Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Pumpkin Pie Adventure

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia. It's not our celebration. We do however tend to jump on any ol' bandwagon that's passing and appears to have tasty food.As it turns out... Pumpkin pie is one tasty dish. One of my  spec. ed. students asked me about pumpkin pie sometime last week and being a bit busy at the time (and not really knowing the answer to his question anyway) I suggested he do some research. Long story short: the research turned into a proposal that resulted in me agreeing to cooking pumpkin pie with the class today.

Which I promptly forgot. (I teach this class Wednesday - Friday and so I didn't have the benefit of constant reminders earlier in the week.) Thank goodness that we're nearing Christmas and our Christian Pastoral Support Worker was baking spice cookies with another class yesterday which jolted me into remembering. Phew! 

The research my student did included a (very simple to follow) recipe which I modified a little to suit the fact that there just wasn't going to be enough time to make pastry as well as the filling and bake big pies. I originally thought to buy a couple of big unfilled pie shells but decided, in the end, to go with mini ones. What. A. Good. Move. For a whole bunch of reasons;  not the least of which was a MUCH reduced cooking time and no need to cut anything.

So I cooked up the pumpkin last night and gathered my spices. In this house we're big 'from scratch' food/cooking fans and so we have a nice collection of spices, both whole and ground. I packed everything I could possibly need to make a pumpkin pie. Except a mixing bowl. Or mixing spoon. Ooops. Lucky our canteen manager is an angel and was willing to lend them to me.

I started our session by talking about all the various things we needed. We handed around the whole and ground spices to compare the smell, look and feel. It was delightful to hear the associations many of the smells held for the children. We also talked a little about the various uses for the spices. The idea of 'shoving' a whole clove into an infected tooth made them all a little more friendlier toward their dentists I think!

Everyone had a turn of measuring, mixing, pouring etc. We're a small class (12 on the roll but usually only 8 or 9 students) which meant everyone was involved all the way through. Right up until the bell for recess went when I was left holding the baby filling the shells. Ha! 

The pies came back to our classroom to cool. Oh. My. Goodness. Not a clever idea. They smelt amazing. The temptation to 'check on them' was too great for a few of us so it was with sweet relief that lunchtime arrived and I invited the children to taste their handiwork.

Resounding success. Not only did they all love eating the pies, but they were so proud that they wanted to share the leftovers with the principal and their buddy class teachers. It was such a delight to see them scurry off to spread the love. 

As you would expect from me, I did manage to squeeze some literacy into the activity also. We co-constructed a procedural text on 'how to make pumpkin pie'. It made me realise how I long to teach a class  fulltime (and not at the end of the year) so that I can build whole units of work that incorporate activities like this. Ooooh... Integrating cooking, life skills and art with a procedural text unit in a spec. ed. class! Oooh! Ooops. Sorry. I digress. Only a couple of the children managed to get much down on paper but it was a valuable exercise in recall, recounting our process, and talking about the features of a procedural text. Tomorrow they'll write recounts of the activity, right through to the eating! I love helping each child at their point in ability and development to achieve writing success. Whether it's a scaffolded format with sentence starters, or a proforma that requires minimal writing (there's at least one child for whom the physical act of writing is a challenge at the moment) or even allowing them to speak their text... I LOVE seeing the sense of accomplishment on their faces.  Again, I digress. 

So there you have my pumpkin pie adventure. I realised last night, while at the store buying pumpkin, that Thanksgiving is this week in the US so it's all rather fortuitously timed. I have a load of the filling left and think I might make a big one for the family tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving to all my US friends. (And a belated greeting to my Canadian friends for a few weeks ago.)

This relates to the following Australian Professional Standards for Teachers...
Standard 1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
Standard 1.6 Strategies to support full participation of students with disability
Standard 2.5 Literacy and numeracy strategies
Standard 3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programmes
Standard 3.3 Use teaching strategies 
Standard 4.1 Support student participation
Standard 4.4 Maintain student safety 

No comments:

Post a Comment