I really enjoyed cooking in school, but I just love cooking with Owen.
I always thought that cooking was a natural way to integrate science concepts, reading (recipes), vocabulary, good health habits, math and social skills. Exactly how you go about it probably depends a lot on the make up of your classroom. I was very fortunate to have good parent support, and most parents donated money to support our cooking projects. I asked for 50 cents per week, and that covered paper products as well as supplies. Not all parents sent in the money, but most did. When I first began cooking at school I asked for donations of the ingredients and supplies, but I was concerned that parents might forget so I usually bought a back up set anyway. Also sometimes parents would not send exactly what I thought I was asking for, so I decided just to ask for money, and I did the shopping myself. Most parents paid by the semester, or the entire year – so I didn’t have to keep collecting the money all year. I realize that not all schools are able to ask for donations.
The other requirement is to have a good parent volunteer who is excited about cooking with the children. I liked having the same Mom every week if possible, because she was able to quickly get to know the children and the routine. I made a check off chart that was very helpful for the cooking moms.
I glued one of these charts to a piece of 9 x 12 construction paper, then laminated it. I put the laminated chart on a clipboard and provided vis a vis markers. As the parent called small groups of children at a time to do the cooking project she could check off their name on the chart, to be sure every child got a turn. I used these charts over and over when I wanted to hold each child accountable for completing an activity, and often when I was assessing them. I could label the columns things like – counts to 30, recognizes shapes, makes an AB pattern, etc.
Here is another class list that I used all the time – this one gave a small space to write a note about each child – I used it the first day to note which children could write their name, and make a quick note of behaviors that stood out. When the children completed a project I might use one of these pages to write a simple note about fine motor skills, phonetic spelling, recognizable drawing, etc.
I bound a bunch of these note taking class lists into a booklet. This was an easy way to keep anecdotal notes, and I could always find my notes about the children when I needed them. Sorry – I guess I strayed from my cooking talk!
I would usually cut apart the pictures and put them on numbered, stand up cards for the children to follow the recipe.
One of my favorite ways to cook is called Cup Cooking
I didn’t use a lot of recipes from this book because some were not things I thought the kids would love to eat. But I loved the concept of this – each child would take 2 Tbsp. flour, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 Tbsp. butter (for example) and mix it together in a small cup, and it would make just a single serving – something like 2 cookies or 1 biscuit, etc. With Cup Cooking each child added ALL the ingredients for the recipe for their own single serving.
Today Owen and I made a recipe that I always called Ghost Toast. In Kindergarten we made these around Halloween time – but I found a recipe that calls it Rainbow Toast – great for during a weather unit – or any time you want a fun, simple recipe that almost all children will love.
First we got out the supplies we would need.
Then we put 2-3 drops of food coloring into a small amount of milk in each bowl.
I bought new inexpensive paintbrushes at a Dollar Store.
We used the paintbrushes to paint a picture on the bread.
Owen (at 2 1/2) is not into recognizable pictures yet! I drew a few simple shapes – they might not be very recognizable either!
When we did this for Halloween I modeled a crescent moon, ghost, etc.
Owen spread his own butter.
I found this recipe for Rainbow Toast in one of my books – it is the same basic idea.
Cooking is such a fun, worthwhile activity. If you are considering it for this new school year I’d really encourage you to give it a try! I will be sharing more recipes soon!