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"My Five Senses"

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"A Culinary Literacy Experience" • MOE Kindergarten @ First Toa Payoh

Overview

We at MOE Kindergarten @ First Toa Payoh believe that children learn best through meaningful and fun learning experiences. In this activity, the teacher used cooking as an authentic context to engage children in learning and honing their literacy skills.

Objectives

Through this activity, children were given opportunities to:
Use the sentence structure: I (verb: see/hear/feel/taste/smell) the (noun) to express their ideas  
Articulate their ideas and thoughts by using the target vocabulary and high-frequency words: one, two, three, four, five, sound, water, see, 
        hear, feel, taste, smell

Conclusion

Introduction to activity:
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After reading the big book titled ‘My Five Senses’, the teacher asked the children to suggest an activity in which they would be able to explore using their five senses. Majority of the children suggested cooking as their preferred learning experience.  The children in the morning class suggested making pizzas while the children in the afternoon class suggested making pancakes. The children then proceeded to brainstorm for the ingredients that they would need to make the pizzas and pancakes. 

As the children suggested the ingredients for the dish, they discovered new vocabulary from the discussion and ideas shared by their peers. Some vocabulary words that they learnt include pizza, crust, bread, pineapple, pepper, eggs, sausage, broccoli, mushroom, cheese, ketchup, carrot, tomato, baby spinach, pepperoni and ice-cream.

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                                                                        Brainstorming of the ingredients needed for our recipe                     

In line with the topic, “My Five Senses”, the teacher used examples of common food to introduce new words such as ‘sweet’ and ‘savoury’ to the children. Children were invited to tap their prior knowledge of what they thought the ingredients would taste like. The class then classified the ingredients into ‘sweet’ or ‘savoury’ categories. This scaffolded the children’s ability to better describe the taste of the ingredients which they would later use. 

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Main Activity:

The next day, the teachers brought the suggested ingredients to class. As the teacher laid the ingredients on the table, the children took turns to name the ingredients. Next, they watched a video on how to make a pizza /pancake. With reference to the video, the children collectively came up with the recipe for the pizza/pancake. The teacher wrote the suggested steps on the board as the children articulated the recipe. 

Pizza recipe (as suggested by the children)
Step 1: Get one slice of bread.
Step 2: Spread the tomato sauce on the bread.
Step 3: Place two mushrooms on the bread.

The steps provided the children with an authentic context for using the target vocabulary and high frequency words. The teachers read the recipe and highlighted the target vocabulary words to help some children with reading difficulties. Then the children washed their hands and got to cooking!

The children referred to the recipe and the ingredients on the board as they made their pizza/pancake. They took turns to come forward and collect the ingredients as they read out the recipe with the teacher’s guidance. At the end of the activity, each child made a personal pizza/pancake. 

While making the pizza/pancake, the children were encouraged to use the sentence structure and high-frequency words as they talked about what they experienced through their five senses. The teachers went round the tables and guided the children to use the sentence structure to share their experience about what they could see, smell, taste, hear and touch. Below are some of the children’s responses using the target sentence structure and vocabulary words:

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If a child was having difficulty expressing their ideas using the target sentence structure, the teacher would ask questions to facilitate their thinking. For example, the teacher said, “I see bubbles on the pancake!” and asked, “Can you see any changes happening to our pancake on the pan?” This helped the children to focus on noticing the changes on the pancake and guided them to use the target sentence structure.

Conclusion

The children were engaged in using their five senses as they made pizzas and pancakes.  Through this authentic learning context, not only were the children able to see the concepts from their big book in real life, they made use of the opportunities to use the specified sentence structure in context. They were also able to transfer their learning by using the new vocabulary words learnt in their conversation. 

Contributed by:
Teacher Saleha and Teacher Nadya
MOE Kindergarten @ First Toa Payoh Kindergarten 2 Children (2020)