Thursday, October 6, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

So much to tell:
of biscuits at Open House
and free gifts
and the upcoming first dish we'll prepare for the whole school.

But first...
in recognition of the completion of the first six weeks of school, I decided to do a bookmaking project with the class. I have been trying to figure out the best way to send home the recipes we've made so that there's a feeling of ceremony and celebration to it; copying them off, stapling them, and sending them home at the end of the week didn't quite feel like the way to go. All along I've had in the back of my mind that we would make a book and glue in the recipes along with other related information, but in the busyness of the beginning of the year, I hadn't figured out what the book format would be.

Then I realized that rather than creating one book per student with a collection of the year's recipes in it, it would make more sense to have a book for each unit throughout the year. My school uses the Responsive Classroom model which envisions the first six weeks of school as an important time for setting up routines, establishing expectations, and building community. The cooking we've done so far has not tied into any specific academic curriculum, but it has been an essential part of the development of the classroom community.

I have done workshops on simple bookmaking, and drew on what I've done before to design the books we made this week. There was absolutely NO WAY this project would have been possible, though, without the amazing efficiency of Barb, a classroom assistant. She spends just under an hour and a half in my room each day and accomplishes more in that ninety minutes that most of us mere mortals can do in a whole day! After my room, she's off to three more classrooms for the rest of her workday.

Monday morning I told her what I was hoping to do and she got to work cutting paper for the book pages. Monday afternoon the kids watercolored paper for their book covers and Tuesday morning she cut them up into fronts and backs. And so on. I am VERY lucky to have Barb on my team!

The kids spent their writing time this week looking back at the articles we read about the vegetables we've worked with. Then, on notecards, they wrote out facts and opinions about the foods we prepared. They also sketched these foods as illustrations.

Message from the Wisdom of Hindsight: next time have kids do these cards within a day or two of the food experience.

Yesterday we bound the books blank; today they glued in the recipes I had typed and the writing and artwork they had created.

Tonight they showed off their books at Open House. Tomorrow they'll do the last cards about biscuits (baked this afternoon), and then take the books home. Hopefully they'll try the recipes with their parents.

Here's how the books work. Recipes in the front, their work inside the flaps:

Okay, okay. I'll never be a hand model. You try holding an iPad and taking video with one hand while turning the pages with the other, and let me know how it goes.

Coming soon: biscuits and more. Stay tuned..

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