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Thunder Cake
By: Pam Almond and Debbie Falkner, A.B. Combs Elementary School
Habit 1: Be Proactive

Common Core State Standards Connections

K.E.1 Understand change and observable patterns of weather that occur from day to day and
throughout the year.
K.E.1.1 Infer that change is something that happens to many things in the environment based on
observations made by using one or more of their senses.
K.E.1.2 Summarize daily weather conditions noting changes that occur from day to day and
throughout the year.
K.E.1.3 Compare weather patterns that occur from season to season.

Learning Outcomes
At the end of this lesson, students will understand that being proactive when you are afraid is
important in helping you overcome your fears. They will make connections to the main character in
"Thunder Cake" by naming things they do when they are afraid. Synergizing with a partner, students
will make additional connections to the characters in the story by creating a thunder cake made with
their own secret ingredient. Using a Lotus Diagram, the partners will pass the lotus, filling in at
least four of the spaces with written clues about their secret ingredient, then share the clues with
their classmates at the end of the lesson for them to guess their secret ingredient. Working together
(synergizing) and being proactive make overcoming fears easier.


"Thunder Cake" by Patricia Polacco

Sound bite of a thunderstorm
Cake shaped affinity diagram of "When I Am Afraid I Can"
Markers for Affinity Diagram
Sticky notes for Affinity Diagram
Individual (partner) lotuses for secret ingredient
Individual (partner) cake shapes that open like a card to
decorate and put the secret ingredient in
Cake to eat at the end (For us, it must be purchased in a


Learning Activities
FOCUS AND REVIEW (2 minutes)
Discuss different types of weather we experience and how that weather affects things you do, what
you wear, how you feel, etc. Ask, "Who can name a kind of weather? What can you do when we
have that kind of weather? What do you wear? How do you feel?" Discuss what proactive means
and ways we are proactive in different kinds of weather.
Say, "Today we will make connections to the characters in the story by identifying a specific type of
weather, the feelings you have associated with that kind of weather, and ways you can Be Proactive
in dealing with those emotions. We will also synergize and use writing with a partner to organize our
thoughts and ideas to give detailed clues about something that might help us feel better if we are
TEACHER INPUT/GUIDED PRACTICE (Development of Lesson) (15 minutes)
Play a sound bite of a thunderstorm and ask questions like: What kind of weather do you hear?
How do you feel when you hear it?
Show the cover of the book "Thunder Cake" by Patricia Polacco, and ask for predictions of what this
book will be about. Say, What kind of weather will they experience? How do you think they will
feel? Lets read and find out."
Read the book. During the reading of the story, stop and ask for predictions about what the secret
ingredient is.
After reading and discussing the story, students will complete, as a class, an affinity diagram, writing
words and/or drawing pictures on sticky notes about what they can do to Be Proactive when they
are afraid. These ideas will be sorted and categorized on the affinity diagram. Reinforce that many
times people cry or hide in the closet when they are scared. We can Be Proactive and stop and think
of better ways to overcome our fears.
Upon completion of the affinity diagram, students will be paired up. Each set of partners will be
given a cake shape that looks like the thunder cake in the story. (This cake will be folded like a card
so that there are really two cake shapes joined in a hinge-like manner.)

Thunder Cake Lesson Plan | Habit 1 | Kindergarten | Page 2



Each set of partners will decide on a secret ingredient for their thunder cake. They will Synergize to
draw the secret ingredient inside the cake, keeping the cake away from the other class members
so the secret ingredient is indeed a secret.
After the secret ingredient is decided upon and drawn, each set of partners will receive a Lotus
Diagram with the words Secret Ingredient in the middle space. Taking turns and working together,
they will "pass the lotus" back and forth until they have at least four of the spaces filled with clues
about their secret ingredient. Each space is to have only one clue that will be either drawn, written in
single words or phrases, or written in complete sentences according to the abilities of the students.
When the Lotus Diagrams are completed, the students will gather on the carpet again. The partners
who synergized will Teach to Learn and share their secret-ingredient clues. The rest of the
students in the class will try to guess the secret ingredient.
When all of the secret ingredients have been revealed, review ways to Be Proactive when we are
afraid and connect that to the thunder cake with the secret ingredient in the story.
In celebration of our successful lesson, the class will enjoy a Covey Cake of their own with one
secret ingredient that the teach will describe for the students. This secret ingredient is not a tangible
item, but one of character that is inside all of us. It is one that helps us in being proactive as we try
to overcome our fears. It is called perseverance.
Then the class will eat cake!
ASSESSMENT (Ongoing During Partners Working Into Groups)
Monitor students answers to questions, both orally and in their Affinity Diagram pictures, for
understanding of the story and concepts (Covey habits of Be Proactive and Synergize) as well as for
their ability to sort ideas according to one attribute on the affinity diagram. The students' level of
expressive literacy will determine whether they draw, write words, or write complete sentences on
the sticky notes.
CLOSURE (10 minutes)

Reinforce that many times people cry or hide in the closet when they are scared. We can Be
Proactive and stop and think of better ways to overcome our fears. End the lesson by eating cake to
celebrate how we can Be Proactive by stopping and thinking of ways to not be afraid.

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At the end of the lesson, if there is access to a DVD player, the teacher can show a segment from
The Sound of Music. The clips content should be the part where the thunderstorm just begins in
the movie, and the children begin coming into the Nannys room because they are scared due to the
thunderstorm. The children and the nanny stop and think what they can do to ease their fears of the
thunderstorm. They are proactive and begin making up a song, My Favorite Things. This can be
included in a second days lesson where the class makes up a song or a poem they can sing or
recite when they are scared.

Thunder Cake Lesson Plan | Habit 1 | Kindergarten | Page 4