January 22, 2013

It's What We Do: Sally Clinton

Source: It's What We Do

Sally Clinton, retired member of Newburgh Teachers Association/Teaching Assistant Chapter, shares her story of the Special Education Department's "Cookie Program," a tasty learning experience for all:

sally clintonBefore becoming a Teaching Assistant, I was a Teacher Aide in the early 1980’s in the Special Education Department at Newburgh Free Academy. I worked very closely with Donald Davis who taught Math and English. Mr. Davis’ course outline included teaching fractions in his math classes. He wanted to make this course fun to learn so he came up with the idea of using a chocolate chip cookie recipe as a teaching tool for his classes.

The students followed the directions with the help from both Mr. Davis and me. Each ingredient was measured according to the recipe. When the batter was complete the cookies were baked and they were given as a treat to the students. This behavior modification was instant gratification for the student and the demand for cookies multiplied. Mr. Davis’ class, with the permission of the school’s administrators, began baking double the amounts and selling them for $1 during Home Room. Some of the proceeds from the sales replenished our supplies. The students bagged six and one half cookies, this was now the inception of baker’s half dozen.  A student artist drew our logo on each bag. It was the letter “B” in baker’s characterized as a baker.

Students made the cookie batter at the end of the day for the next morning’s bakers. The following day during first, second and third periods, students signed in and the batter was spooned onto trays and baked. There was a change of bakers with each period. Under the direction of Mr. Davis and I, ingredients were increased to try to keep up with our orders. No matter how many bags were prepared, there was just never enough to satisfy the demand! There were days that 40 bags of cookies were sold.

The students in our “Cookie Program” as it was later named, felt a sense of pride and self worth especially when members of the faculty/staff would call and place an order for an upcoming event.

Read more about how the program continued to grow ...

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