Two days before our visit to Jermaine Williams’ classroom, I received the following email:
That’s right, Chef Williams was inviting me to join his class and truly experience what it’s like to be a culinary student at St. Georges Technical High School. There would even be a uniform! Obviously, I accepted the challenge.
When we arrived at St. Georges on the morning of our visit, we met with Jermaine and received our uniforms. As students arrived, they donned their culinary gear and prepared to enter the kitchen. At St. Georges, 11th grade culinary students prepare the lunch served in the staff cafeteria, in addition to preparing the food for other special events. Our task was to join them in their daily tasks to prepare the day’s lunch. On the menu the day of our visit: pork chop marsala, crab cakes, broccoli cheddar soup, crab and corn chowder, roasted veggies, pumpkin roll, and double chocolate chip cookies.
Each week, students in Jermaine’s class rotate through a different station in the meal preparation process. The stations include: dishwasher, salad, soup, entrée, dessert, and dining room setup. During our time in the class, we each rotated through three different stations and worked alongside the students to prepare for the lunchtime rush. We had so much fun working with Jermaine and his students—I even learned how to properly julienne a carrot.
Working alongside the students was a great way to learn about St. Georges CTE programs from their perspective. Several of the 11th graders we worked with were already thinking about where they wanted to do their co-op programs next year, when students spend half their school day off campus working.
At the end of the day, we got to sample our hard work—Jermaine invited us to stay for lunch. The spread was impressive and Jermaine’s 10th graders—who serve lunch in the staff cafeteria every day—were courteous and professional. Thanks to Jermaine and all of his students for hosting us and teaching us a thing or two. The culinary challenge was a huge success!
If you haven’t heard of Flocabulary yet, you should check them out immediately.
Rodel Teacher Council member Shani Benson first introduced me to Flocabulary–sort of a “Schoolhouse Rock!” for the modern era–when we rocked out to “Three Branches of Government” during a visit to Shani’s class at South Dover Elementary School last week. When the video came on during the class’s afternoon snack time, third graders jumped to their feet to start singing the lyrics and dancing to the music.
That vibe and high energy remained consistent during math time, when “Super Small Math Groups!” rotated through a variety of activities, based on their needs.
As you can see, some the activities ranged from computer practice, to group activities with teachers, to independent games, all tailored to students’ specific needs and interests. Students were engaged in their work and Shani and her co-teacher helped their groups to stay focused while facilitating activities specialized for each group. Teacher-led groups focused on creating tables and pictograms to organize data sets. The room hummed with lively activity, as students moved from station to station intent on finishing their work for the day.
But how did Shani and her co-teacher know which students to group together, and which activities each group needed to complete?
“I administered the STAR Math assessment and analyzed students’ results,” she said. “I then included other factors, such as classroom behavior and students who may or may not have provided a valid result on the test on the day it was administered. With the report, I am able to determine where the areas of weakness are. I can locate activities for those standards and target the areas to provide a well-rounded experience for the student to meet individual needs.”
Based on the focus and energy in the room, it’s clear that Shani and her co-teacher did a great job pinpointing exactly what each student needed that day, and how to deliver instruction to each individual.
Thanks to Shani and her students for welcoming me to South Dover Elementary School!
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