Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let's Bake Some Holiday Treats!

One of the best things about the month of December is all of the holiday treats!! I did cooking every Friday when I was a deafblind teacher. I loved when we made holiday treats! Next week I am doing my annual Holiday Skills Day with my students. Each year we make a craft and a treat (don't worry, I will post ideas and tips in a few days...).

Cooking is a great activity to do with practically any child (or teenager) with a vision impairment. It teaches so many things and it is usually quite motivating. So here's what I am going to do: I am going to share my favorite top 10 recipes all December long! Yay!
A few things to think about before you head into the kitchen:

1. Remember that the point of this activity is to provide experience for your child. If you are not having fun and getting into hands-on style, you are doing it wrong!

2. The cooking exercise needs to be a connected activity: equipment shouldn't magically appear and then you bake. Part of the lesson needs to be going to the fridge, getting the ingredients, checking the oven, getting the bowls and spoons, etc. Also, the clean up is part of the lesson. Where do dirty bowls go? Clean the counter tops, put food back, etc.

3. Process vs. Product--so what if it burns? You've heard the expression "not about the destination, it's about the journey"? Same concept here. Let your child be involved with everything! Use hand under hand, modeling, let them smell (teach them to taste appropriately, you don't want to start a bad pattern..., get their hands in it. Go slow--have fun & take pictures!

4. Set it up for success--think about your child's visual needs. Background clutter because of a table cloth? Should we use red bowls for CVI? Large print or Braille recipes? Do you need to put some slip grip under the bowls? Lighting or glare issues? It may seem like a lot of questions, but the more you get to know about your child's visual needs, the easier this gets. I write as many possibilities as I can to include my whole spectrum of students. The one thing that I can say that every student needs is a defined work space! You can use a tray, cookie sheet, plain colored placemat, etc. but a defined work space keeps all of our students organized. I even use them with my kids when we cook!!

5. Work at your child's work level. I have done cooking with typically developing children, deafblind children, preschool age children and even children who are on the autism spectrum. Know what the realistic work potential is. If it's hard to work at the table, don't! Keep it as close to the kitchen as possible to keep it all connected. I actually put a big tray on the floor at cook with my preschool kids there because they can access it easier.

Do it at home: here's another favorite article of mine. It's from TSBVI. Here's the link: https://www.tsbvi.edu/component/content/article/104-archives/2146-get-out-in-the-kitchen-and-rattle-them-pots-and-pans
And the recipe....
Toffee Crisp
12 whole graham crackers
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put crackers on cookie sheet. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and vanilla. Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until full boil. Continue to boil for 4 minutes. Pour over crackers. Bake 10-12 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, allow to soften, spread and sprinkle chopped almonds. Refrigerate until firm.
Good luck!!

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