National French Week: A Virtual Culinary Experience

National French Week looked a little bit different this year than it normally looks.  Click here for a glimpse of how I've celebrated the occasion in a pre-covid world.  This year I really wanted to put all my energy into a virtual taste test as a means to introduce cuisine into the curriculum.  At the end of the school year, students always say the opportunities to try new food were the most memorable moments of my class, and I didn't think it was fair to the students simply omit food from the curriculum this year.  Since consuming food in the classroom setting is not feasible at this point, I knew it would have to be done virtually.  First, I provided students with this list of recipes and treats from the francophone world.  I asked all students to either prepare or purchase a dish or treat to consume during class on a Wednesday, which is our virtual day.  I told students that if they were unable to get to the store and purchase something for any reason to let me know and I would provide them with a treat.  On the day of the taste test, I put students in breakout rooms and gave them some guiding questions to discuss their food.  I went around to each breakout room and chatted with the students.  Most of them seemed quite happy to be consuming a treat during class!  I asked students to send me photos of their food.  Here is a little slideshow I made to commemorate the occasion:

In some classes, if time remained, I showed some of the videos in the playlist below:

As a follow up, students were asked to watch the videos in the playlist and then answer the following questions:
-Did you enjoy your dish?  Was it similar to anything you have tried before?  If so, what?
-What's one dish another student brought OR that you saw in the videos below that you thought you might like to try in the future?
-What's one interesting piece of knowledge you learned from the videos?
-Finally, please provide feedback on how the virtual taste test went.  Understanding that having food in the classroom isn't an option right now, is this how you would most enjoy incorporating food into our lessons, or do you have suggestions for improvement or an alternate idea?

Here are some of the comments students left in their follow up:

Students also made some great suggestions for improvement.  A lot of students said they would prefer we did not do breakout rooms because they wanted to see more food.  I had chosen the breakout rooms to encourage students to feel more comfortable sharing and presenting.  One student suggested I make a Flipgrid assignment to accompany it (I've just started using Flipgrid this year and I love it!).

Overall, students said they were pleased with how this turned out and look forward to doing it again, but all things being equal, they'd really love to be able to eat in the classroom again!

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