Monday, July 7, 2014

Returning to Cookie Land and Summer School

This past week marked my return to two activities: teaching summer school at Lucy Maud Montgomery Public School and baking cookies. The cookie baking wasn't mandatory exactly, but I was scheduled to bring in treats for my summer school staff on the same day that a wonderful crew from TDSB Library Technical Services was due to arrive at my regular school to conduct inventory. I wanted to show my appreciation for both groups and their hard work, and so I decided to return to the kitchen. Unlike last time, when I created a new batch of cookies each day over March Break, I had one night to make two different kinds of cookies. I had hoped to try a new recipe - Sarah Oesch brought these amazingly tasty items with her to our last Ontario School Library Association council meeting and I was eager to make them - but I received the information slightly too late to include with the baking bonanza. (I made them the next day.)

Cookie #1 : Spritz Cookies

Cookie #2: Vanilla Drops with Cranberries

Cookie #3: Chocolate Toffee Bites

Once again, I learned some new things while baking, and reinforced old lessons, such as:

  1. Be prepared, and even if you think you are, check twice.
  2. Stay focused.
  3. Start early.
  4. Even if it looks like a disaster, some good can come of anything.
  5. If you've done something before, there's a better chance you'll improve. Still, try something new.
Because I was busy planning for summer school, I didn't start cooking until after 11:00 at night. It was around 11:30 p.m. (while I was on the phone with Sarah grabbing her yummy recipes and chatting about all sorts of things) that I realized that I had no more all-purpose flour, and by this time, I was already committed to making two different kinds of cookies. I substituted cake and pastry flour for the all-purpose flour the original recipe called for in the vanilla drops. I also didn't have enough honey because I couldn't find the new bottle I had bought previously (and it was hiding in the fridge, a fact I found out a few days too late). I barely had enough cranberries. I finished baking at 12:30 a.m. and fell into bed, exhausted. I was so nervous about the vanilla cranberry drops that I delayed a long time before trying them. They weren't perfect; they were a bit dry and crumbly, but they were edible and, in fact, they were consumed more than the other items I took in to the summer school staff! The Spritz cookies turned out exactly as they were supposed to do. None were burnt. I had to wake up early to buy the icing sugar needed for the lemon glaze, but it worked out without any hitches. The chocolate toffee bites were absolutely delicious, and because I learnt my lessons the previous evening, I double-checked to ensure I had everything I needed, including the mysterious-to-me parchment paper.

Those five lessons listed above can equally apply to my summer school class. I'm teaching the same grade but a new unit of study (STEM, with a focus on Minecraft). I was a bit concerned that my new students wouldn't be as eager or hard-working as my previous group, but they have their own unique talents and skills and I am having just as much fun teaching them. I'm sure you'll read more about them here on this blog or on the GamingEdus website ( 

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