boy with hamburger that looks like a face
Proud student chef

Litzsinger teacher Angela Slape has received a Dana Brown Teacher Mini-grant for Get Cooking with the All-Stars for seven years. She says, “Cooking naturally develops so many of the skills we teach in the classroom: math, social skills, following directions, and many executive functioning skills.”

The mini-grant is designed to teach students how to work together as a team each week to prepare healthy, seasonal snacks based on the five food groups. Each Monday the group votes to select a recipe that they will prepare the following Friday. In the meantime, students help type the recipes, locate ingredients and materials, and research costs online, all in preparation for cooking. Recipes are easy to replicate at home with the recipe books they receive.

Slape reports, “One of the best lessons from ‘Get Cooking with the All-Stars’ is the way the students gradually take over responsibility of the cooking lesson. When we start the cooking class, it is based on teacher-directed learning. We go over safety, cleanliness, proper use of cooking tools and a lot of hand-over-hand teaching. Towards the end of the year, students naturally take responsibility for the lesson. This past class was great at establishing who would read the recipe, who would clean, and breaking up the recipe into manageable pieces. It was lot of fun to watch them learn and grow as a team. Cooking together naturally taught them to help one another if they wanted to eat!” She reports that the class provides students with additional lessons on developing rhythm in the kitchen – how to stir just so, how to pay attention to really mixing all ingredients, applying enough pressure to cut fruit for a smoothie, etc.

Dana Brown Mini-grants provide support to SSD teachers for their innovative programs that help their students learn and interact. The deadline for applications is January 18, 2021.