SOAR Cooking Club

What is the secret to having a good time at SOAR? According to Group 5 at Grace Hill, the answer is food! Offered only for our oldest students this semester, Cooking Club is always a hit. Student chefs try a new recipe every week. So far we have made French toast and pasta salad, and upcoming weeks will feature broccoli cheddar soup, stir fry, and meatballs. 

Cooking is a fun, engaging way to practice many different skills. Students are given a printed recipe to work through, so reading and following directions are key. Our 4th and 5th graders are familiar with fractions, a skill they need to use measuring cups and spoons. We encourage independent work as much as possible (even though sometimes it gets a little messy!), so groups know to work together to answer questions before asking a staff member. 

Teamwork is essential in cooking club. The first week, students were divided into groups of four, which will be their cooking teams for the semester. Together, teams are responsible for reading the recipe thoroughly, gathering materials and ingredients, and carefully following the recipe's instructions. Students practice being kind and respectful (two of the SOAR Six!) by distributing duties evenly and making sure each group member gets to participate. So far, we have been very impressed by the teamwork our oldest students have displayed!

Cooking Club is also designed to introduce students to new foods and includes nutrition education. Students are more likely to try foods they have been involved in making -- for example, some of our students tried raw broccoli for the first time in their pasta salad last week! As the semester goes on, we will discuss the MyPlate model, the benefits of each food group, and the importance of choosing a variety of foods from each group to create a healthy diet. The recipes selected for Cooking Club are chosen to give students the ability to make delicious foods from all five food groups!

When asked why they enjoy Cooking Club, student chefs said, "It's different and fun," "I like learning how to make stuff I can cook at home," and "We get to eat!" Fifth grade student Kevin even said, "We should come to school on Saturday so we can have more Cooking Club!" Although only Group 5 is currently participating in Cooking Club, it will be back by popular demand next cycle so more students can have the opportunity to join. If you have a student in Cooking Club, ask them to show you what they've learned!

Garden Club at Parson Hills

Last year the SOAR students assisted in building and creating the garden at Parson Hills Elementary. We started out with six empty raised garden beds. The students decided what type of vegetation they wanted to grow and harvest. They choose to do lettuce, mint, onions, cabbage, spinach, and cauliflower. After getting all our seeds to plant we did research on the proper way to plant and grow all these vegetables. The students in Garden Club were the ones to do all the research and preparation. Once the students completed their research with the help of the group leaders, they began to create plans of how to begin the process of starting the garden. The students were so excited to see their plants grow and couldn't wait to come back the next day to see which ones have grown. This was really sweet because they were so excited to see their plants but we had the opportunity to talk about patience and how it takes a long time for the seeds to grow but during that time we still have to take care of them. So the students made schedules of who was watering and tending to the garden throughout the week.

After a few months students helped design a fence to go around the garden so that we could keep all critters out.  The students were able to build the entire fence with the help of their group leaders. Being able to observe the students grow in confidence and take pride in their work was incredible. SOAR garden club was a huge success and taught students to be confident in their work, the importance of working with others and to practice patience. It's exciting to see what our garden club holds this coming spring.