Emerald Connection, April 1, 2024

By: Lizzy Brodsky

River trout? Yes! Smoked venison? Yum! Tart berries, tree nuts? Definitely! Pine needle tea? Sure! Turtle eggs? Uhh… maybe.

Curating an authentically wilderness menu of would-be foraged foods that also sounded delicious was tricky but fun for the fifth graders. The result, however, turned out to be a delicious array of salmon, quail eggs, berries, onion soup, greens, honey, and raspberry tea!

To celebrate the end of a novel studies unit about characters who had to survive in the wilderness, our class prepared a feast of foods. They chose foods that shadowed what the characters might have eaten. Students then shared these foods and described how they connected to their novels with parents and grandparents.

During our feast, students also presented from the survival guides, postcards, or even survival instructional video casts they wrote or produced. Pages were flush with details about finding twigs or old bird nests to help build a fire, how to collect honey by lulling the bees to sleep with smoke, and how to aim to spear a fish by accounting for refracted light in water. Some students even learned about treating wounds with honey because it has antibacterial qualities!

The students fully explored the way that literature can bring us into a character’s world, map us through forests and through emotions, while also teaching us practical skills. Our takeaway themes included realizing how critical learning to adapt is and how to analyze mistakes in order to grow and learn from them. These life skills the students decided were actually the most important survival skills of all!


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