Posted in Writing Ideas

Here Is A Recipe For A School Trip

How well did your last school trip go?

Imagine taking all those nerve wracking calamities and turning them into a recipe!

Here is how you can do it.


Children love a bit of magic, especially where one thing suddenly becomes another: the silhouetted hands that create a rabbit on the wall; the plastic car that can ‘transform’ into a monster; the wordplay of riddles, puns and parody.

This poem by Sue Cowling fits exactly into that tradition with its sustained conceit of the school outing portrayed in the manner of cooking instructions. Its content and diction offer a thoroughly balanced and nutritious linguistic meal.

Recipe For A Class Outing

30 children, washed and scrubbed
29 packed lunches (no bottles)
3 teachers
an equal quantity of mums
1 nosebleed
2 fights
a hot day
3 lost purses
1 slightly torn dress
plenty of sweets
5 or 6 songs (optional)


Place the children and adults in a bus and heat slowly.
Season well with sweets, reserving a few for later.
Heat to boiling point. Add fights and nosebleed.
Leave to simmer for 2 hours.
Remove children and packed lunches and leave to cool.
Stir in torn dress and lost purses.
Return to heat, add songs to taste.
Mix thoroughly. If the children get soggy and start
to stick together, remove from the bus and drain.
At the end of the cooking time divide into individual
portions (makes about 36).
Serve with relief, garnished liberally with dirt.

Sue Cowling

Ideas For Using This Poem

  • Read the poem out loud or reveal it a line at a time and ask the children to suggest possible titles.
  • Get the children to make an illustrated version of the poem with an accompanying audio reading. Preparation should include the discussion of pace and style of the recorded reading. This could then be shown/played to other classes.
  • Ask the children to look at the second part of the poem, ‘Method’ and to make a simple word chart under two headings: ‘Preparation’ and ‘Cooking’; they should then collect all the verbs relevant to the two headings – for the first, ‘place, ‘add’, etc. and for the second, ‘heat, ‘simmer’, etc. This can serve as an introduction to the distinctive vocabulary of recipe books.
  • Make a class collection of recipe books to develop the work started above. Children can look for different elements of this vocabulary, for example all those ‘units of measurement’: ‘kilo’, ‘teaspoon’, ‘pinch’, ‘dollop’.
  • Now thoroughly at home with the diction and format children can write their own (strictly inedible) recipes. Subjects might include actual school trips, best friends, pets, their homes. More ambitious recipes could be used as a summary following a particular piece of history or geography study. Or what about replacing the sometimes over-used ‘book review’ with recipes to ‘make’ particular books?

Whatever you do, have fun!

David and Mike from Goodeyedeers.

A link to The Goodeyedeers Shop at TES Resources


A writer of short stories.

Please leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.