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Chefs for the Day: Teaching Fourth-Grade Students the Pinnacle Way

Hats off to the chefs at Pinnacle Charter Academy, who recently participated in an education-focused cooking class. The fourth-grade classroom was decked out in bistro-style tablecloths as students proudly wore chef’s hats and aprons while completing their lessons.

Heather Kurtz, fourth-grade teacher at Pinnacle Charter Academy, created the lesson, focusing on a pizza-shop theme, challenging students to complete various activities. The activities began in the morning with a mini-lesson, using pizza to work through various reading materials to determine the text’s main idea. Next, students worked together to create a “Main Idea Menu Board” that featured nine different pizza-themed activities, including manipulative resources, paired passages, and poems that instructed students to demonstrate their understanding of the main idea and key details.

“Mrs. Kurtz created a full day of engagement with our students by hosting a chef theme day,” said Katie Strick, dean of lower elementary at Pinnacle Charter Academy. “In reading, they were figuring out the main ideas and the students were to find ingredients that all were details of the main dish or main idea. They then had a focus on fractions in the afternoon. Throughout the day there were many other activities that Mrs. Kurtz did with her students. They had a fun day of learning and students were very engaged.”

Kurtz shared that this isn’t the first time she’s done creative lessons in her classroom. She shared that in her previous “room transformations” she has featured a camping theme where all the lessons were focused on camping. She also did a glow-light theme where all tasks were completed under a black light. Students examined black lights and explored how glow sticks work.  

Student Mariah Richardson shared her takeaway from the lesson: “It was fun and there was a lot of decoration. It made our work more entertaining to do and more interesting.” Two other students also enjoyed the lesson, sharing their takeaways:

“I like the math comparing workshop and the main idea! The food, of course, was my favorite,” said Rokeebat Ramoni. “I loved it! I loved the whole thing, and wish every day was as crazy as you made it!”

"I want to say that it was really fun! And I am glad my teacher thought of it and I recommend it to all! It really made learning boring things FUN," said Dashun Rodgers.

The afternoon activities focused on additional hands-on activities, including students working in small groups on text structure with different style texts. For the math portion of the lesson, students worked on math stories, which included comparing sugar fractions in different recipes and comparing fractions hands-on with Play-Doh.

“Creating lessons like this is so much work, but to see their faces and excitement really made a difference and paid off in the end,” reflected Kurtz. “We laughed and learned at the same time and created an experience that was exciting to them. Students love it and said it was one of the best days they have had since Glow Day, which was not long before.”

There’s not mushroom for improvement in this classroom!