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Tasty Tuesday

     I'm willing to bet that you've heard more than one kid say, "I don't know what to write about".  Despite compiling lists in writer's notebooks, reading a great model text, brainstorming sessions that take up the whole board and cartwheeling across the classroom with rollerblades on, it's almost inevitable that ONE kid will utter that sentence that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. That sentence to which you want to respond, "Are you kidding me right now?", but of course you don't. Well, most of the time you don't.
      I consider myself a good if not better-than-most writing teacher. I've been a National Writing Project trainer, I've given countless inservices to other teachers, I keep current by reading and participating in various forms of teaching media, I spent a year as writing specialist and yet I, too, was faced with that sentence from time to time. I'll admit, it can be maddening.
    Then one day I stumbled upon an idea called Tasty Tuesday. I was hooked immediately. Kids would follow a recipe once a month and then write a recipe review. Eating and writing - my two loves, joined together in my classroom? Yes, this could be good. Very good.


    It did not take much prompting to convince the eleven other 2nd grade teachers on my team to get on board. We quickly got down to business researching recipes and before long we had enough ideas to make this a weekly project, let alone a monthly one. My teammates are cool like that - lots of enthusiasm. It helped that we decided to use this as our year end parent involvement activity. We had been hosting a Chicken Soup for the Soul event for a few years and we were itching for a change.
     We decided to try different recipes and then discuss which worked well and which didn't. Let's just say that it's the rare child that likes coconut or black licorice. Getting them to admit liking vegetables in front of their friends was also tricky business. But, surprise! Every kid digs dessert. So, that's the path we chose. It's been sweet sailing this year as we haven't been trying to coax kids into eating hummus smeared celery sticks under the guise of healthier snacking.
     To those of you who bristle at the thought of a dessert-centered cooking program, I offer these rationalizations. I'm very good at rationalizing something I really, really want. Just ask my husband: 1. It's once a month 2. Our school no longer offers dessert with lunch 3. Even the pickiest eaters will try most sweet treats and 4. It's just plain fun!
     If it still bothers you, just take the kids out for an extra recess (see my rationalizing skills at work?)  Unfortunately, for some this may be out of your control. I feel for you, I really do. That may well be the case for me someday. But until I'm forced to make a turkey out of gluten free rice cakes, cherry tomatoes and a non fat cheese stick, I'm sticking to the cupcakes and candy corn.

Perhaps you're in the mood for something more exotic?

For the culminating event, we invite the parents to our last Tasty Tuesday. Together parent and child complete the final recipe and the students proudly show off their cookbook. 
Such a beautiful family - inside and out!
     Now, I still get the occasional kid who can't think of ONE blessed thing to write about, but it's never, ever on a Tasty Tuesday. I adapted this from an idea I read about, but since the beginning I found my own recipes, made my own forms and presented it in my own way. You can certainly do the same and it will be worth every minute. However, if you are interested in trying this program with your kids without starting from scratch, I just listed a complete Tasty Tuesday guide in my Teachers Pay Teachers store with 14 recipes, pictures and every form you could ever need. Click here to check it out.
     This year, my class was even featured in a community magazine after the editor heard about our little venture. It was a pretty exciting day for us. You can read about it here.
     I'm sure if I tried hard enough I could incorporate some jellybeans and chocolate chips into just about every subject, but I guess I should leave well enough alone. Besides, how many extra recesses can a class have?

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful idea! I think it is so important to get kids to write about real experiences, no wonder it works so well for you :)

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  2. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing!

    Amanda
    thirdgradeexperience.blogspot.com

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  3. You should totally join VCRocks on yahoo- we do Tasty Tuesday's :)


    Jennifer

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  4. I love this, I so look forward to your posts....even my husband "knows" you because I show him all your pictures!
    Can't wait to get this from TPT!
    Have a great week,
    ~Fern
    Fern-Smith.Blogspot.com

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  5. Thanks so much for the idea! I will check it out at your store.

    Heather at Teach It Today!

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