A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.
“But how will that save us any time?”
Kyle Butler was chatting with my sister and me about the joys and challenges of running a bakery in Hatteras, a little fishing village in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Scratchmade Snackery is one of those places that you are delighted to find when you are wandering aimlessly on a sunny vacation morning. The tiny bakery is painted with a funky red, aqua, and eggplant purple color scheme. The baked goods seriously rock, with clever concoctions like tipsy gnome cupcakes, big as a hubcap cinnamon rolls, and icy lemonade scones all glistening in the display case.
It was early March, off-season and quiet. Kyle and his wife Kitty had time to shoot the breeze with us about their experiences since opening the bakery a year ago. They shared how a salesman recently found his way to this remote outpost, and was trying to persuade Kyle and Kitty (the baker) to purchase baking mixes. He assured them that using a mix would save a lot of time, as well as the hassle of thinking through individual recipes. But as the salesman went through his spiel, Kyle and Kitty had many questions for him. What makes the funky little bakery so charming is precisely what would be lost using premeasured mixes. Kitty prides herself on the quality of the ingredients that go into each recipe. She spent years in culinary school, and even more time experimenting in her home kitchen evenings after full-time work in another field, testing possibilities as she dreamed of owning a bakery someday. Even with tried-and-tested recipes in her dream-come-true shop, variables like the humidity or the chance to use a fruit only briefly in season require daily adjustments to her recipes and plans.
“But how will that save us any time?” Kyle asked this question of the salesman after weighing the benefits of mixes against the loss in quality and quirkiness that defines the bakery. Pondering that question nixed any possibility of a sale.
“But how does that save us any time?” is the question to ask in tandem with “But how does that save us any money?” with any school literacy program that promises big savings in both. The individual needs of students mean you need a full library anyway of children’s literature to meet those needs, especially if you want to hook children on books and help them develop lifelong reading habits. A writing program with step-by-step lessons and prompts doesn’t save you much time if students are expected to be taught the same scripted lessons every year in grades K-2 (How exactly is that supposed to work? Are we hoping for repeated cases of mass temporary amnesia to make the lessons seem fresh again?) School storage closets are littered with the detritus of Crayola-colored sets of books, teaching guides, and laddered lessons — all premade mixes that saved no time and wasted a lot of money. There’s no way to standardize the clever and quirky.
This week we look at teaching the youngest learners in schools. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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Cathy Mere explains how she uses a classroom wall display and conversations to highlight strong writing and help her first graders learn to assess improvements in their work:
Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan work with a kindergarten teacher to integrate literacy skill development into a favorite routine of young children, Show and Tell:
Katie Egan Cunningham writes about the pleasures of being wide awake to stories in these fleeting summer weeks:
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Shari Frost observes a teacher conferring with a first grader who is mystified at the advice to “get your mouth ready,” and it leads her to consider what works best in Helping Young Readers Focus on Print:
Cathy Mere finds that with young learners, not all issues with fluency are created equally — different needs require different strategies:
In this week’s video, Ruth Ayres confers with a first-grade writer early in the year. This brief conference with a simple text is all about building a rapport in September and celebrating illustrations:
In an encore video, Mandy Robek presents a kindergarten I-Pick minilesson:
New PD2Go: Clare Landrigan leads a “quick and frequent” small group of kindergartners that integrates phonemic awareness activities with assessment:
This video and workshop guide fulfill Common Core State Standard ELA-Literacy RF.K.1: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
That’s all for this week!