During the middle of the 2012-2013 school year, I noticed writing was becoming a bigger part of the kindergarten curriculum. I also noticed that many of my students were mixing uppercase and lowercase letters in their words. I thought maybe it was time to do a mini-lesson on using lowercase letters when necessary seeing how they spent the first part of the year learning how to form them. During one mini-lesson in writing, I spontaneously came up with a visual connection and told my students that using lowercase letters in the middle of a word is like having a beautiful tray of delicious looking cupcakes all frosted with sprinkles and then… slapping a big piece of fried chicken on top. The chicken just doesn’t belong there.
I created a chart using real cupcakes I baked and a real piece of fried chicken to show a visual of this metaphor. I laminated the anchor chart and hung it on a special writing bulletin board.
This past school year, all 6 of my kindergarten colleagues used the anchor chart to successfully help their students be mindful of using lowercase letters in their words. The expression “you have (a) chicken in your cupcakes” is used frequently for editing by teacher to student and student to student partnerships.