For 20 of her 24 years in the Vandalia-Butler City School district, Angela Haer has been organizing a Thanksgiving feast with her class.
Haer says they do a traditional meal with "the whole meal, turkey, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, and, of course, dressing."
While that may seem pretty traditional, Haer and her helpers have to be a little more creativing preparing that meal. They do it all without an oven.
"We have gotten very creative using roasters, microwaves, electric woks and crockpots. It is a lot of work and parents help me tremendously with donations to allow this to be possible."
Haer says she is also lucky to have colleagues who do the project with her. This year it was Katie Puhl, Speech Pathologist, and Bridget O’Connell, Intervention Specialist, who worked with her.
And while it may just seem like a chance to eat at school, she knows the education lessons are endless. Haer says having the feast teaches valuable lessons in measuring, reading directions, working cooperatively with others and using skills learned in the classroom that apply in a real-life situation.
"I also believe the act of cooking a meal together and then sharing that meal helps develop social and language skills which greatly benefit all children and adults alike. In today’s world meals so often take place on the 'run' or are eaten quickly at a sports event or on the way to complete other tasks. The majority of today’s families both parents are working and students are scheduled at the end of the school day. That makes taking the time to prepare a large meal and sitting down together, a great opportunity since many people today are not able to do this as often as they would like. Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on all that we have and enjoying those around us," Haer said.