Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

The BrainPOP ELL movie Thanks for Nothing! (L3U4L5) is an adaptation of the classic children’s story, The Little Red Hen. In Ben’s story, everyone wants to bake a cake, but Ben is doing all the work. No one helps Ben shop. No one helps Ben bake. And no one helps Ben clean up. But when it comes to EATING the cake, suddenly everyone wants to help! In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students identify similarities and differences between the original tale and the movie, and collaborate on a new version of the classic tale. Students also participate in oral and written activities using verbs and expressions that take gerunds or infinitives.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Compare two versions of a story.
  2. Collaborate with a partner to write a new version of the story.
  3. Construct sentences with verbs and expressions that use gerunds and infinitives.



gerund, infinitive
compare, similar, different


For Activity 1, Compare the Stories, borrow a copy of the children’s picture book The Little Red Hen, and/or a video of the story from your school or local library. Videos are also available online.
Also for Activity 1, make enough copies of the Venn Diagram for each pair of students.

For Activity 2, Gerund or Infinitive, make copies of the exercise below or write the sentences on the board for students to copy.

I’m bored with ______________ (watch) tv.

I’m really good at ____________ (bake).

But do you promise __________ (help) when I return?

These bags are too heavy _______________ (carry) alone.

I can’t believe you are refusing ____________ (help).

Make 2 copies for each student of the Story Map Graphic Organizer.

For Activity 3, Verb Card Game, write the verbs listed below on separate index cards. Use the two different color cards for Pile A and Pile B, and keep the piles separate.

Pile A: plan, promise, agree, like, dislike, hate, love, enjoy, want, decide, deserve, forget, finish, hope, keep, stop, remember, convince, regret, prefer, can’t stand, spend time, waste time, refuse, begin, continue, plan on, excited about, nervous about, good at, tired of Pile B: go, travel, study, run, practice, sing, watch, do, play, read, visit, talk, perform, exercise, climb, ride, eat, babysit, taste, be, work, dance, explain, sleep, clean, cook, listen, help, stay, lose

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Compare the Stories. Read The Little Red Hen to the class or show a video of the story. Have students complete a Story Map Graphic Organizer. Tell the class that in the movie Thanks for Nothing! (L3U4L5), Ben asks his friends to help him bake a cake. Do they decide to help or not? After watching the movie, have students complete the Story Map Graphic Organizer again. With a partner, have students discuss the similarities and differences between the story of The Little Red Hen and the movie Thanks for Nothing! (L3U4L5), and complete a Venn Diagram. Have partners share their ideas with the class.

    Using their two Story Maps, have partners collaborate to write their own version of The Little Red Hen story. To differentiate, do it as a Shared Writing activity. Students can choose to write the above activity as a skit, and then perform the skits for the class.
  2. Gerund or Infinitive?Distribute the cloze exercise or display the sentences on the board (see Preparation). Have students complete the sentences with the gerund or infinitive form of the verbs in parentheses. When they finish, students can use Hear It, Say It to check their answers.
  3. Verb Card Game. Put the verb cards in two piles (A and B). There is no particular order the cards must be in. Students select a card from each pile and construct a sentence using both words. Their sentence must contain either a gerund or infinitive. For example, if they pick plan and talk, then they can say, “I plan to talk to my friend tomorrow."