COPPERAS COVE — Clements/Parsons Elementary students enjoy reading and their dedication to reading their favorite genres paid off, not only in cold hard cash but also in a tasty literary lesson.
Under the direction of school librarian, Robin Spencer, students participated in the HEB Read 3 Contest, capturing second place in the state for having the highest number of per capita students reading on a designated day. This earned the school a cash prize of $250.
Spencer worked to find a way to spend the $250 on something from which all students could benefit.
“It was important to me to spend the money on each student, and with an HEB card to spend, I immediately thought of cooking from a procedural text book,” Spencer said. “This way, all classes could make something and then enjoy eating it.”
Spencer chose A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins, a book on a past Bluebonnet list, on which to focus the lesson. The book is a story about a dessert, blackberry fool, a recipe that has stood the test of time over the past four centuries. The book reviews how, over time, tools and what is used to prepare the dessert has changed but the ingredients and its popularity have remained the same. The book’s illustrations show how houses, clothing and appliances have changed since the early 1700s.
After listening to the story and observing the changes over the centuries, it was time for cooking.
In addition to improving their reading skills, the lesson also including teachings in math and science as the students measured the ingredients and used various tools to whip the cream and strain the seeds from the berries.
Each group rotated through different stations so they all had a chance to try various tools. A sieve was new to most of the students who commented that the feel of the cooking took was very different. Students also used a whisk, rotary beaters and an electric mixer to observe how much longer the hand tools took to thicken the cream.
While the mixture was thickening, students checked out their library books and then were able to sample their cooking. Third grader Emma Greves found the preparation of the dessert much easy using today’s technological advances.
“I felt that it was difficult to press the berries through the sieve. But, using the mixer was easy since it what I am used to using at home,” Greves said. “It was great to eat what we cooked.”
Student Johnny Lara expressed the opposite opinion as all of the tools, old and new, were something he had not experienced before.
“It was hard to use the rotary beater,” he said, smiling and licking his lips. “It tastes kind of like yogurt, but more creamy.”
To quote the book, “Mmmmmm, what a fine dessert!”