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Lakeland Students Learn Life Lessons, and Recipes

YORKTOWN, N.Y.— While students at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School couldn’t taste or smell the traditional African dishes being made on the screen in front of them, their mouths watered and attention focused solely on the class teaching them how to cook.

“Are you ready for this? Ready to taste this?” said the teacher, across the world in Ghana on the screen. The students of course answered yes and watched as the teacher and student ate a meal they had just minutes before taught the students to make.

The class at Copper Beech is Christina Connors’ Family Consumer Science Class, who were able to video conference with a class located in Ghana.

The class showed them how to make meals, how to pronounce some of the different tools and utensils they used while cooking, as well as the bigger picture—what a meal meant to them all the way on a different continent.

After the meals had been cooked the two classes exchanged questions—students shared favorite books, favorite music and even favorite pets. The students in Ghana, much to the surprise of the Lakeland students, enjoy playing with their pets, playing sports, playing Xbox and Playstation or reading books like “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “Harry Potter.”

Connors said the video chat with the students taught the students first hand what it was like to live and eat in a different culture—something as a teacher, she would only be able to teach them second hand.

“I wouldn’t have the same levels of understanding if I was teaching it to them. And for me, I’ve been to Africa before, but I learned so much just by seeing into their classroom and learning all about their culture,” she said.

The idea of these virtual field trips is something other classes in the school district are doing, as a way to learn first-hand about a country.

“I love to travel because I think its one of the best ways that you can learn, so getting these kids to really see how big the world is and how much we can do to connect with each other was really exciting,” Connors said. “And I know the kids really enjoyed it, it made what they have been learning about a little bit more real, right in their classroom.”

While the students in the class certainly learned about recipes, culture, schooling and everyday life, one student left them with a message that teaches a lesson not always found in a classroom, or through a video conference—to slow down and enjoy life, and your family.

“There’s nothing like slow cooking, and when you’re taking your time to cook, you’re sitting with your family, talking; and here in Ghana, we’re always around our family,” a student told the class. “When you’re out of that fast lane, when you get to slow down and get in touch with your creator, it just brings things together for you. You’re not having to think about what’s going on outside or somewhere else, you just have a good time with your family.”

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