Saturday, October 06, 2012

Cooperation Strawberry Shortcakes!

In my graduate school days, I met a fantastic friend (and future school counselor). Years ago, when we were fresh out of graduate school, we used to frequently share classroom guidance lesson ideas. I'm sharing one of my favorites that Sandi gave me many years ago!I altered it a bit to meet my needs, but the credit should go to her!

This lesson is to be used when talking about cooperation. The students will learn about the topic by reading and discussing the story: Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! by: Janet Stevens. Then, students will practice the skills they learned in small groups when they make their a pretend strawberry shortcake! I use this lesson with 2nd grade students.

What you need:

The number of items you will need will depend on the number of students in the classroom you will use this lesson in. You will be making large Ziploc packages containing each of the following items - one package per small group of students. Decide how many students you would like to have working in each small cooperation group. I usually try to have 4 students per group.

Paper Plates


Plastic Ware

Cotton Balls.... 

...turned into whipped cream!

Plastic, faux strawberries.
Search for these at your local craft store and take a coupon!

Large Sponges...

...cut in half (with an electric knife) to make the cakes!

Fabric scrap pieces for the place mats

Package! Put one set (or one piece) of the above items in a large Ziploc baggie. Inside the large baggie, put the strawberries in a smaller Ziploc and the cotton balls/whipped cream in another smaller Ziploc baggie.

Make 1 Demonstration Board

I store all the materials for this lesson in a large opaque Rubbermaid bin. I have done this so that when I arrive to the classroom, the students are unable to see what is inside the bin. I use this to my advantage....only students who are excellent listeners and participate in the lesson will be able to use what is inside the box (I play this up...pointing to the mysterious bin on the floor)!!

The Lesson
Read the book: Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! It is a spin on Little Red Hen. The animals in the story cooperate to "make the most wonderful, magnificent strawberry shortcake in the whole wide world!" Towards the end of the story, Iguana spills the strawberry shortcake, Pig gobbles it all down, and the animals begin to argue. Together, they resolve the conflict and make a whole slew of additional strawberry shortcakes!
After reading the book:
  • Divide the class up into small groups and give them instructions on how you want them to sit in a small circle on the floor.
  • Tell the students that we are going to work together - cooperate - to make pretend strawberry shortcakes just as the characters did in the story.                                
  • Show students the demonstration board (with the place mat, plate, napkin, and plastic ware). Explicitly explain to students that when they get their packages, they are to work together to create, on the floor, exactly what the demonstration board shows. Give rules for using your materials (no throwing, no squishing materials, handling everything with great care). After this task is complete, the students should stop and look for the next set of directions. Be the quality assurance manager -- looking around and checking their work:) The place setting task should look like this: 
  • Students will argue and have conflicts during the first task. Time for a teachable moment! Refer to the story when the animals were arguing and how that did not solve their problem. Highlight a group that was working well together and ask them to share with the class their successful techniques.
  • Move on to the next task. Find the part in the book where it tells how the strawberry shortcake was "built." "First a piece of cake, then some whipped cream, then some strawberries." Be specific. They will use, 1 piece of cake, 1/2 of the whipped cream, and 3 strawberries. Tell students this is their next cooperative task and you will be looking for better cooperation this time. Students are to assemble the first half of their strawberry shortcake on top of the plate (on the place setting they created in their first task). After they are done with this task, have each group look at you. Again, look around at the created products. The first layer will look like this:

  • Move on to the final task. The students will add the second layer to the strawberry shortcake. Be specific and referring to the pictures in the book. They are to gently add the next piece of cake on top, gently add the remaining whipped cream, and gently add the remaining 3 strawberries. Then they are to look at you and you will check their product once again. The final product will look like this:

  • Students then pretend to be eat their shortcake! Do not let them use the plastic ware....just their hands (must keep a close eye on those plastic ware pieces!).
  • Now it is time to clean up just as in the story. Have students cooperate to disassemble the entire project and GENTLY return each of the items to the large Ziploc baggie.
Happy Cooperating!


  1. Looks DELISH! What a fun way to serve up a lesson on cooperation. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by The Corner this morning.


  2. Love this! Thank you!!!

    - El. School Counselor in Honolulu, Hi