Thursday, November 1, 2007

Lesson Plan Review for Week of Oct. 28

Wow, what a great week! The dough was a huge hit, as were the coffee grounds.

Monday the kids instantly got into the coffee grounds, which were so fine that I set it up with fake flowers and gardening equipment. After a little while a few wandered over to where we had set up the dough on trays. Each tray had a little cup of flour, a spoon, and a spice. Initially most of what the did was to dump the flour and ask for more without doing any mixing or kneading. One of the children, who obviously had done some bread baking, started rolling the dough around and stretching it to mix the flour in. Then everyone was giving their dough some pounding. Tip: don't stand next to someone who is beating their floury dough--it's tough to breathe!

After a LOT of flour (remember, Bev Bos says that kids need too much!) someone noticed the spice bottles. We sniffed them all and then the spicy dumping began. By snack time most of the kids had flour and/or spices up and down their fronts. Between the spices and the coffee grounds the room smelled like we had been baking holiday cookies with coffee as a drink.

On Wednesday the parent helper had planned with me to let the kids make Monkey Bread. You'll find the recipe in a lot of places, but it amounts to rolling small portions of dough in a light sugar coating and putting all the balls in a large baking pan, usually a Bundt or something similar. An adult pours over a butter topping and then it's baked. Our recipe called for using biscuit dough as the balls. The parent had set up two shallow bowls with the sugar mixture and the kids had a blast rolling the little balls around and putting them in the pan. Some kids just wanted to put the balls in the sugar over and over, but some of the older ones were more careful about rolling them around and placing them in the baking pan.

I love baking in the classroom. This recipe has to bake for 40 minutes, so while we normally would have the kids help us mix the sugar coating portion we elected to do that ahead of time. As it turned out we had to have snack near the end of class because of how long it took to bake. I also prefer to bake healthier things, but this did lay the ground work for having the group focus on a task together. At least for those who were interested.

Anyway, after we put the Monkey Bread in the oven we went back to our dough on trays. Several of the children could have done that happily for the rest of the morning.


  1. Where did you get the coffee grounds?

  2. Good question! We get ours from a Starbucks that's within walking distance from our school. It's called "Grounds for the Garden" and it's totally free. If you call them in advance they can hold some back for you. If the garden grounds are gone already (they usually have a bucket by the register where they put them) you can ask them to empty the machine. If the store isn't too busy, they'll usually do it for you. I don't drink coffee myself, but I love our helpful Starbucks people. I'm guessing other coffee shops would be willing to do the same if you talked to them about it.