Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From The Director’s Chair: How to Cook a Turkey

From The Director’s Chair: How to Cook a Turkey
Julia @ Kids Matter
          As we all know, fall has come! Mother Nature has certainly changed from her short shorts and flip flops and brought in some seriously colder than normal temps! It is October, but we are having November-like weather here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Naturally being a HUGE fan of colder weather, I find myself daydreaming of all things fall and winter!
          I am even listening to Christmas music…SHHH! Don’t tell anyone! I am a bit ashamed of it personally, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the holidays! Halloween is upon us and Christmas is 2 months away! But wait! There is a very important fall holiday in between... The ever popular and important Thanksgiving. The American ‘My Diet can sit on a tack’ holiday where we eat, watch football, fight with family, and give thanks for all of the above.
          Now, while you are sitting there flipping through the latest Paula Deen or Martha Stewart mag for new recipes there is a very significant recipe you need to bring to your classrooms. How to Cook a Turkey!
          Preschoolers and Pre-Kindergartners absolutely LOVE this Thanksgiving project. When I was in the classroom, I did this activity every year. We always did journal entries in my classrooms before lunch.  Every day I would give them a topic for their journals. They would draw what their story or entry was about. They would then bring the picture to me or my assistant and we would ask, “Tell me about your picture?” It is vital that you know to ask that question.  Never ask a child, “What is this?”  A child sees it clear as glass for what it is, and they expect you, their mentor, to know as well.
          This now brings me to the journal entry I looked forward to all year. “Class, today’s journal topic is, ‘How to Cook a Turkey.’ I would like for you to think very hard about what you will need to stuff the turkey, how to cook it, and how long it will need to cook. Begin please.”
          For ten minutes, they would color, draw, giggle, and change paper, until they had the best recipe they could muster. I would await their pictures like a kid at Christmas. And soon, I would be awarded with the first drawing. I did this exercise for many years, but one child stands out as being my favorite. I still, to this day, remember every word. I know I must have read it half a million times, and it hung on my bulletin board until Christmas. Now, put those expensive holiday cooking magazines down and follow this recipe to the “T” for turkey!
“How to Cook a Turkey” By Andy, age four
Me: Okay Andy, tell me about your picture. And let me just say, it look fabulous.
Andy: Thanks Miss Julila, I have a feeling about this one.
Me: You do? How so?  Walk me through it, if you please.
Andy: Well, you have to cook a turkey in the oven at 7000 degrees. Then you have to yell at Dad to get off his duff and vacuum the living room already because his mother will be there soon, and the Packers will probably win anyway. See, there is Dad watching the Packers. Then you stuff it {the turkey} with chicken nuggets, gummy worms, cupcakes, catsup, French fries, pizza, and a sundae that comes in a small baseball hat. Then Dad comes in and smells it and says it’s perfect and it’s done.
Me: How long does it take to cook a turkey at 7000 degrees?
Andy: Ten minutes!
Me: Really? That’s it? Ten minutes?
Andy: That’s all buddy!
Me: What do you like to eat with your turkey for Thanksgiving?
Andy: Orange potatoes and eggs.
Me: Okay.
Andy: And pie.
Me: Do you have a favorite type of pie?
Andy: Apple is good, but only if it is cold.  I don’t want ice cream melting it.
Me: Well, is there anything else you would like to tell me about cooking a turkey Andy?
Andy: Yeah, it has to be ortantic {organic} or else my aunt will get fat.
Me: Awesome. You sir, are Awesome Sauce!
Andy: You are Awesome Turkey Miss Julila! Can I play Blocks now?
          Now, imagine that conversation about 24 times… It really doesn’t get much cooler than that. They have such a wonderful time with journals, but you have to write down everything they say! So, you must be able to write quickly! What they are saying is sheer gold!
          Next time, I plan on bringing a little décor and cooking tips. I love to cook/bake, and this time of year I start to try new recipes for T-Day. Until then, start journals in your classroom, get young minds creatively thinking, and ask a three or four year old how to cook a turkey. You will never laugh harder in your life.
Well, that is all for now from The Director’s Chair…

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