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Virginia Cross second graders link literacy to soldier support

Posted Monday, January 12, 2009

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Siler City, NC - Second graders at Virginia Cross Elementary School recently linked their literacy block time to thinking about soldiers serving their country far away from home. Students made connections by writing prose and poetry about their own family members who live far away, and the emotions experienced as a result of those distant relatives. Whether in Asheboro or Guatemala, the distance prevents daily contact, and though young, these students recognize the value in appreciating what contact they do make.

The students then linked their own connections to those of two female soldiers overseas, one separated from her 10-year old son, the other from her parents and siblings. The students' heartfelt and insightful letters passed along hints on how to feel better, based on their own experiences, when apart from family. The letters, handmade Christmas cards, and artistically created pictures were compiled into booklets and sent to the soldiers before the holidays.

As this group of students began to spend extra time in the kitchen linking literacy to cooking, the next logical step was to bake some goodies to send to the soldiers. In researching different snacks, the students learned that gingerbread is a typically long-lasting and well-preserved food, perfect for what could be a long postal journey. They read about soldiers' lives, current and past, and found a Civil War recipe for gingerbread that was ideal for the goals of the unit of study. The classes also decided to make the more traditional Christmas gingerbread cookies, allowing the students an opportunity to cut out, bake, and decorate them for their adopted soldiers. Additionally, the students read and did a comparison of The Gingerbread Man and Gingerbread Baby.

Needless to say, the kids prefer their gingerbread with sugar, not pure molasses as the Civil War recipe uses! They also hope the gingerbread men they decorated don't try to "run, run as fast as they can" or hop out of the boxes when the soldiers open them!

Ingredients for linking literacy to cooking are funded by a generous grant from the Chatham Education Foundation.

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Virginia Cross second graders link literacy to soldier support
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