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Beautiful and Yummy

School: The College School

City/State: St. Louis, MO

Grade(s): 1, 2

Format(s): Cookbook

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Visual Arts

Project Overview

1st and 2nd grade students from the College School in St. Louis, Missouri, created this tiny, beautiful book about pesto as part of a study of sustainability and local foods.

Students grew their own basil, made pesto and made pasta from scratch. They used as many local ingredients as possible including eggs, nuts and garlic. As a way of making connections between school and families, each student brought home a bag of fresh basil. Many families used the basil in recipes, which were then shared in class.

Beautiful and Yummy describes their process, recipes for making pasta and pesto, other uses for basil and the reasons why they focused on sustainable local foods. In explaining their process, the two students who wrote the introduction said, “It just tastes better when you grow it yourself. It is fresh!”

The book also includes students written poems about basil, an introduction by the 2nd graders, and reflections by the teachers regarding the goals of the project and what students were learning. The teacher reflections make this an unusual product – with a good deal of the book dedicated to explaining the philosophical and pedagogical approach of the school through the explication of the reasoning behind the project and all the wide range of things students learned from the project.

The book was edited by a pair of 1st graders and a pair of 2nd graders, who edited the text, selected photographs and picked the title.

The College School has a long-time affiliation with the Reggio Emilia preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy, schools that focus on high quality art studio environments for young children that encourage creativity and expressive cooperation.

Students sold these books, raising money for the local newspaper’s annual “100 Neediest Cases” campaign. The original dimensions for this product were 6 ½ by 4 inches. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • A beautiful model of a tiny-sized, artfully crafted book
  • Combines an aesthetically pleasing format with useful information
  • Shows a product that was graphically designed by the teachers and yet still retains the look and feel of young student’s work via handwritten recipes
  • A model of combining reflective, philosophical and pedagogical writing – by both students and teachers – with project content
  • Nicely includes both student and teacher perspective – blends these perspectives
  • Includes the academic areas that students worked on – see pages 15-16 – which range from health/wellness to math

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can include an ending to my informational text.
  • With support from adults, I can revise my writing by adding details.
  • I can participate in shared research projects.
  • I can construct a closure on the topic of an informative/explanatory text.
  • With support, I can strengthen my writing through editing.
  • I can participate in shared research projects.
  • I can use grammar conventions to send a clear message to a reader or listener.
  • I can use grammar conventions to send a clear message to a reader.
  • I can use conventions to send a clear message to my reader.
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