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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baking for Haiti

Rich and I were out with our friends about two weeks ago when I received an e-mail from Sweetopia, one of the food blogs I follow. Marion came up with the most brilliant idea!  She titled her post, "Baking for Haiti." The idea of “Baking for Haiti” with my own students whirled around in my mind for hours that weekend.  I just couldn't stop thinking about it!

It wasn't until I started the work week on Monday that I approached my administration with this idea.  The rest is history! 

Planning and Organizing
Baking for Haiti is a project that my grade 6 students and I worked on as a class for the past two weeks. And what a success it was!

After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, my class had many discussions about what occurred and how lucky and fortunate my students are to live the lives that they do.  To better understand the lives of the survivours and those still struggling to survive, the students were required to research an article of their choice relating to what happened.  The students summarized their chosen article and shared their ideas with the rest of the class. 

It was at that point that I wanted to do more and I knew that the students would learn so much by working together with one another on a class project to raise money for Haiti.  The class brainstormed many ideas of how we could raise more money to help the survivours. Finally, the idea of a bake sale came to life!

As a class, we discussed all of the steps involved in planning and organizing such a large scale event. I wanted the students to have ownership over this task.  I wanted them not only to sell baked goods, but rather, I wanted them to be involved in the entire process of planning an event.  This would include the making, baking, decorating, and the final sale of the products which were prepared at school.

To begin with, the students worked in pairs to create posters and announcements.  Announcements were made each day and posters were hung up around the entire school. 

Initially, the class and I thought that each student could contribute specific ingredients like eggs, flour, sugar etc. to bake cupcakes and brownies, until I spoke to my principal. She suggested partnering with grocery stores in the neighbourhood who might donate products or gift cards for our fundraiser.  What a great idea! 

It didn't take much time for me to compose a letter asking for donations!  Our community grocery stores, specifically, John's No Frills, Concord Foods,  and Cedarcroft Price Chopper, kindly donated 90% of the products used to bake the goods for the sale. Additional products like decorations for cupcakes were donated by the students' families.

The students were so excited to begin the fun part of our project! 
To my surprise, many of the boys volunteered to bake.  They each chose a role and proceeded to complete their task.

One student learned how to crack an egg for the first time, while others learned how to measure and mix ingredients together and pour the batter into paper liners! 

Decorating Cupcakes
I taught a number of interested students how to pipe icing using a piping bag.  They were excited to use different coloured icing and different tips to decorate "fancy cupcakes."

In total, the students decorated over 400 cupcakes!
The Bake Sale
Four stations were set up around the school.  This idea worked out quite well, (thanks Ghada), since each station was made up of a team of about seven students and one parent volunteer.  Everyone knew their role and worked very well together. Aside from cupcakes, parent volunteers helped prepare brownies and rice crispy squares and cookies were also prepared.
The students did such a great job decorating even the simplest cupcakes.

Counting all of the Money Raised
The cashiers were responsible for counting all of the money raised from each of their cash boxes.  We reviewed a procedure to count the money and each pair worked together to add up all of the money that their station raised.  Finally, I added all of the totals together.... 

Are you ready to hear how much money we raised?
Our class raised a total of $655.00!
I am so proud of all of the students in my class.  They did a wonderful job working together to make this fundraiser a huge success. After the event, each student reflected on their experience relating to this event. All reflections were posted on the bulletin board outside my classroom (pictured above).  Many of  the students commented on how much planning went into such a big scale event, and how time consuming an event like this was.  Another student wrote that they learned how to make a cupcake look good so that people would want to buy it and eat it!  Great job grade 6R!

There was one final step left to complete this project.   

Thanking those who helped...
We received an overwhelming number of donations from grocery stores. However, there was a lack of ovens in the school.  As a result, I invited my teacher colleagues to volunteer to bake cupcakes at home.  The response was tremendously positive!  To thank those who baked, the students prepared adorable thank you cards in the shape of cupcakes!  Thank you cards were also sent out to all parents who helped out in any way and to the grocery stores who donated products to this very important bake sale. 

To my surprise, just the other day, my students made me the biggest "Thank You Cupcake" of all!  It was a very appreciative gesture from my extremely thoughtful students.  

Overall, this was a fantastic experience for the students and for the school.  Thanks to everyone who helped out in any way.  Finally, I have to thank Marion from Sweetopia, for without her idea, this huge success would not have taken place.


  1. Pam said...
    Great job.

    Congratulations to all who were involved.

    Sorry we missed out on those cupcakes!

  2. This is awesome. Great job 6R! :)

  3. Melissa, you are such inspiration! Good for you and you taught your students such important lessons in all this.

  4. What an awesome idea and congrats on doing such a great job!!

  5. Jason said...
    Nice job!
    Great idea - I'm glad that your principal let you have a bake sale! Your students looked so engaged. Great job!

  6. Kim said...
    Wow! Your pictures are great.

  7. Heather said...
    Great job Melissa!!!
    That's awesome =)

  8. Morris said...
    great idea
    here's is another great idea
    delicious sugarless hamantachen for purim

  9. What a wonderful idea! Your post brought tears to my eyes. Sounds like you are a teacher who is making a lasting impact in the life of your kids. They will never forget baking for Haiti! Congrats

  10. Wow Mel. That's awesome, Not only are you the best baker I know, you are also a fabulous teacher. Keep up the great work!

  11. Sabina said...
    Melissa, you are amazing! I am so proud of you!

  12. Ghada said...
    Very very nice...I will visit your blog often....Very inviting.

  13. Ann said...
    Thank you Melissa for the link…it looks like you spent a great deal of time summarizing and sharing your journey….it’s a wonderful story!

  14. What a wonderful way to get the students involved helping those in need. Thank you for the wonderful idea and as you know, the wonderfully yummy treats. Hanna had a cupcake AND and brownie.

  15. Delurking to say Hooray! for you and your wonderful students! What a great lesson (and so much fun, too!) Good job!

  16. thanks for making my heart smile! :)

  17. Marilyn said...
    What a great learning experience for the kids to see things through from start to finish.

    I'm so happy that Rebecca is in a class led by such a dedicated, hard-working and thoughtful teacher!

  18. Oh WOW WOW WOW!!!! I am so impressed with your bake sale... the whole thing... AMAZING!!

    You put so much time and work into this -it's obvious!! Your class and all the volunteers also did a FANTASTIC job!! I even teared up at how much money you raised (super!), and at all the wonderful things that happened to make the bake sale happen.

    I may have planted a seed, but you and your class made the idea grow into a flower! CONGRATULATIONS to you and everyone involved; the people in Haiti will be better off because of you.

  19. Susan said...
    What lucky little grade sixers you have - this is what learning should be all about at school, and so great for those that are not the best at the auditory and visual learning, yahoo for all you are doing in a very practical way, I hope more teachers will catch the importance of a project like yours for the future, there always things like this that can be done that would teach incredible life skills...brilliant on your part.
    Thanks for sharing,