By Holly Brown, Redmond School District public information officer
REDMOND, Ore.- An excited hand shot into the air as fifth grade students from Mrs. Kelly Joyce’s class settled into their seats at M.A. Lynch Elementary last Friday.
“ARE WE MAKING JAM?!” the eager student asked.
“Let’s Jam!” was projected on the board behind Adrienne Atkins, FoodCorps service member. She smiled and confirmed that the students would be making jam and learning about a food system for their lesson.
Atkins works at M.A Lynch, building a culture of health. She teaches students about nutrition, access, and familiarity of foods through classroom instruction and hand-on lessons.
In the jam lesson, students were assigned roles that ranged from harvesters at the farm to sellers at the supermarket. The lesson walked them through all of the steps to create jam and the students learned how many people and how much time was involved in the food system of jam. The students were engaged and excited to clean, chop, smash, add ingredients, package, transport, and finally deliver a sweet snack to their classmates at the end of the lesson.
Sometimes Atkins takes lessons out to the garden at M.A. Lynch, where students can get their hands dirty.
“Having hands on experience, being outside, is huge for them,” Atkins said. “During nice weeks, I take the kids out as much as possible.”
The school recently received a grant from the Garden for Every School program through the Environmental Center which funded developments to make the garden a better learning space for students.
Joyce said that having Atkins in the school exposes the students to things they wouldn’t otherwise experience. “When my students were in fourth grade, they started the garden. Then they harvested the vegetables in the fall and made salsa,” she gave as an example.
Mrs. Jennifer Lee Soon, a fourth grade teacher at M.A. Lynch, said her students learned about native tribes of Oregon and made fry bread.
“She has such a good approach,” said Joyce about Atkins. “It’s not about good food, bad food. She celebrates food from cultures.”
Atkins said she teaches kids to think about “what they’re eating, where is it coming from, and how it makes your body feel.”
Another activity that Atkins organizes is her virtual cooking nights. For these events, students can sign up to receive an ingredient bag to take home. During the virtual class, families gather together to cook the meal from the ingredient bag. Atkins offers helpful tips and teaches basic cooking skills for the kids.
“Even if your six year old is just ripping up spinach leaves, they’re getting their hands on it, and participating in making food,” she said.
At the end of the year, students take home a class cookbook which includes recipes from student families.
Sadly, this is Atkins’ last year at M.A. Lynch. FoodCorps is currently recruiting for the position now, which is open to “anyone, from any walk of life,” said Atkins. Interested applicants can apply at https://foodcorps.org/apply/. The deadline to apply for the position is March 27th to receive a decision by May 15th.
Redmond School District | 145 SE Salmon Drive. | Redmond, OR | 97756 | P: 541.923.5437
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District 504 Contact:
Tami Nakamura, Executive Director of Student Services | Email | (541) 923-8258
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Kelly Hicks, Director of Human Resources | Email | (541) 923-8922
Heather Petersen, Assistant Director of Human Resources/DEI Specialist | Email | (541) 923-8924