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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Inside Thomson Elementary Part V: Learning to like salad

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.


Our dearest Chef Susan made yet another visit this past week, and the immediate question what, What’s on the menu?

The answer? Salad!

The fourth graders slowly inspected their freshly harvested lettuce to decide which leaves they wanted to use for this “interesting salad.” “Interesting” is what Chef Susan calls it since the ingredients aren’t what you would find in any conventional salad. The recipe called for tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, lemon juice and zest, pineapple, melon, nuts and golden raisins.

A couple of students seemed skeptical about this concoction, but I’ll save their reactions for the end.

Each took turns tearing up the spinach while one asked if he needed to eat this mixture. Derek responded, “You for sure NEED to eat it, it’s healthy for you!”

Thyme, parsley and chives were then placed into the bowl; Arlet said that the chives “look like grass,” a comment that made the rest of the DC SCORES team giggle. Chef Susan explained to the class that these herbs added flavor to the salad.

After mixing the ingredients, a couple drops of oil and white vinegar were added, a gentle dressing to adorn this already flavorful salad. I took a bite — YUM! It was a bittersweet mixture that the kids had produced. Some loved it — like Derek, who craves sourness. Others only wanted the sweet stuff — like Arlet, who sneakily grabbed an extra spoonful of strawberries.

Meanwhile, on the third grade side of town, students were plenty busy helping Coach Eric make peanut butter bars for the next bake sale! Instead of using real peanut butter, you know, from peanuts, they chose a healthier route and used sunflower butter instead.

Glob after glob was added to the container and combined with granola. The mixture started to take shape and the students slowly cut perfect squares to be sold.

As Thomson’s service-learning project begins to wind down, I can already see how much these students have learned. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for next week.

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