It has been hard for Pocahontas County Schools to implement fun and creative projects during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the social distancing and remote learning.
That didn’t stop fourth through eighth grade students at Green Bank Elementary-Middle School from participating in the King Arthur Flour Bake for Good program this year.
English/language arts teacher Erin Baldwin first applied to participate in Bake for Good four years ago and the students enjoyed it so much, she applied again, and the school was selected for the project.
Bake for Good is a program where students learn how to bake bread with kits provided by King Arthur Flour and then share the baked goods with the community.
“I came across it because I use their products, and I think I actually saw it on a bag of flour,” Baldwin said. “I looked into it and thought ‘this would be fun,’ and we applied, and got approved.”
The first time GBEMS participated, the kits were sent to the school and the students learned how to bake bread together in the school’s cafeteria.
This year, things were a bit different.
“The kids did a forty-five minute baking demonstration with one of the bakers from the program,” Baldwin said. “We actually did a Zoom meeting. She led the class and the kids watched. During that program, they learned how to bake a loaf of bread, and the instructor talked about the science and the math, and all the educational aspects of baking bread while the students watched her bake it.
“It was like an actual Food Network class,” she continued. “It was really neat.”
After the demonstration, the students received their baking kits, and they baked bread at home with their families.
“They sent us the baking kits – it came in a canvas tote, and they had whole wheat flour, white flour, bread scraper and the yeast,” Baldwin said. “Pretty much everything they needed except water. They had all the materials, and this nice canvas bag that we were able to hand out to all the students.”
The teachers are trying to make school as normal as possible during the pandemic, and Baldwin said it was nice to have a fun project to include with the regular curriculum this year.
“We’re doing our live classes during the week, but it was kind of nice to have a fun program,” she said. “They got to interact with an expert in baking and it was really cool, too, because after they were done, they sent me pictures of them doing a fun activity with their family. It was a neat, fun activity – heartwarming to do during all of this.”
Usually, the bread baked by the students is gathered and donated to a local cause – the first time GBEMS participated, the bread was donated to the Family Resource Network. But this time, the students chose with whom to share their baked goods.
“The idea is that not only do you learn to bake, but you also give back to the community,” Baldwin said. “The recipe the kids do – they make enough for themselves to enjoy and some to donate. They could share with a loved one.
“When we did it before, we gathered up all the bread and donated it as a group to the FRN,” she continued. “This year, they were just supposed to share it with someone that they were close to or a community member.”
The project has been so successful the two years GBEMS has participated, Baldwin said she hopes the school can continue to implement Bake for Good in the classrooms.
“I don’t know if there’s any limit on how many times we can apply, but both times we’ve been approved,” she said. “I wouldn’t mind doing this every year or on a cycle because it was a lot of fun.”