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Monday, April 9, 2012

Inside Thomson Elementary School part 1: Homemade hummus and WORMS!

This spring, Gabby Ingersoll, a student at American University, is volunteering for DC SCORES by spending each Monday afternoon with the poet-athletes at Thomson Elementary School observing them as they go through the stages of their service-learning project.

Each week, Gabby will write about her first-hand experience with the Thomson students as they strive to make improvements to their school and greater community.

See pictures from Gabby’s trips to Thomson on Flickr.


Thomson Elementary School’s fourth and fifth graders welcomed a very special guest on March 26 … National Press Club’s Chef Susan!

As a part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, Chef Susan visits local public schools to shed some light about proper nutrition practices. On this occasion, the snack on the menu was hummus.

The kids slowly went through the list of ingredients while one student, Brian, decided he wanted to try some raw garlic. The look on his face was priceless as he took his first bite.

“That’s horrible!” he shouted.

While Chef Susan demonstrated proper safety when using knifes, each student anxiously awaited their turn to participate in this hummus creation. Christopher volunteered to cut carrots while Tracy mashed up the garbanzo beans.

Meanwhile, Susan emphasized that holding a knife should be similar to shaking hands with someone. You always want to have a firm grip! Each student got their chance with the knives to help cut up the vegetables to be used as dippers in their hummus.

At the end of the lesson, they were asked which they liked better … the store-bought hummus or the homemade. Although a tad bit garlic-y, most voted for their own concoction. Brian even agreed that the end results were “much tastier”.

As this snack was being prepared, Thomson’s DC SCORES third-graders were busy planting peas and nasturtium on the school’s rooftop garden. These seeds were planted around the garden’s pomegranate trees.

During this activity, the students learned how to make these foods so they can sell them at the school’s future bake sales. Coach Sarah spoke to the class about the importance of composting.

I watched as everyone sifted through a giant bin mixed with newspaper clippings, eggshells and dirt. What were they looking for?

Samuel hung a dangling worm in front of my face as I let out a soft scream.

He then explained to me how worms and their castings produce a great fertilizer.
What’s unique about Thomson’s program is that each student is asked to keep a journal. After whatever activity they have for the day, they are asked to jot down exactly what they learned, in their own words.

The Thomson poet-athletes are extremely focused and doing big things in their program. I cannot wait to see what’s next as a part of their service-learning project!

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