Sunday, August 2, 2015

Classroom Expectations Cookie Lab

Cookie Lab to Explain Classroom Expectations: An interactive back-to-school activity to explain classroom expectations during the first few days of school!
Most teachers have high expectations for their students.  But, how can you convey these expectations in a fun and memorable way?  I have a secret recipe for teaching classroom expectations that makes a lasting impression on students.

This Back-to-School Classroom Expectations Cookie Lab activity allows the teacher to discuss three important aspects:
1.) Effort
2.) Condition of the Work
3.) Quality of the Work

You will need two sandwich cookies per student, one piece of paper towel per student, and a lot of theatrics on your part!  The more dramatic you can be, then the better chance you have of students remembering your expectations throughout the school year.

Cookie Lab to Explain Classroom Expectations: An interactive back-to-school activity to explain classroom expectations during the first few days of school!
You will want students to think this is a very serious lab.  They will need to follow instructions very carefully.  The first part has the student picking up the cookie - one hand on the top and the other hand on the bottom part - and then twisting it apart.  Ask students to lick the filling off of the cookie and then put the two sandwich pieces back together.  What's missing?  The filling.  Discuss with students how missing answers on assignments and quizzes is like missing the stuffing in your cookie.  You would expect the cookie to have stuffing as much as the teacher would expect you to make your best effort to answer every question.

The second part has students taking one of the sandwich pieces from the first cookie and really giving it a good lick.  Encourage students to really lick the cookie and get lots of saliva on it.  Of course, this receives lots of "yucks" and "eews" from the class...but it is a great set up for the next step.

Then, ask the students to turn to a neighbor and trade their cookie pieces.  Students might be a little hesitant to do so, but you can encourage them to only touch the sides of the cookie.  Once everyone has traded then ask the students to eat the cookie piece they just received from their neighbor.  They will look at you like you are absolutely nuts!  Pause long enough to garner some objections from the students...and then say "Just kidding!"

Cookie Lab to Explain Classroom Expectations: An interactive back-to-school activity to explain classroom expectations during the first few days of school!Most students will breathe a sigh of relief that they don't have to eat their neighbor's saliva-covered cookie.  And then you will probably have one student who is busily chewing his/her neighbor's cookie.  There is always one.  And, that student becomes what legends are made of around school!  Honestly, I have students who know that little Jimmy chewed the cookie three years ago.  I suppose they remember this story from when their older siblings shared what happened during this back to school activity.  But, we wanted a memorable back to school activity - right?  So there you go!

Talk about how disgusting eating a neighbor's cookie would be.  Then segue into how this is true for the work that is turned into the teacher.  Discuss how the work should be in good condition.  No stains, boogers, dog bite marks, etc.  You could really play this one up for the kids...and they get a kick out of it!

The last part has the students taking the second cookie and wrapping it up into the paper towel.  You want to make sure it's not wrapped too tight or else you will have a cookie crumb explosion everywhere when you give the next instruction.  Ask the students to make a fist and pound down on the wrapped cookie.  I usually give the kids around 30s or so - coaxing some to put some muscle into it or warning others to take it easy.  Once you think they have crushed the cookie enough, then say "Stop!"  Have the students carefully unwrap the paper towel.  What do they see?  Students should say how their cookie is crumbled.

Relate the crumbled cookie to the quality of their work.  They would expect a package of cookies to contain high quality cookies without being crumbled.  The teacher expects high quality work.  Discuss what you think constitutes high quality work in your classroom.

Close this activity by stressing how you know each student in the room can be their best and that you expect it!

Love this activity but short on time?  Click here to download a scripted lesson plan and a corresponding PowerPoint in my TpT Store.
Looking for more Back to School Ideas?  Take a look at this board.


  1. This is the BEST idea I've read so far for the 1st day!! I have a horrible time with work quality in 5th grade, and it seems like I spend weeks "reviewing" what I expect for good quality work. This is sooooo amazing. I'm definitely using it this year!!!

    The Whimsical Teacher

  2. A cookie idea! That pulled me in right away! When I read on, WOW! What a great and easy to implement plan! Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Kiddos love food and can make a connection! Super idea!
    Tricia from "Tricia's Terrific Teaching Trinkets"

  4. This is hysterical! What a fun idea! I bet some of my students would eat the cookies before we even had a chance to twist. Ha ha! Thanks for linking up!
    Undercover Classroom

  5. You had me at cookie! Who doesn't love a cookie!?! I really like this activity. Thanks for sharing!

    Education Electrification

  6. This is a super activity! Thanks for sharing it.