2004 Conference Proceedings

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Lisa Petit
Mayer-Johnson, Inc.
6650 Flanders Drive, Suite F
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: 800-588-4548
Email: lisa@mayer-johnson.com

This session will examine the many benefits and the instructional value of incorporating cooking into the classroom. We will work through the entire process of an adapted cooking activity including recipe selection, preparing to cook, grocery shopping, cooking, time to eat, and clean up and review. Adaptations will include varying levels of symbol support using Boardmaker and Writing With Symbols and the integration of technology including Speaking Dynamically Pro. To begin this session we will look at the many benefits of cooking activities. In and of itself, cooking is a wonderful opportunity to teach functional skills, which promote the increased independence of individuals with disabilities. In addition, cooking is a reinforcing, fun opportunity to teach social skills, literacy, language, community skills, math and money skills, science concepts and an ideal chance to reinforce concepts and vocabulary taught in instructional themes or units. In addition to all of these ben! efits many fine motor skills can be worked on in the context of cooking.

The cooking activity begins with the selection of a recipe. We will look at the many ways to adapt recipes for multiple learning levels, with varying amounts of symbol support and using technology. We will look at recipes created with Boardmaker, interactive recipes with Speaking Dynamically Pro and recipes designed with Writing with Symbols. Storing the recipes in symbol cookbooks and on-screen recipe boxes are a fun addition. We will also talk about supporting a theme or unit with a thematic recipe. Once the recipe is selected we will discuss how to help students to create a shopping list based on the ingredients required for the recipe. Looking at various formats for shopping lists, including symbol based, interactive, and written, will help individuals at all levels create and use a shopping list successfully.

Including a community experience is a great way to enhance the cooking experience. Depending on the students_ level you can even bring in such topics as using coupons and calculating the cost of the groceries. We will look at using Calc-U-Scan, an on-screen calculator, to work on math and money skills. Lastly we will discuss using lo-cost communication devices to encourage and enable conversation and communication during the community outing.

In addressing the actual food preparation, we will look at many ways to enhance the lesson and additional skills to embed into the lesson. Whether using an interactive on-screen recipe or a printed recipe, students will need to read each step of the recipe and then complete the step. You may want to have each student prepare his or her own or divide the steps of the recipe among the class. We will look at having additional communication available at the cooking table, including students with physical disabilities, and fun ways to reinforce various math and language skills.

Once the food has been prepared we can address a plethora of social skills and functional skills. Students can set the table and work on functional math such as how many plates you need if there are five students eating. Once the table and food are ready, students can eat what they have just created. We will look at capitalizing on the opportunity to address social skills such as requesting food, using table manners, appropriate conversation and more.

Another wonderful opportunity to encourage conversation is through food reviews. This session will take a look at different ways to complete and use food reviews to promote conversations with peers and parents about the cooking activity that took place. We will look at symbol-adapted food reviews created with Boardmaker and on-screen interactive food reviews on Speaking Dynamically Pro and Writing with Symbols.

To finish the session we will look at using checklists and self-monitoring forms to assist in the clean-up process, which will again address additional functional skills. We will also introduce a handful of additional follow-up activities that can be completed following a cooking activity including graphing activities and webbing.

This session will provide attendees with a better understanding of the benefits of incorporating cooking activities into the classroom and a multitude of creative, fun ways to adapt the activities for learners of all levels. In addition, participants will learn to adapt and enhance the cooking process using technology including Boardmaker, Writing with Symbols, and Speaking Dynamically Pro along with Calcu-Scan and School Fonts. Participants will leave this session feeling excited and inspired at the prospect of bringing cooking into the classroom!

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