I love cooking with my student around this time of the year. There are so many great Thanksgiving dishes to make. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin fluff, cranberry fluff, and green beans seem to be popular for my students. I usually do different Thanksgiving related cooking activities with my students in the month of November. I wanted to share my Mashed Potato recipe I like to use with my students with you. I created 2 different sets of recipes depending on the size of the group. Both sets of recipes consist of a visual recipe and written recipe. The first version I use in therapy with my small groups of 3-4 students and the other version I made to use with larger group of students or the whole class.
The written recipe works well for your higher functioning students and students who can read without the added visual supports.
I often do a cooking activity with my students for Thanksgiving and that is when I would use the regular version of the recipe. I have my student take turns completing the different steps and requesting all the material needed.
Make sure to get out those PECS books and AAC devices so your students can do lots of requesting. I included visuals for all the items in the recipe which you can add to your students’ PECS books or other communication books. You can have them work on requesting the item using a single word utterance or expanding their utterances and use an “I need….” or “I want….” phrase.
After they eat their mashed potatoes I have them complete the visual or written questions as a follow-up activity. I only made the follow-up questions for this version of recipe. This always makes for a fun therapy session.
I created the Large Group Mashed Potato recipe to use during whole class instruction in my blended preschool program or when we have a whole class party in one of the special education classrooms in which I support. Last year in one of my special education classrooms we had a Thanksgiving Feast. Here is how we set it up. The teacher and I made 4 stations and each group of students (3-4 students) completed 2 rotations to create food for the feast. At my station I had both rotations of students complete the Large Group Mashed Potato recipe (we wanted to make sure we had plenty for everyone and to share with teachers/paraprofessionals). The occupational therapist did 2 rotations and both groups did Stuffing, the teacher had one of her groups do Pumpkin Fluff and the other do Cranberry Fluff, finally one of the paraprofessionals had one group heat up green beans and the other group did corn. We just bought some thick slices of turkey and had canned gravy to make it easy. We set up all the food on a long table. The students would go through the line and had to request all the different food items they wanted. Lots of choices which makes it so motivating for my students to work on requesting.
The more organized you are for a class party of students with special needs the easy it is. I found making larger recipe sizes and limiting the number of rotations really helped last year.
If you are interested in using this mashed potato recipe with your students click the link – Mashed Potatoes Recipe
You can also have your students practice making Thanksgiving plates before you have your actual feast. Here is an activity I often do with my students.
You can click the link to read about these Thanksgiving Plates from a previous Thanksgiving Post – Turkey, Turkey What Do You Smell? and Thanksgiving Craft. If you want to use this resource here is the link for the material needed to create the Thanksgiving Plates – Thanksgiving Food Craft