Jam Hands

story by Rolli , illustrated by Aska

Learning intention:  

I am learning to take part in collaborative discussions, building on and connecting ideas and opinions expressed by others so I can engage in a class debate.  

Success criteria:

  • I can identify ideas in the story that outline reasons for and against having jam hands.  
  • I can add my own ideas of the pros and cons of having jam hands.  
  • I can respectfully listen to the opinions of others.  
  • I can share my ideas, building on and connecting ideas from my peers.  

Essential knowledge: 

Discuss whether students have ever had jam on their hands after eating a sandwich. Instruct students to share their reflections on what it feels like, ensuring students identify that the jam makes hands feel sticky.  

After reading Jam Hands, discuss the subject matter. Emphasise that the main focus of the story is around the perks and challenges of having jam hands. Discuss the reasons provided by the main character, reflecting on whether students feel the character has embellished some of their experiences with having jam hands. Identify some of the pros and cons of having jam hands identified in the story, Jam Hands. Record responses on the board. Sample responses include:  

Reasons for:  

  • They are useful in emergencies, such as climbing a building to rescue a woman from a fire 
  • They help with rescuing lost items, such as saving the major’s pen from an air vent 
  • They enable the character to touch the sun and prevent it from moving to avoid going to bed 
  • They make it easy to catch a ball 

Reasons against:  

  • They make it difficult to answer the phone 
  • Having jam hands makes it challenging to throw a ball 
  • You cannot fluff your pillows 

Instruct students to work in small groups to identify further examples of reasons for and against having jam hands and to record these in their own two-column table, with one column featuring the reasons in favour of having jam hands and the other listing the reasons against. Tell students that the story is fictional and that their ideas can be as abstract as they like.  

Share responses. Some ideas students might suggest include, having jam hands is useful when you need to clear plates from the dinner table or that having jam hands makes it challenging to sit down outside as your hands get covered in grass.  

Inform students that they will be debating the topic of whether having jam hands is a good or a bad thing. Allocate some of the groups to be in favour of having jam hands while the others are against.  

Tell students to prepare arguments. Remind students to refer to the ideas discussed earlier. Inform students that they should try to predict what the opposing group’s arguments might be so that they can be prepared to refute them. Tell students that they can use some of the ideas from the story, Jam Hands to help them predict what the other group’s arguments might be. Tell students when identifying counter-arguments, they should try to think of the opposite of each of the ideas in the story. Provide examples such as, in the story it mentions that jam hands are useful for climbing buildings and in that case jam hands could also make it likely you would get stuck to building doors (emphasising that this is the opposite of the idea in the story), or that in the story it states that jam hands make it difficult to answer the telephone, so this must also mean you don’t have to grip the phone hard when you use it, as it will stick to your hand (emphasising that this the opposite of the idea in the story).  

Briefly agree on rules for how students should conduct themselves during a debate, for example:  

  • Each person takes a turn to share their argument  
  • The other students must listen respectfully and they must patiently wait for their turn 
  • Each team takes a turn to respond to the arguments put forth by the other side 
  • There should be no name calling or personal attacks  

Conduct a class debate, ensuring each group takes a turn, and that arguments for and against are shared equally.