Pancakes go best with Nutella in Rome

When Olivia showed up yesterday afternoon she wanted a snack so badly, she was completely in tears.  It wasn't that she hadn't eaten--she'd just come from a restaurant, but I guess what she'd had didn't hit the spot.  The snacker that lives within me immediately recognized this as a golden opportunity.  "Why don't we make pancakes?" I suggested, "They're really simple and yummy and we can write about them for our lesson!  Plus, I have the perfect book!"  She nodded pitifully, and reluctantly walked inside.

First we went over her communication journal and her poetry journal.  Since Olivia is a beginner English learner, I tend to choose selections from this poetry book:
It's by one of my all-time favorite authors, James Marshall, and I'm sure you can tell by the cover and title alone that the poems inside provide all sorts of hilarity for readers.

First Olivia chose a couple of poem entries to read aloud to me--Fuzzy Wuzzy is one of her favorites.

This one's also fun:

Then she cut and pasted in a new entry:

We highlighted the rhyming words from the poem:
and talked a bit about how to correctly pronounce many words that end in "ed".

Then we moved along to a math sheet.  I tend to be drawn to anything other than worksheets, but I do recognize their usefulness in specific circumstances.  With Olivia, I use a math one each time she visits--just to continually expose her to mathematical concepts and also get her talking about vocabulary she might not otherwise know or use.

By this point she was starving, and as promised we began getting ready to make the pancakes.

I threw together a quick vocabulary sheet, and told her that she'd illustrate and write the new words we learned while cooking.

We gathered our materials and ingredients, and while doing so wrote down the words and drew pictures for what we would be using:
As we named each of the items, Olivia jotted down the names of the vocab sheet.  I've never seen her write so fast!  We corrected the spelling errors together.

Then we mixed all of the ingredients:
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of rice milk
a pinch of yeast
a spoonful of olive oil
a tablespoon of sugar
*normally I would add an egg to this, but we skipped that this time around

Then we poured it in the pan
and waited for the bubbles

Before pouring in the batter I'd asked Olivia if she wanted a small or large pancake, and she replied, "Big!"

Maybe it was too big...
The flip was unsuccessful, and my hungry buddy was irritated.  She poked it with the spatula, then pouted.

"No worries!" I exclaimed.  "When life gives you broken pancakes, you make..."

you can see the eyes at least, right?  Riiiiight??? Ok, moving on...

She went with it, and soon the pancake disaster didn't matter because we'd cut it up into edible bites.  Then Olivia doused the pieces with maple syrup.

She took one bite, then winced like she was in severe physical pain.

"What's wrong?" I asked, "You don't like it?!"  She shook her head and pointed at the maple syrup, indicating it as the culprit.  "Oh, you don't like maple syrup."  She shook her head again.  "No problem," I continued, "at least you tried, and we learned a ton of new words, right?"  She nodded.

After scrambling around in the kitchen for a substitute, Olivia decided on another snack that starts with the letter "P":
Even though the pancakes weren't a hit, we learned plenty of new words that she now has a connection to and will be more likely to remember in the future.  I suggested that she cut them out individually when she got home to use as flash cards for word practice:

When her mom came and asked how it all went, we told her the story of how maple syrup ruined Olivia's pancake experience.  "Ah," her mom said, "I think that syrup is an acquired taste.  She would have eaten the whole thing if you had put Nutella on top!"

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