Happy Kids Love Popcorn After Writing 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.  So, before I give you the popcorn writing lesson, let me tell you about this super easy and popular popper!

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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.  My husband found this popper at a shop four years ago.  We have used it COUNTLESS TIMES.  Because it’s so easy to use, I started taking it to writing camps and workshops.

Popcorn Writing Prompts

Particularly, I bring it when I conduct the Popping President writing prompt and the non-fiction writing prompt below. .

ingredients to make popcorn

It’s so simple.  3 Tablespoons of canola oil, 1 cup of kernels.

oil in the popper a cup of popcorn kernels kernels in the popper

Plug it in and watch it pop!

Plain, Simple Ingredients

We appreciate the fact that we’re using plain, simple ingredients.  No chemicals.  No microwaves.  Just a sprinkle of salt.  During the snack break the campers gobble it up.  I let them have as many servings as they want.  I keep serving until we run out.  Then, if they want more, I we pop more!  At home, I plug it in at a ground level outlet and set the popper on the floor.  We sit around it like a camp fire, myself and my little ones.

small children watching the pops

It get’s hot!

While it’s popping, everyone knows to stay clear because it gets hot.  As soon as the pops stop, I tip the popper upside down.  The dome lid serves as a bowl.

a bowl overflowing with popcorn

I serve the children their individual bowls of popcorn, sprinkle a little salt, and sit right there on the floor while we eat and chat!  A favorite family memory of mine was the day my husband walked in the door as we began eating.  He grabbed a bowl and sat right there with us!  Other times, we take our bowls to the couch for a family movie.   This popper has proven to be a never fail hit among kids (and adults)!

Now let’s get to writing non-fiction about popcorn!

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


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.)


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


1st Fact

2nd Fact

3rd Fact


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.


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.


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

popcorn writing prompt


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."