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Recipe Ring with Kindergarteners

Written by Jenicia Anderson
June 16, 2021

Over the past three years, I have noticed a decline in students who are willing to write. I have also noticed how there is little to no emphasis placed on teaching writing within the classroom. Oftentimes, when I observe other teachers, I notice how they are practically doing most of the writing for their students, or “teaching” it in a way that is not interesting. This past schoolyear, however, I was exposed to some writing strategies that would change this narrative and benefit not only myself but my colleagues as well. When my professor, Dr. R. Harper, informed me about the writing project, and its benefits, I knew I could not pass on the offer to participate. In the beginning, I did assume the meetings would consist of educators writing about how writing is beneficial to students, how we can implement it, why we should incorporate more writing, etc. After attending some of the meetings from the National Writing Project (NWP), I began to understand that it was more to it than that. The meetings actually included outlets for educators to network, share ideas/strategies with one another across the country, and ways we can get our entire school on board with writing.

Several speakers who attended the meetings, would share past experiences with us that we could possibly use within our class and school. The only drawback with most of their projects/ideas, was that they were able to complete them during a “normal” schoolyear. Their students were able to be in close proximity with one another and consisted of more participants. Being that this year’s writing project occurred during a pandemic, made it difficult for us to do anything that did not follow CDC guidelines. Therefore, we would have to think “outside the box” and find ways to get students involved in writing virtually and face-to-face.

As time went on, I was finally able to come up with something that incorporated virtual and in-person students. My project lasted two weeks and was extremely simple for my kindergartners and their parents to complete.

Week 1:

    • I read the book “Everybody Cooks Rice” by Norah Dooley (parents also received the link to the read aloud)
    • Students shared what meal they like to eat with rice
    • Students chose a brown paper sack that consisted of a can of vegetables, an index card, and a bag of rice (each bag had a different can of vegetables and a different flavor of rice…no bag was the same
    • Students went home and listened to the book again with their parents
    • Families used the items in the bag to make a meal (they had until Thursday to complete the task/assignment)
    • Students wrote what kind of meal they made with their family member on one side of the index card
    • Parents wrote the steps/directions down on the other side of the index card
    • Parents took pictures and posted them to their child’s Dojo
    • Students returned their index card that Friday
    • I shared the submitted photos with the class. As I showed the photos/videos, that student would stand and share what kind of meal they made. They also discussed the ingredients, steps, likes and dislikes. Needless to say, several of them could do without the veggies 😊


Week 2:

    • I read the book ”Carla’s Sandwich” by Debbie Herman (parents were sent the link to the read aloud)
    • Students discussed which sandwich they would be willing to eat and which they would never eat
    • Students with home and listened to the story again with their parents/family member
    • Students used the index card to write a grocery list for the items they need for the sandwich they wish to try (cards had to be returned by Wednesday so I could purchase the items)
    • On Thursday, items were bagged for each students’ sandwich and sent home with them
    • Students went home and made their sandwich with their family member
    • Parents bagged and sent the sandwich to school the next day for them to try
    • Students returned Friday and tried them during lunch (this was done outside in a picnic-like setting)
    • Students discussed what was on their sandwich and if they liked them or not.

At the end of the year, I put all of the index cards together, made copies of each card, and placed them on a ring. The recipe rings were given to students for them to keep and add to as they get older. Students also received a copy of both books that were used for the project.