It wasn’t the statewide reading test that made it a great week for 3rd grade. The first day of that was a disaster, with computer glitches that had one group of test-takers sitting bored for almost 2 hours waiting just to get logged in.
The great part of the week in Room 16 was reading Jalapeno Bagels and then making the bagels. This is the second year the classroom teacher has done this project, and the first time I participated. It was wonderful! Some kids had never helped make any kind of dough before. They were all curious and actively involved. It was entertaining for the teachers to see the reactions to touching the dough (with plastic gloves on) and kneading it and watching it change. Those who had the first few turns while the dough was still sticky envied those who kneaded the smooth, almost finished product. When the dough was left to rest and rise while they went to gym, they couldn’t wait to see how it would look when they came back- some wildly predicted that it would be so big it would overflow from the bowls. Still, they were impressed to see what actually happened. Each student got their own piece of dough to shape into a rope and then form into a bagel. Each bagel seemed to have its own personality, just like the kids.
Their teacher took the bagels home to boil and bake. Today was the big reveal and tasting party. All but two kids tried their bagels along with some cream cheese (surprisingly, both these foods were new to most). Of the two who just wouldn’t try the bagel, one ended up putting hers in the trash after smearing the cream cheese all over it with her fingers and the other put hers into a baggie to take home for dad. As all the others tasted their bagels, there were lots of exclamations over the spicy jalapeno and red pepper flakes. Some were saying “Yum!” and others were saying “Ow!” Most ate the whole thing once they got started, though a few just took a timid bite for two.
The party was even better because this week was our international week, and like the boy in the story, students in our school were celebrating their heritage. Several students brought things to share. Pride glowed on their faces as they talked about the objects they brought and told their stories. Classmates were genuinely interested and asked insightful questions. A great day of learning was enjoyed by one and all!