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Hot cocoa provides writing lesson

Writing, in some shape or form, is connected to virtually everything we do in life. First grade students in Katherine Doyle and Joann Hobson’s class learned this first-hand as they made hot cocoa last month for National Hot Cocoa Day.

It was part of a how-to writing unit, in which students got to measure and add ingredients based on a prewritten recipe provided by the teachers. The students learned about the steps in the process as well as transition words, Doyle explained.

“We like to make learning fun,” she said. “We add different variations of ways to write our units as supplementation for Writer’s Workshop.”

As a follow-up, students wrote a short how-to about how to make the hot cocoa.

This project involved reading, writing and measurement skills, touching on multiple subject areas.

The Elm Road class began work on the project in the morning and enjoyed the fruits of their labor in the afternoon - there was even enough cocoa to share with other teachers in the building.

“The students stayed engaged through hands-on activity, question prompting and reaping the rewards of their hard work,” Doyle said.

Doyle is now working on an animal project, inspired by a class she is taking on project-based learning using technology.

Students are researching an endangered species and answering questions on a graphic organizer. Once research is complete, they’ll create sentences based on their research, identify why the animal is endangered and what they can do to help it. The projects will then be sent to a “publisher” where they are going to produce the books and children will be able to order them.

Students will also make a model of their chosen animal so they can present it to the class.