Oregon teacher takes virtual learning to the kitchen

HERMISTON, Ore. – Angela Treadwell’s students describes their tastiest project from her cooking class at Hermiston High School.

“Favorite pancakes lab!” Jenna said.

“Pancakes!” Cayleigh added.

“Pancakes; I make them for my little sister and she enjoys them,” Ericka said.

This year, Ms. Treadwell’s class looks a bit different because of remote learning.

“Well, I really wanted to make sure they could still do something hands on because I think that’s the best part of the class. Like you can hear it and you can see it but once you can touch it and taste it and feel it right, you learn even more,” she said.

The class still meets virtually for lessons. Once students know what they’ll be cooking or baking, they stop by campus to pick up ingredients and tools. Then they have to carefully plan their recipe and get it approved by their teacher. Angela has been filming herself from home, while cooking, for students to get a feel of what they should be doing.

“They have to come up with a plan for the lab then they come up with a whole assessment afterwards.”

Through grant money, Angela said she’s been able to provide her class with most of the items for recipes. Some foods, like eggs or milk, students have to provide on their own.

Students are also able to get creative with the assigned recipe, like this week’s ‘Merry Muffin Challenge.’

“Then they also get to choose a mix-in, they all get to pickup baking powder, they get to pickup apple sauce and then the whole grain flour,” she described the pickup station.

For sophomores Jenna and Cayleigh, Ms. Treadwell’s class is a break from staring at a screen all day.

“I really like learning how to make healthier stuff so learning a bunch of recipes and substitutes is pretty good,” Jenna said.

“I love this class so much more for that exact reason,” Cayleigh described the delicious recipes.

“A lot of the more physical classes like cooking are really helpful when you have to sit down all day, so being in the kitchen is relaxing,” Jenna added.

For past recipes, Angela has partnered with local growers for vegetables. Students were able to chose and winter squash and cook an entire meal.

Angela hopes to instill life-long skills for her students and help them carry healthy eating habits into adulthood.

“For me what it means is I have at least imparted some knowledge and skills to my students that they can use far beyond.”