Making Bread

Name: Making Bread Area: Sensorial / Gustatory
Materials: Large bowl, 1/3 cup measure, flour, honey, tray, teaspoon measure (2), yeast, hot water, measuring cup, dish towels, paper, pencil, baking sheet, parchment paper, spatulas, food service trays, paper towels, salt, ¼ tsp., small bowl, bowls for mixing, plates, knives, cutting board, oven mitts, cooling rack, butter, jelly, oven, timer, quantity signs, recipe
Direct Aims: Concentration, Coordination, Independence, Order Indirect Aims: Use hands to make a simple bread recipe
Preparation: Practical life activities Age: Second year student
 making-bread

PRESENTATION BY THE TEACHER:

The Montessori Lesson:

  1. Wash hands.img_8228
  2. Get one tray with a towel, spatula, and paper towel per group.
  3. Get one bowl and place it on the tray.
  4. Measure one scoop (1/3 cup) of flour into the bowl.
  5. Measure one scoop (1 tsp.) of yeast into the bowl.
  6. Measure two scoops (2 tsps.) of honey into the bowl.
  7. Pour a generous 1/3 cup (3 oz.) of hot water into a measuring cup.
  8. Pour the water into the bowl.img_8227
  9. Carry the tray with the bowl to the workspace.
  10. Use the spatula to stir all the ingredients in the bowl together until combined.
  11. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel.
  12. Mark whose bread and what time it is, and leave the bowl to rest covered for 30 minutes.
  13. After 30 minutes have passed, wash hands and return to the bread.
  14. Uncover the bowl and set aside the kitchen towel.
  15. Add two scoops (2/3 cup) of flour into the bowl.
  16. Add one scoop (1/4 tsp.) of salt into the bowl.
  17. Return with the tray and bowl to the workspace and stir the ingredients together until combined.
  18. Place the bowl on the workspace.
  19. Take the tray back to the large flour bowl and get a pinch of flour, sprinkling it on the tray.
  20. Return to the workspace.
  21. Pour the contents of the bowl onto the tray.
  22. Knead the dough together for 3-5 minutes, collecting the loose clumps and adding flour or water (tiny amounts) as needed for the dough to come together and be manageable.
  23. Using hands, flatten the dough as much as possible onto the tray.
  24. Roll the dough up like a rug and press the seam together.
  25. Press the ends of the dough in to help create the loaf shape.
  26. Place the loaf onto a large, parchment papered baking sheet, and note where the loaf is on the pan on a separate paper.
  27. Cover the loaf(ves) with a towel and let rise at least 30 minutes.
  28. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  29. Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Finished bread will sound hollow when you tap it.
  30. Remove the bread from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes.
  31. Slice the bread and serve with butter and jelly.

Points of Emphasis:

  1. Following the steps of the recipe.
  2. Measuring accurately.
  3. Mixing completely.
  4. Kneading for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Letting the bread rise.
  6. Noticing the work of the yeast.

Control of Error:

  1. Size of measuring cups and ingredient containers.
  2. Adults present.
  3. Food service tray as a contained workspace.

WORK OF THE CHILD:

Points of Interest:

  1. Making edible food.
  2. The ingredients.
  3. Seeing the yeast work and the bread rise.
  4. Feeling the dough with their hands.
  5. The smell of the bread.
  6. The taste of the bread.

Points of Consciousness:

  1. “I can eat this bread that I made.”
  2. “The yeast makes the dough get bigger.”
  3. “The dough feels good in my hands.”
  4. “We roll the dough just like a rug.”
  5. “I can measure ingredients.”

Self-Correcting Indicators:

  1. Too much of one ingredient: the dough is too crumbly or sticky.
  2. The bread doesn’t rise.
  3. The containers – dough spilling out of the bowl or off the tray.

Language: names of ingredients, sizes of measures, knead, dough, bread

Variations & Extensions:

  1. Add herbs to dough.
  2. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough.

Notes:

  • Works well as a whole class activity using groups of three.
  • Needs two adults for support (i.e. assistant and parent volunteer)

Check out the photos from our bread making adventure!

 

**Views expressed in this post are my own and not necessarily shared by Millhopper Montessori School.

Montessori and Nature

One of the tenants of the Montessori philosophy is what Dr. Montessori called the Prepared Environment. It has seven components which combined allow the classroom to function the way she envisioned in her early work:

  • Freedom
  • Structure and order
  • Reality and nature
  • Beauty and atmosphere
  • The Montessori materials
  • The development of a community
  • The adult

Several of these are unique to Montessori classrooms, but the one that I want to talk about today is the idea of infusing reality and nature into the classroom. The items used in the Montessori classroom represent real things, not fantasies or cartoons, all the way down to the books read to the children (in most cases). While fiction is certainly still a crucial part of our library, we strive to include books that depict realistic scenes, not mythical or anthropomorphized creatures. Children use real tools that are child sized, and clean things which are actually dirty instead of pretending to clean.

Effort is given to utilize natural materials as much as possible within the materials to increase the child’s connection to nature. Montessori believed this connection to be critical to the child’s development as a person and a learner. Many Montessori classrooms include one or more pets, and a variety of flora, helping children to gain respect and appreciation for all living things. Further, many Montessorians try to extend their classroom to include the outdoor environment. They might choose to set up some work in the open air, or have work that is only available to do outside. This can be a logistical challenge, but it is something that we strive for to increase children’s chances to be in nature.

This TED talk gave me a wonderful reminder that nature doesn’t have to be as hard to find as it sometimes seems, especially for children. I see the appreciation for exploration of nature amongst the children even on our playground – they are always finding sticks, leaves, nuts, and creatures that fascinate them. Dr. Montessori believed that this connection to nature was not only good for children in its own right, but gives them the foundation they need to become learners and scientists. As they explore, they are forming questions and theories and seeking explanations to complex systems, not to mention gaining an appreciation for the world that they live in.

Where’s your nearest nature? Have you explored it lately?

**Views expressed in this post are my own and not necessarily shared by Millhopper Montessori School.

Patience Please

Can I crawl under my desk? Can I storm out and tell the office staff that I don’t want to be the substitute teacher any more? Can I just break down and scream? Or can I calmly explain to my students that their behavior makes me question whether I can be a teacher?

I rapidly assessed each of these options as I considered how to respond to five students shouting at me for attention. Though my consciousness desperately sought a solution, none of these seemed like they would end well. So I pressed on as though nothing had happened, trying my best to hide my inner trauma.

Quitting is rarely an option that comes to mind when I’m frustrated, but it was high on my list as I battled through another solo-teaching day. I finally understood so many of the articles about the first year of teaching. It is hard. With teacher salaries so low, I’m surprised anyone stays past their first challenging group of students.

Initially, I tried to pin my struggle on tiredness from a long week without enough sleep. Certainly this was a factor, but there was something deeper that I imagine only teachers and parents can truly empathize with. It is exhausting to constantly put others needs before your own, particularly when their needs sound a lot more like wants — and you just want to eat the only food you’re going to see for eight hours. It is nearly impossible to care for the hundredth time about one person’s interpretation of a comment that may or may not have been intended to hurt their feelings. It is emotionally draining to repeatedly ask students to implement basic manners, and rather than correct their behavior they argue or negotiate with you instead. Add each student asking you questions that doubt whether you know what you’re doing or if you have their best interest at heart, and it’s surprising that few teachers ever throw things in their classrooms. Nowhere have I seen the limits of patience more tested than as a teacher.

And yet at the end of the day, even the really terrible ones, as we sigh and go home, we say, “they are good kids, they really are,” and we return the next morning. We see those children, all of them, as humans with the capacity for good. But there is no curriculum for guiding them to achieve their potential and to deal with their unique challenges, leaving teachers to simply do their best they can, grasping for any patience they can find.