The Year 8 STRIVE (Success, Try, Reach, Individual, Visualise and Encouragement) class is charged with catering for afternoon tea at the school’s Homework Centre, where, using ingredients donated by their local Woolworths, they work together to prepare and serve a selection of sweet and savoury dishes each fortnight.
What was initially a little class project has now become a fixture at the school, and participating students have something a lot more tangible than the food to show for it.
This year students wrote, produced and published their own recipe book, showcasing some of the outstanding dishes they’ve been working on – as well as the skills they’ve picked up along the way.
STRIVE teacher Rachel Cody says she saw an opportunity to build on the classroom project and extend the students’ learning.
“I thought, ‘I’ve already got this project in operation, it would be fabulous to create a cookbook which would document the hard work that students had been involved in’.”
“...[and] at the end of the year they’ve got [something] they can take home and share with their families and friends.”
Cody applied for a STEAM grant to develop a desktop publishing unit for the class that would incorporate learning outcomes in science, maths and technology.
The students were tasked with designing the book according to printing specifications, before taking their designs to the Dubbo Colour Copy Shop to be professionally produced.
While the initiative ticked plenty of boxes when it came to learning outcomes – including digital literacy, numeracy (dealing with measurements and estimates, for example) and teamwork – the real rewards weren’t as quantifiable.
STRIVE is a small class for students who have struggled in a larger classroom context and may need extra support socially as well as academically.
Cody says the cookbook project has helped to develop students’ confidence and social skills - and in a very organic way, like simply sitting coming together to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
“...just being able to sit down together and enjoy a meal ... that was a really nice social aspect,” she says.