But how do you convince administration that you should be cooking in the classroom, where do you ever start, and what does it even look like? How does it all work?
If convincing administration that you should be cooking in your classroom is your biggest problem, consider it solved. Here is a minor list of skills students work on with every cooking lesson:
- social skills
- wait time / patience
- math (adding, doubling, time, measurement…)
- science (reactions when you mix ingredients, STEM!)
- following directions / sequencing a task
- life skills of using a kitchen / kitchen safety
- …and so much more!
The list goes on and on.
Think back to when you first learned to make a PBJ. That, at least for me, was an epic day… and it still is, considering it is one of the 5 things that I can cook and not mess up.
Anyway, the first time you made a PBJ it all by yourself, how excited were you?! How proud were you? How proud were your parents?!
Cooking is kind of one of those rights of passage that you just learn over time. Well now it’s time for our students to start cooking even earlier in life and you can be the one to make it happen! (read more below about how I get parents on board and excited too!)
So how do you plan for cooking in the classroom?
Like you plan for everything else, you will plan with a calendar. Choose one day of the week or one date each month that you will dedicate a lesson to cooking. It could be every Friday you cook in the morning (that’s what we do in my classroom), or you could do a quick cooking lesson the day after you finish a big math unit. It’s all up to you.
But how do you get parents on board with cooking in the classroom?
We see so many students with food allergies these days, that we need to be careful when planning for cooking.
One thing I do to reassure parents is send a permission form home each month, listing out all of the recipes and ingredients we will be cooking with that month. I do send the form home at least 1 week ahead of time, giving me a chance to make alternative snack preparations for students who have allergies.
On the days we cook, I also send home the recipes mats students completed in class. The no bake recipe card goes home with each child too, as well as a student survey that each child completes after trying the recipe… this gives parents information on new foods their child may like, as well as an activity they can do with their child at home. THIS builds buy in.
You probably think you don’t have time for cooking in the classroom, right? Between assessments, data collection, and everything else… cooking just cannot fit into your schedule.
Sorry to be the bearer of good news, friend, but it can.
Here is a quick snapshot into what cooking in the classroom looks like in my self-contained, special needs classroom:
- Thursday – we complete the visual recipe sequencing mat. This substitutes as our fine motor lesson for the day, as students need to cut and paste. It also helps build our communication skills.
- Friday Morning – we cook recipes in the morning from 9-930ish. We then finish our ELA lesson, go to recess and lunch. When we come back (around 11:15AM), we divide up servings for snack (which is later in the day) and save one snack serving for each student.
- Friday Afternoon – every Friday in the early afternoon we pass out servings of our recipe to teachers and staff in the building. We use our core boards and communication skills to ask teachers and staff if they would like a serving of what we’ve cooked. (This step may be omitted for larger class sizes, or students could take turns each week.)
Now that we’ve covered the logistics of the why and the how, let’s talk about the what.
What recipes can you make in your classroom throughout the year that you don’t need a stove or an oven for? Better yet, there can’t possibly be enough recipes out there that are easy enough for elementary students to cook. I’m kidding…
There are so many recipes out there for you to use in your classroom, it’s kind of crazy. Some are definitely more simple than others and there might be some that you just can’t touch (insert peanut allergy here).
With my Fun Food Friday pack, I’ve planned it all out for you, Friday by Friday for the entire school year. Not only do you get 39 total recipes and the cooking calendar, you get the whole enchilada (I kid again, those aren’t on the classroom menu). You get a step-by-step activity mat for every single recipe, the calendar includes ingredients on it, and there’s a boy and girl version of the allergy permission slip for you to send home at the beginning of each month.
With the No Bake Visual Recipes Bundle, you get 5 recipes for each month of the year, totaling 60 no bake visual recipes. The best part is that this unit uses REAL PICTURES of each step of the recipe.
Each month’s recipes come with:
• Recipe card (that lists kitchen tools and ingredients needed) and recipe survey
• Visual recipe and sequencing mat
• Adapted visual recipe workpages / file folder
• 4” sequencing cards
• Comprehension questions
Try both out for free to see how engaging and beneficial cooking in the classroom is. I promise you, your classroom will be forever changed.
KEEP READING: The only kitchen supplies you need for cooking in the classroom. Find out what they are here.
What do you think about cooking in the classroom? What questions do you still have?