Would you rather learn by sitting in a chair with a pencil and paper or working as a team to create delicious dishes? Through cooking I mask hard work and learning as fun! This is very motivating to students, thus increasing the level of engagement, self-confidence, and overall skill independence.
I have eleven, sweet, outgoing third graders.
They are uniquely talented and energetic about learning. I am a learning support teacher and my students have various disabilities. My students are diagnosed with mental retardation, specific learning disabilities, autism, speech and language impairments, and other health impairments.
Within my learning support classroom I collaborate with the speech therapist and occupational therapist to plan authentic learning experiences that combine academic, fine motor, social, and language tasks. Cooking is a real life skill that we do often in my classroom to combine learned skills and practice independence. Students in my classroom all have different strengths and developing areas of need. Within each cooking experience, students are working as a team and each has a job related to their individual developing area.
Students I had 4 years ago developed the concept of Cafe 54 (my room number) and we have been cooking ever since!
This year we started a soup of the month club and have cooked chicken corn soup, Tomato Tortellini soup, Chili, White Chicken chili, and Broccoli soup is next for February. In addition to monthly soups, we cook depending on the curriculum connection. When we learned sequencing in reading class students wrote steps of how to make a PBJ sandwich. Students then made them according to their directions; some came out correctly and others didn't! We made chocolate covered pretzels when we learned about nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Within the recipe students had to identify different parts of speech like stir, melt, drizzle, chocolate, bowl, hot, etc.
We preview and review skills that student encounter during "traditional" classroom instruction. For example, we previewed multiplication by arranging quarts of soup in arrays to determine the total. We also reviewed elapsed time by calculating the ending time when given the start time and duration. The connections to the curriculum are endless.
Every time we cook I have to bring in several laundry baskets of supplies from home.
I have invested in many kitchen tools we use frequently to keep in the classroom like measuring spoons, measuring cups, crock-pot, etc. Other supplies I borrow from the cafeteria. In order to widen the scope of recipes we can cook and increase the frequency of cooking, our classroom would benefit from additional supplies. The items listed would be a huge addition to our classroom that the kids would love!
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