Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday Baking

There's a Christmas cookie party going on at jama rattigan's alphabet soup ("a children's writer offers food for thought & fine whining"). Here's another of my holiday baking traditions.

My first two years of teaching were in a school in the Dallas Independent School District that was on a federal low-income list. It was like being in the Peace Corps. Every year I taught there, my student loans were reduced and deferred. If I would have made it 5 years, I would have erased my student loans. I lasted for two. But I'm proud of what I accomplished in that short time. I took my kids on a field trip, single-handedly, to the (then) brand-new Dallas Museum of Art. I taught with literature. And I started a tradition that lasted 20 years: I made gingerbread people for the students to decorate. Some of them had never decorated cookies. I made myself a promise that I would make cookies every year in case I ever had students who had not decorated cookies.

After 20 years of gingerbread, I was ready for a change. I have an extensive collection of cookie cutters and only two were getting used. So, a few years back, I switched to sugar cookies. And, in a bold move that gave the whole event a new twist, I provided the kids with plain white butter frosting (yes, from scratch) and FOOD COLORING and let them make their icing colors. Here are some views from last year's event:


  1. How cool, Mary Lee! I bet those kids will remember that for a long time.

  2. Man, do I wish I was in your room for this! What fun!

  3. Great post. Thanks for sharing. What delicious fun. I've been thinking a lot lately about the value of traditions in schools. One of our 5/6 traditions is watching Akeelah and the Bee. When we tried to come up with another movie for this year, we just decided to make the excellent one we watched last year into a tradition. We tried out having "Secret Friends" this year, too, and it went well. I think that'll become another December tradition. Happy Holidays!

  4. My word. There's alot of baking and love that goes into this project. Your students must adore you.


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