Literature Focus Unit:
By: Julie Williams
- Lord, John Vernon. The Giant Jam Sandwich. 1972
- This unit is written for a first or second grade classroom. The
Giant Jam Sandwich is an excellent opportunity to give students more
practice with rhyme and to help struggling readers. Many things can be done
with this book including poetry, cooking, word walls, process words, literature
experiences, journal writing, retelling the story and countless other
activities. Social Studies and Science can also be tied into this book, making
it a great book for integrating curriculums. I believe this is a book students
can have a lot of fun with and give the teacher the opportunity to teach and
introduce many different concepts. The best thing about The Giant Jam
Sandwich is that it has the ability to integrate several different areas of
the curriculum, making the teachers job easier!
Goals and Objectives:
- The students will listen to, read and retell The Giant Jam
- The students will engage in and complete activities surrounding
The Giant Jam Sandwich.
- The students will take a field trip to a bakery.
- The students will listen to, read and retell The Giant Jam
Sandwich by writing a play and performing.
- The students will create a word wall of vocabulary from the
- The students will investigate and use process words in a sandwich
- The students will take a field trip to a bakery and learn about
different jobs in the community.
- The students will study wasps and begin a unit on insects.
- The students will study and investigate the concepts of fiction and
- The students will look at and study word families in the book.
- The students will keep a journal based on a towns persons
- The students will participate in writing a sequel through a
- The students will learn and investigate quotation marks.
Information about the Author, John Vernon Lord:
The Giant Jam Sandwich was published in 1972 and has been
translated in several languages around the world. The story has been read on
radio, set to music, made into films and has been transformed into puppet
plays. The story originated when two young boys Lord knew, made their fear of
wasps apparent when they would squeal at the sight of the insects. He saw how
upset they became and began to tell the story in pieces, making it up as he
went along. Lord got the idea of the jam sandwich from his father who used to
cover crust with jam and set it away from their picnics so the wasps would be
attracted to the crust and not their bread. Lords father was a baker and
he can be seen in the book standing in front of "Berts Café." The
buildings in the book are based on ones in Lords real life.
- Give a mini-lesson on the types of poetry (rhyming vs. non-rhyming)
presented in the book. Have the students write poems about their experience as
a towns person, their favorite food, their favorite insect or anything
that interests them.
- Do a mini-lesson on the different word families that are presented in
- Create a word wall for the vocabulary in the book.
- Have the students write a journal as a towns person and the
experience they had while the wasps were in their town.
- Have the students retell the story through a play and work together
to build background scenery and a large jam sandwich to be used in the
- Plan a field trip to a bakery so students can see the process of
making bread. Use this trip to study different careers in Social Studies.
- Study wasps in science and begin a unit on insects. Have an
entomologist visit the class.
- Have the students work on process words (First, Second, Next, Then,
Finally) while making jam sandwiches.
- For a literature experience, have the class work together to write a
sequel to the book.
- Do a mini-lesson on quotation marks and point out when they are used
in a story and, what they mean. Have the students dictate to the teacher their
feelings about the book while the teacher places quotation marks in the
- Do a lesson on real (non-fiction) and make believe (fiction) and
introduce these terms and concepts to the students.
- At the end of the unit, have a celebration by putting on the play,
eating sandwiches the students made with their guests.
End of Unit Celebration:
- During the last Friday of the unit on The Giant Jam Sandwich,
the class will have a celebration that will consist of three parts. Parents,
faculty and other students will be invited to the celebration with invitations
that were made by the students and sent out the previous week. Be sure to
invite the principal, in hopes that he/she can read the book for the students
and guests. The first part will consist of the students and their guests making
jam sandwiches so the students may use and demonstrate the process words they
learned. The students and guests will then eat their sandwiches as the students
explain what they have been doing during the last three weeks. Then, if the
principal is able to come have he/she read The Giant Jam Sandwich for
the last time. Finally, the students will perform for the guests their
retelling of the story. Have the celebration close by retiring the book and
adding it to your list of favorites.
Parent and Community Involvement:
- There are several opportunities during this unit for parents to get
involved. First, have the parents volunteer to come and assist with the process
words activity and help supervise the students while making jam sandwiches.
Second, parents could volunteer to read the elaboration books in the unit
schedule and lead a grand discussion. Next, parents could and would be asked to
accompany the class on the trip to the bakery. Finally, parents could provide
and assist in making sets for the play and of course come to watch their child
participate and act in the retelling of The Giant Jam Sandwich.
- The community can get involved by asking an entomologist to come and
speak during the science unit on insects. For the social studies tie in, ask
different people from the community to come into the classroom and talk about
their career. The community will definitely be involved in the students
trip to a bakery.
The Giant Jam Sandwich, Book Review
- Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris Morrow
- Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
- Bread is for Eating by David Gershator
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
- Everybody Bakes Bread by Norah Dooley
- Make me a Peanut Butter Sandwich and a Glass of Milk by Ken
- Peanut Butter, Apple Butter, Cinnamon Toast by Argentina
- Pickles to Pittsburg by Judi Barrett
- Sams Sandwich by David Pellam
- The Best Peanut Butter Sandwich in the World by Bill Maclean
- The Biggest Sandwich Ever by Rita Golden Gelman
- Unbeatable Bread by Lyn Littlefield Hookes
- The students will be assessed on the different pieces of the unit
they completed. To asses the poem, evaluate if the students gave their poem a
title, if they decided to use rhyming words or chose not to rhyme and if they
chose to read their poem to the class. During the word process activity,
evaluate the students performance by having them read you the process they
mapped out for making sandwiches. Also, observe each student at some point
during the activity. Check to see that every student is making a journal entry
each day and participated in the literature experience. Much of the assessment
during this unit will take place in observation form to make sure the students
are participating. The week following the celebration, an individual conference
will be held with each student for them to share with you their "artifacts"
from the unit and for you to talk with them about the activities they