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Fortune Cookies
Motivate Writing


  • Language Arts


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Students use fortune cookie fortunes as the basis for story writing. Included: An art idea for creating a bulletin board.



  • create an original story that includes a beginning, middle, and end.
  • create an original story that includes an interesting character(s), a good description of the setting, a problem, and a solution.


fortune, fortune cookie, Chinese New Year, China, luck, writing, creative writing, Six Traits, setting, character

Materials Needed

  • a box of fortune cookies, pencils, paper
  • paper and pen/pencil

The Lesson

Prepare students for this lesson by reviewing the basic elements of a good story. If you teach the Six Traits process, remind students of those traits of writing -- particularly word choice, voice, and fluent sentences. This activity might also be used to emphasize how a good story includes interesting character(s), a description of the setting, a problem, and a solution.

Hand out to each student a fortune cookie. Have students open their cookies and read their fortunes. Tell them that the fortune is the basis for today's writing assignment. They can interpret the fortune any way they like. Their stories must include certain facts about the person who opened the fortune cookie and found the fortune they just read. List those ideas on a sheet of chart paper or an overhead transparency. Following are a few ideas students might be required to include; feel free to adapt this list in any way.

  • Who opened to cookie to reveal this fortune? What sex is the person? How old? What kind of job does s/he hold? Have they family?
  • Under what circumstances did s/he happen to receive the fortune cookie? Where did s/he open it?
  • How did s/he react to the words on the fortune? How did the people around him/her react?
  • What happened later, and how did others react to that?

Once stories are completed, have students edit or peer-edit them. (This might be done using a word processing program.) If you are using a rubric, have students evaluate their own/peers' work based on that rubric.

Then display the stories for others to read. Students can create paper fortune cookies and glue their stories. They might glue the actual fortune to the corner of the story page.

Extend the Lesson
Students might create a bulletin board to display their fortune-cookie stories with paper fortune cookies or fortune cookie decorations made from felt.


Create a rubric on which to students will be evaluated. (That rubric should be shared in advance of the assignment so students have a clear understanding of what you expect.)

Submitted By

VaReane Heese, Springfield Elementary School in Springfield, Nebraska

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