Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Do Hungry Dragons Really Like Crunchy Tacos?


Lindsey Link | Published: August 4th, 2021 by Oklahoma Young Scholars/Javits

  • Grade Level Grade Level 2nd, 3rd, 4th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 2-3 class period(s)
  • Duration More 120 minutes


In this fun and engaging lesson, students will learn what adjectives are and how they are used. Students will read or listen to the story "Dragons Love Tacos," by Adam Rubin. Then, students will engage in a learning game: they each pick a different kind of food and try to describe the food with adjectives as their classmates guess. This lesson features options to suit any classroom, including opportunities for technology integration, differentiation, and extra challenges.

Essential Question(s)

How do adjectives make writing better?



Students participate in a Collective Brain Dump of adjectives to answer the question, "What do you love most about tacos?"


Students engage in a Not Like the Others activity.


Students identify adjectives during an interactive reading of the book "Dragons Love Tacos."


Students use adjectives to describe different foods while their classmates try to guess what they are.


Students use adjectives as they write an invitation to a taco party for their dragon friends.


  • Lesson slides (attached)

  • Dragon Taco Party Invitation handouts in color or black and white (attached; one per student)

  • Sneaky Treat Adjectives handouts (attached; one per group of six students)

  • "Dragons Love Tacos," by Adam Rubin

  • Lunch-sized brown paper bags

  • A variety of foods and snacks (apple slices, orange wedges, bananas, carrots, celery, broccoli, chocolate, caramel, chips, crackers, etc.; one food item per student)

  • Crayons, colored pencils, or markers

  • Construction paper (optional)


Use the attached Lesson Slides to follow along with the lesson. Begin the lesson by displaying slide 3 and asking students what they love most about tacos. Using the instructional strategy Collective Brain Dump and the Anchor Chart that you prepared, write down all of the adjectives that students share. They will be using these adjectives later in the lesson and organizing them into categories will help with that activity. When you notice that students are running out of adjectives, check to see if there are any categories that do not have anything listed. Ask guiding questions to get students thinking about those categories and how they pertain to tacos.

Display slide 4, and share the lesson’s essential question with students: "How do adjectives make my writing better?"

Display slide 5, and briefly go over the learning objectives.


Display slide 6, and tell students they will be playing a few rounds of Not Like the Others. Inform them that you will share four words, and their job is to choose which one doesn't belong. Go through slides 7-10, and give students time to select the word that isn’t like the others.


Display slide 11, and share the definition of an adjective: a word used to describe a noun.

Display slide 12, and tell students that they are going to listen to the story Dragons Love Tacos, by Adam Rubin, two times.

  • The first time, students will listen for enjoyment.

  • The second time, students will pay close attention to the adjectives that the author used. At the end of each page of reading, have students share out any adjectives that describe why dragons love tacos so much. If students hear an adjective that describes why dragons don’t like tacos or can’t eat them, that’s a good reason to share too!

As students share different adjectives, add them to the anchor chart you started in the Engage portion of the lesson.


Display slide 13, and let students know that they are going to pick a food and then use only adjectives to describe that food to members of the class. Their classmates will guess which food the student is describing.

Have students each take a bag back to their tables. At their tables, instruct students to look at the item in their bag but not show it to anyone else. They should then write down adjectives to describe it: its color, texture, taste, etc. The more descriptive they can be, the better.

Once students have written down their adjectives, give them a chance to eat their treats and add even more adjectives to their lists.

Organize students into groups of six, and pass out one copy of the Sneaky Treat Adjectives handout to each group. Instruct students to take turns sharing their adjectives with their group. Remind students that the goal is not to give away what their food is, but to share descriptive clues to help their group figure out what the food is.

While one person is sharing, another group member should record the adjectives in the appropriate categories on the handout.

Have groups continue rotating until each of the group members has had an opportunity to share.


Display slide 14. Tell students that now that they have had a chance to interact with adjectives in a variety of ways, they are going to make their own invitation to a taco party for their dragon friends!

Pass out a copy of the Dragon Taco Party Invitation (in color or in black and white) to each student. Included are two versions of the invitation for you to choose from, a color version and a black-and-white version that students can color themselves. If you prefer, you can also have students make an invitation from scratch.

On their invitations, students should include basic information about who, when, and where. But the most important information for students to focus on is the what and why. As they write their what and why descriptions, they should take the opportunity to use the adjectives that they learned about and describe the types of tacos their dragon friends can expect to find at the party!

Encourage students to refer to the anchor chart that you have added to throughout the lesson as they are writing their descriptions. When they are finished writing, have students turn in their invitations as assessments for the lesson.