Courtesy of San Benito High School Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum:
Dear San Benito High School Parents, Students and Community:
With the move to remote instruction, San Benito High School educators have gotten creative with content delivery, utilizing modern technology to provide students with a rigorous educational experience. Culinary teacher Mike Fisher is no different, drawing inspiration from cooking shows like “Chopped” and Gordon Ramsey’s “Master Chef” to bring students into his kitchen remotely.
From his home kitchen, Fisher, in his third year as a teacher at SBHS, has filmed himself making 30-minute videos to guide students on making dishes such as gnocchi with Brussels sprouts and bacon and Le Bon grilled cheese. He uses the Screencastify app to record himself and post the videos for students on Google Classroom.
“I want to inspire them by giving them cooking videos of food that makes them feel good,” Fisher said. “My first one was grilled cheese with Caprese salad, because it’s something to get their mouth watering.”
Lessons on Safety and Cleanliness
Woven among the instructions on selecting ingredients, measuring and slicing are guidelines for kitchen safety, such as where to put a knife on a cutting board and when student chefs should wash their hands between food preparation tasks.
Fisher has also had students submit their own cooking videos using the app Flipgrid, which allows students to film themselves using their school-issued Chromebooks or their personal cell phones and submit the work for grading.
“I tell students to cook whatever they want while naming the food groups used in their dish and talk about how many calories are in each ingredient of their dish,” he said. “It’s trying to be creative to get content across to them.”
Using the Food Network show “Chopped” as inspiration for one assignment, Fisher had his students do a challenge in which they had to use certain utensils to make a meal, rather than using certain ingredients, like chefs do on the popular show.
Zoom Facilitates Small-Group Lessons
During his Zoom sessions with cohorts of approximately 15 students each morning and afternoon, Fisher utilizes breakout rooms to explain cooking techniques to smaller groups of students and answer questions they may have.
This week, he assigned different countries to six different groups and had students research a quick bread and a yeast bread from each of those countries. His students assigned to Israel found pita to be a yeast bread common to that country, while those researching Iran learned about a similar bread: lavash. Fisher then connected the lesson by noting that all countries use the same ingredients as leavening agents.
He used the breakout room approach last week during discussion of eggs and dairy and earlier this week while addressing the impact of wheat, corn, rice and oats on the advancement of civilization.
“I had them tell me which civilizations were the first to use these ingredients and what they made out of them,” Fisher said. “Why was it so important? It was a little bit of a history lesson to show that grains really kick-started the progression of civilizations.”
“Doing What’s Best for Students”
Fisher has Culinary 1 classes during this first six-week semester and will again during the next six weeks, followed by a third semester of classes with his more advanced Culinary 2 and 3 classes. He said it’s important for teachers to be “very fluid, doing what’s best for the students” while doing his best to replicate the classroom experience remotely.
Mr. Fisher exemplifies the creative, caring spirit that San Benito High School’s teachers display, no matter the challenges. He is a reminder that every day is a great day to be a Baler!
San Benito High School Superintendent Dr. Shawn Tennenbaum