faces etc.)

-inexpensive

Introduction Questions

Then, explain to the students that they are going to engage their readers by asking them questions about popcorn.  These questions will lead into the facts.

Have the students to think of questions that they can ask.  Here are some ideas my students came up with:

    1. When was the last time you ate popcorn?
    2. Where were you when you ate it?
    3. How do you like to flavor your popcorn?
    4. Did you know that…(write an interesting fact about popcorn)

Conclusion Questions

Lastly, brainstorm conclusion questions.  This question gives the reader something to think about when they’re done reading.  Here are some examples:

    1. When will you eat popcorn next?
    2. What new flavor will you try?
    3. Does this make you hungry for popcorn?

Show the 5 Sections

Introduction

1st Fact

2nd Fact

3rd Fact

Conclusion

As mentioned in my writing prompts introduction:  K-1st Graders are encouraged to write 1 sentence for each section, 2nd Graders 2 sentences, 3rd Graders 3 sentences and so on.

NOW TO WRITE!

Guide the students through each step.  They are free to use their own words.

  1. First, write questions to grab the readers attention.
  2. State the first fact.  Explain it with examples.
  3. Next, write fact number 2 and explain it with examples.
  4. Write the 3rd fact and explain it with examples.
  5. Lastly, write a conclusion.  Include questions for the reader to take with them.

Print the Lesson

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

EASY ART ACCENTS

As soon as students are finished they can add one of these popcorn art accents to the border or their paper.

popcorn writing prompt

GAMES TO PLAY!

Because we spent the rest of the time eating popcorn, we didn’t have time to play games.  But if I were to play games following this lesson, they would be:

Correct the Paragraph

students correcting grammar, spelling and punctuation in a paragraph

Silly Sentences

students writing silly sentences

Answer. Question-Speaking Version.

the answer to a question, "Fine, thanks."