What’s cooking with the Three Young Chefs?

Three girls in chef hats and aprons taste desert on plate

Rhodes Elementary School fourth grade teacher Christopher Sandrin knows the recipe for student engagement starts with understanding your students.

As he reviewed writing journals for his class, he noticed that three students expressed an interest in cooking, baking, and reading cookbooks. Sandrin encouraged the trio – Kaylene Saenz, Mei Garcia, and Valenciana Huerta – to explore their shared interest and create a cooking show. Enter the Three Young Chefs.

“The goal of the show is to promote nonfiction reading texts and allow the students to pursue their interests that will serve them in school and beyond,” Sandrin said.

The Young Chefs pick a recipe, write a script, gather the ingredients, use an iPad to take step by step photos of the process, and film introductions using a green screen. They edit each episode, adding captions for each step of the recipe, using Apple Clips and the DoInk app. They even came up with the opening theme song and drew the picture used as the backdrop.

Elementary Academic Technology Coach Michelle Fikac was so impressed by their dedication, she bought the aprons they wear for the show. She also guides them through the production process and has watched them develop confidence, learn how to delegate, and function as a team.

“It’s giving them the vehicle, showing them options, and watching them think through it and then do it,” Fikac said. “They make all the choices and totally own it. They could sit here all day and do this on the iPad. Now all the other kids in the class want to do a cooking show too.”

The finished videos are posted on YouTube and shared during the school’s morning announcements. Featured kid-friendly recipes have included lemonade and brown sugar bumps. Click here to watch their first video. 

“My favorite thing is not cooking by myself,” said Garcia. “I get to cook with my friends.”

Along the way they’re also sharpening skills in measurement/estimation, following directions, and reading. Ultimately, the Three Young Chefs are in charge of their learning and will have lasting memories of the experience and the teacher who brought them together.

 “We hope that it will inspire other students to pursue their own passion projects on campus,” Sandrin said.