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Helping Students Learn How To Cook — Virtually

Persell Middle School Family & Consumer Science teacher, Marcy Miller, makes waffles as fellow teacher, Sarah Olson, zooms in for sixth grader students who are watching through Zoom. Ms. Miller does a virtual cooking show every Friday.

“What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?” asked Persell Middle School Family & Consumer Science teacher, Marcy Miller, to her virtual class.

“One has acid and one doesn’t,” said a student.

“Yes, baking powder has acid and soda doesn’t. We will be using baking powder today as we make waffles,” said Ms. Miller who was beaming her show, “Cooking with Ms. Miller,” to six grade students with the help from teacher Sarah Olson.

That day, Ms. Miller was showing the student how to make waffles, both regular and Belgium, and to put fruit on the final product. Some of the students, like Nyeisha Ruiz-Torres, were cooking along at home and others just watched and will try out the recipe later with their families. If the kids do try it later, they take photos and upload them to Google Classroom for extra credit. Some of recipes the show has highlighted are: Sunny-Side-Up Breakfast Pizza, chocolate chip muffins, breakfast burritos and pancakes. Ms. Miller chooses recipes with items most families will have in their pantry.

Ms. Miller started the virtual cooking show because students were missing out on the best, and favorite, parts of FACS… the hands on options. She could not bring them to her classroom because of COVID restrictions but, because they are full remote, she could bring the class to them through demonstrations. Mrs. Olson helps every week but Ms. Miller also has guest chefs such as School Counselor, Alycia Johnson, and teacher, Katie Derrenbacher.

The virtual cooking show is super interactive and engaging. Ms. Miller goes through the process step-by-step ensuring the kids know how to measure ingredients properly, what tools are needed to create the waffles while Mrs. Olson ensures that the kids can see that is happening up close. The two teachers also talk to the kids about how they are doing and also, just have fun.

“We love doing the virtual cooking show every Friday with the kids,” said Ms. Miller. ” The Cooking Show is as much about social emotional learning as it is the techniques of cooking and measuring. There are a lot of conversations going on, not only with me as the teacher, but also between students. We all get to see each other without masks, find out what’s going on in their lives and they are getting so excited about cooking!”

In addition to cooking segments, the teachers are trying to find ways to give the students other experiences. To go along with the waffle and pancake shows, Mrs. Olson asked her sister-in-law, whose family makes maple syrup, to take them on a virtual field trip to their “sugar shack” to see how maple syrup is made.

“I really like doing the cooking show,” said Persell Middle School sixth grader, Camryn Storms. “I like adding new foods and recipes to my cookbook. I loved learning how to make muffins.”

The kids’ families are loving the cooking show too.

“In my free time, I’m trying out the recipes. Omelets are my favorite. I make them with peppers, onions and cheese,” said Persell Middle School sixth grader, Chloe Lundberg. “My family is pretty excited that I’m learning how to cook. They are benefiting from my new cooking skills.”

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