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Adding a Little Flavor

Critical Thinking

4 powerful ingredients that all classrooms need to include on a daily basis to produce a delicious, well-balanced lesson. I discuss student ownership on a weekly basis in my blog posts, and today is no exception. This week, I have been visiting Family and Consumer Science classes and learning about the classes and skills they offer our students. The creative, original work created by our students is quite impressive and fun to observe. After talking with our teachers and questioning students about their activities, I realized the 4C's are permanent ingredients in the FACS classes to create innovative recipes for student learning. 

Culinary Creations
Wow - our school offers awesome culinary classes for our students, and while I've visited in the past, this week was different as I had the chance to talk to both the teachers and students about their work. In just one day, I witnessed the process of baking croissants, planning for a cupcake war, and a slider competition. It was pretty awesome. 

In Ms. Kim Marach's International and Regional Cooking class, the students busily worked to prepare croissants that would be baked the following day. This process was tedious, as the students had to follow directions, be precise, work together, and provide constant care and attention. Ms. Marach explained to me the differences in teaching baking vs. teaching cooking. When baking, a recipe must be followed closely, as one little mistake can ruin the entire creation. When cooking, students can add their own flavor to recipes in order to enhance and transform. Both require various skills in order to produce a delicious outcome...something I would witness later in the day.

In Senior Foods, Ms. Megan Jensen and Ms. Kathy Tichelbaut's students were cooking up a storm as they prepared sliders for a panel of judges. I actually got to witness this final process of this Slider Competition, which was pretty awesome since I saw Ms. Marach's classes in the planning stages for a similar project: the Cupcake War Competition.  While all groups had to include essential parts of the recipe, each group's task was to create delicious, original, and flavorful sliders and present them in a creative, purposeful way to the judges. As I walked around the room and asked students questions while they were finalizing their creations, it was refreshing to see them working together and to ask them to articulate their recipes and plans of action for presentation. 
  • Students were creative: they had to experiment with different flavors and decide on what would taste best together. They had to design and implement a creative presentation for their sliders in order to showcase their work. If they wanted to win the competition, students had to own their recipes and make them original. 
  • Students were collaborative: they worked together to design a recipe and share their personal preferences. They had to divide, conquer, and touch base about the different parts of the process. Since they were questioned by the judges, all group members needed to be up to speed on all parts of the process. 
  • Students were critical thinkers: they had to determine what tasted good together and how to go about making the burger flavorful. What additions are needed? What seasoning needs to be added? What dipping sauce might compliment the meat? Ultimately, they had to consider their audience - the person eating the slider - and what might appeal to their taste buds. Students also had to improvise at times if the ingredients they needed were not available. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to flavor, so they had their work cut out for them. 
  • Students were communicative: When presenting their sliders to the judges, students had to provide an overview of their recipe and a rationale for their choices. They were put on the spot as they were questioned about choices, flavors, and the process behind the slider. Students had to know their content and be able to make an argument for their creations. In the hot seat, students were uncomfortable waiting for praise and additional questions; however, this type of situation is a wonderful simulation of different situations they will experience in the future. Students were also asked to create a slide on their Chromebooks in order to provide another visual, communicative component for their food. 
Adding a little flavor to the classroom is never easy; however, the consistent use of the 4C's will make any classroom environment more innovative and student-centered. Definitely a recipe for success! Bon app├ętit! #whatsup