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This lesson plan is for Pancake Day / Mardi Gras and involves numerous books about pancakes


Language Arts  


K, 1, 2, 3, 4  

Title – Pancake Day (Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday)
By – Paul Many
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – K-4
Pancake Day/Mardi Gras

Pancake Day is known in many countries as “Shrove Tuesday” and in other countries–as well as here in the United States–as “Mardi Gras.” The following activities are designed to give students appropriate activities to do during Mardi Gras that are oriented around a set of pancake-themed children’s picture books.

1) Reading Activities
Here is a list of picture books with a pancake theme which you may wish to select from and read on Pancake Day or on the days leading up to it.

Pancakes, Pancakes!
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle.
Knopf (New York, 1970)
By cutting and grinding the wheat for flour, Jack starts from scratch to help make his breakfast pancake.

Miss Mabel’s Table
by Deborah Chandra, Max Grover (Illustrator)
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (San Diego, 1994)
A cumulative counting rhyme presents the ingredients and techniques used by Miss Mabel to cook enough pancakes to serve ten people.

Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes
by Jan Fearnley
M E Media LLC (2001)
Mr. Wolf asks some of his neighbors to help him make pancakes, and even though they all rudely refuse, when the pancakes are done they expect to share the feast.

The Runaway Tortilla
by Eric A. Kimmel, Randy Cecil (Illustrator)
Winslow (2000)
In Texas, Tia Lupe and Tio Jose make the best tortillas – so light that the cowboys say they just might jump right out of the griddle. One day, a tortilla does exactly that.

The Runaway Latkes
by Leslie Kimmelman, Paul Yalowitz.(Illustrator)
Whitman & Co. (Morton Grove, Ill., 2000)
When three potato latkes (pancakes) escape Rachel Bloom’s frying pan on the first night of Hanukkah, everyone including the cantor, the rabbi, and the mayor joins in the chase.

The Great Pancake Escape
by Paul Many, Scott Goto (Illustrator)
Walker & Co.. (NY, 2002)
When their bumbling magician father accidentally uses the wrong book to make pancakes, his children are led on a merry chase through town trying to catch their wiggly, sneaky breakfast.

If You Give a Pig a Pancake
by Laura Numeroff, Felicia Bond (Illustrator)
Laura Geringer Book (NY, 1998)
One thing leads to another when you give a pig a pancake.

Pancakes for Breakfast
by Tomie de Paola.
Scholastic, 1978
A little old lady’s attempts to have pancakes for breakfast are hindered by a scarcity of supplies and the participation of her pets.

Curious George Makes Pancakes
From the character created by Margret Rey, H. A. Rey (Illustrator)
Written and illustrated in the style of the Rey’s by Vipah Interactive.
Houghton Mifflin (Boston, 1998)
Curious George, an inquisitive monkey, causes quite a stir when he tries his hand at making pancakes at a fundraiser for the children’s hospital.

by Synthia Saint James.
Whitman & Co. (Morton Grove, Ill. 1996)
Portrays an African American family as they spend a typical Sunday eating a pancake breakfast, going to church, and visiting their grandparents.

Perfect Pancakes, If You Please
by William Wise, Richard Egielski (Illustrator)
Dial Books for Young Readers, (NY, 1997)
King Felix loves pancakes so much that he offers to marry his daughter to the man who can make the perfect pancake.

2) Math, Measuring and Motor Skills
Using your favorite pancake mix and an electric griddle or two, make pancakes in the classroom. Depending on the age and motor skills of your group, you may wish to do everything from bringing in pre-made pancakes and heating them in a microwave oven, to having students work with you to mix the ingredients. Many math and motor-skills teaching opportunities present themselves in such an activity and may be worth the potential mess. Put down lots of plastic.(The actual cooking is best left to adults, and should be done in a situation where the hot griddle is safe from inquisitive hands. It may be advisable to have a parent take on cooking duties.) Syrup is a necessity although you might forgo butter or margarine. Be sure to have plenty of wet wipes or damp paper towels in readiness for cleanup of sticky fingers and faces.


3) Singing and Music
The Great Pancake Escape by Paul Many (Illustrations by Scott Goto) may be sung to the tune of “O, Susanna.” (See the chorus on the last page of the book.) Have the class play the melody on kazoos (can be bought cheaply as party favors). Appoint different children to sing different verses. May be combined with “Act Out” below. Students act out a scene while they sing it.


4) Theater and Acting
Students may pick a scene from one of their favorite pancake-themed books above and either present a tableau from the book (a posed imitation of one of the scenes) or actually act it out. Students may also make scenery or props from the books from cardboard.


5) Motor Skills – Pancake Flipping Contest
a) Have students make “skillets” using a ruler duct-taped to the bottom of an aluminum pie plate.
b) Have each student make a “pancake” at least 5 inches in diameter out of clay or modeling dough.
You may also use a lid from a plastic container, or the plastic lid of a coffee can.
c) Students put their pancakes in their skillets and hold the skillets out in front of them by the ruler/handle at arm’s length with one hand.
d) Say “Ready, Set, FLIP.” Each time you say “FLIP,” each student has to flip his or her pancake. The pancake must go at least one foot in the air and turn over completely for a flip to count. (For younger or less dexterous students, the pancake may simply go up and down without flipping.)
e) You may occasionally have long pauses between flips. It will become increasingly difficult for students to hold the skillets out in front of them.
f) When a student drops a pancake, he or she is removed from play.
g) Repeat until only one student remains as the winner.


6)Motor Skills – Skillet Races
Important Safety Notice: In the following instead of the “skillets” described above, use the aluminum pie plates alone without a ruler handle so that students are not injured from falls on rulers. You may wish to wait for nice weather and hold these activities outdoors.

Race 1:
a) Students are assigned to relay teams of four each.
b) On a marked 50 or 100 foot course, students must race to one end and back, then flip the pancake into the pie plate of the next student who must run to one end and back until all four students on a team have run.
c) If a student drops the pancake, he or she may pick it up, place it back in the pan and continue to run.

Race 2:
Same as above, except that instead of merely running with the pancakes on the pie plate, students must continuously flip the pancake while running.


7) Motor Skills/Coordination – Flipping in the Dark
Objective: Catch as many pancakes as you can in your skillet while blindfolded.

Materials: Aluminum pie pan “skillet” (see above), “pancakes” made from clay or plastic coffee can tops as above, plastic spatulas, blindfolds.

How to play:
1) Lay out three “pancakes” for each player on each player’s desk or table.
2) Each player receives a plastic spatula and a skillet.
3) Blindfold each player.
4) Each player, holding the plastic spatula in one hand and the skillet in the other must scoop up a pancake and flip it at least one foot into the air and catch it in the skillet.
5) The first player to flip all three pancakes into the skillet without losing the others already in it, wins.

E-Mail Paul Many !

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