Back when I taught preschool special education, one of my favorite activities to do with the kids revolved around snack lessons. First of all, I was guaranteed a captive audience, and secondly, they were highly motivated to listen and learn. Most of my little ones were receiving speech and or occupational therapy, and cooking activities provided some of the best opportunities for learning and practice that we had all day.
Fast forward five years, take away 11 of the children and the 2 teaching assistants, and I'm at it again. But this time, it's with my own daughter, and I teach within our home and the context of our everyday lives around town.
But I still love cooking activities...
So imagine my glee when I was going through Abby's curriculum and found a snack lesson for one of the books we're reading right now (Lentil, for all you Five-in-a-Rowers out there). After a quick stop to Publix this morning for lemons and sugar, we were ready to tackle the lesson. In Lentil, grumpy Old Sneep sucks on lemons, and in turn, makes everyone's lips pucker up. As if right on cue, Abby asked why lemons make your mouth "squench up", so I eagerly said, "Let's head to the kitchen and find out."
The beauty of cooking activities is that they provide a fun, motivating, and hands-on lesson in just about every subject you can imagine. Today, we did some math and talked about the relationship between a whole, two halves, and four quarters...
Then we moved on to the question of the day and talked about science and human anatomy by learning about different types of taste buds. First sour (I think Abby gets it now)...
We also learned about measuring, sequencing, following directions, and temperature, to name a few more. And in the end, we had a delicious glass of homemade lemonade to reward us for our work.
We did have one tiny glitch, but I think it actually worked in Abby's favor (at least in her eyes). Either I misread the directions (great teacher, huh?) or this recipe was actually for Homemade Lemon-Flavored Syrup.
We finally stopped adding sugar after the fifth cup (in only two cups of water) because my exceptional culinary skills were alerting me to the fact that the water was actually getting thick in consistency as we stirred. I debated on whether or not to tack on the last three cups the recipe supposedly called for (I'm totally leaving the door open for this being my misreading!), but in the end, we decided 2.5 cups of sugar for every cup of water was probably sufficient.
And besides, a sugar high can have its perks, right? After all, it only took me 23 seconds to type this whole post!!