Sharing Cooking In The Classroom At HomeThu 26 Jan 2012
Story by Elii Chapman
When holidays approach, teachers think about student gifts. Pencils are popular and candy is common. My gift to my class is that we cook in our regular classroom once a month. This time I thought we’d extend the gift and have them make enough to take home. I have wanted to teach them how to knead bread, but we don’t have access to an oven in which to bake our dough. My ambitious project for the month of December was to make batches of English Muffins.
Cooking in the Classroom every month so far has simply been the making of a single large batch of the chosen food. Each time the batch was to be enough to feed the class and entailed different students working on different parts of the individual recipe. This time, however, the equipment from my kitchen was not going to meet our needs.
I created a partnership agreement with blanks for both student names, followed by the English Muffin recipe in its entirety. The bottom of the form was comprised of a list of the needed items to be brought from home, each item had a blank where the providing student could initial their commitment. Having the whole recipe as part of the form for each student pair made it clear to the parents what the items from their kitchen were to be used for. Only one pair of ten were unprepared come cooking day!!!
In November, we made Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes from a recipe that I had never used before----BIG mistake from which I learned a lot! As a teacher, make sure you know all the details, or things will not go well, socially or in relation to the final product, or both. This time, I was using a recipe I had used a great many times prior to the beginning of this career, when I had much more time on my hands, but I had never had 10 batches going simultaneously in the hands of young teens!
The night before, I created initial kits to make things go as smooth as possible. Each pair of bakers received baggies with the measured amount of yeast, and baggies with the dry milk. I brought in the yeast and dry milk packages to show the students if they were unfamiliar with these ingredients, but wanted to make this recipe at home down the road. I brought in one extra set of tools for mixing, just in case- and the bowl, sifter, and mixing spoon were needed.
I brought my electric griddle, as did one other student. With two griddles, we were able to cook 10 batches of English Muffins in two hours. Retrospectively I feel this would have been much more efficient with 3 to 4 griddles. And I also feel that this project was incredibly successful! These students learned how to make dough, knead it and shape English Muffins. They all found what they made to be really delicious and were excited to take it home to share.
Read more about bringing cooking to the classroom here.
About the author: Elli Chapman is a teacher of 7th and 8th graders at the Peak School, a charter school in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has lived in Flagstaff for 19 years, been a mother for 18, a vegetarian for 12 and teacher for 4. Her mission as an educator is to teach students to invest in themselves in all ways possible, and that eating, as a method used every day, is something over which they have tremendous power.
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