Daily Schedule

Friday, September 23, 2016

History, Social Studies, Hard Work, and a Delicious Treat

I often find that picture books and cookery go together in a way that brings cultural learning and history alive to young children. Using hands-on, experiential learning opportunities is something I think S-K does particularly well. This morning, both first and second grade classes listened to a book called Berry Magic. This is a pourquoi Eskimo tale of how different and delicious berries came to be. At the end of the book, there was a recipe for Akutaq, which included lard, sugar, juice, whitefish, and berries. We decided that this was not too delicious sounding, and I think children were a bit worried about afternoon snack. We then took to the buses and went to the berry farm, and came back with many quart baskets of red and golden berries.

In the afternoon, I read another book – this one is called A Fine Dessert. This beautifully illustrated book looks at four different families - a girl and her mom in England in 1710, a mother and daughter in South Carolina in 1801 (a slave family working on a plantation), a young girl and her mother in Boston in 1901, and finally a father and son in present time. After reading it, we went back page by page and talked about how life was different. I wanted to also talk to the children about the controversy this book generated, due to the “whitewashing” of the slavery pages. It was an interesting and very thoughtful discussion. We also talked about the role of women and girls throughout history.

Anyway, all four families made the same dessert - a blackberry fool. But the WAY they made it differed greatly. The way the cream was collected (or delivered or purchased, as the case may be), to the way the dessert was kept cold, to the way the cream was whipped - all were signs of developing technology and changing times. It got quicker and easier to make the dessert each time, but it was delicious EVERY time.

As I read, I pulled out each tool that was used in the book - a bundle of sticks, a wire whisk, a hand-held rotary beater, and an electric beater. Children got a chance to use each tool in order to help make this afternoon's delicious snack. The students were very happy to make raspberry fool, rather than akutaq!

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