Fundraisers are part of every school community. We’ve all pulled an Oliver Twist as we peddled our overpriced chocolate bars around the neighbourhood. Last year at ORCS, we tackled a completely different fundraiser. Pie making! I had no idea that pie making would be such an adventure...
Let’s go over the ingredients:
A pile of apples
A pile of sugar
A pile of flour
20 grade 7/8 students
Mix all of these together and voila! Chaos!
The room was set up with all different stations. Students were divided into groups and sent to the stations. As time progressed the groups rotated so that everybody had a chance to experience every part of the pie-making process.
Station 1: Peel and Core
The apple peelers were clamped down to the tables. The student would take a luscious apple, and jam it on the sharp spokes of the peeler. A blade would be resting against the peel. When the arm was turned by the student, the peel would come off in a long strip. Once the peel was off, the apple could be slid off this contraption. The sharp spokes cored the apple as well. If done properly with a watchful eye, an apple could be cored and peeled in no time flat. If however, the peeler arm was spun too fast (i.e. warp speed), or the student was not paying attention (i.e. often) the peel and the apple would disappear under the arm of the peeler.
Station 2: Mix the apples into a large bowl of sugary, syrupy gloop
I suppose one of the fatal flaws of this fundraiser was that we made the pies right before lunch. Stomachs cried out as the delicious apple slices were dropped into a large bowl of some kind of cinnamon sugar potion. This station can also be called ‘the temptation station’. Many of the students began deftly munching on a few of the sugary apple slices. By the time it was time to rotate, these students were having a full out feast. Because it is not cool to wear aprons at this age (who can blame them?) many students got this syrupy slop all over their nice white uniform shirts. After a while, the fronts of their shirts dried as hard as a rock. While the futures of their uniform tops were in doubt, it did keep the students from devouring their sugary shirts.
Station 3: Make the pie dough
From the temptation station, where large amounts of sugar were consumed, students moved onto the pie dough stage. While the student’s eyes were already wide-eyed and wild after station 2, they only grew larger with wonderment and excitement when they saw the large pile of flour. They quickly turned into Robin Hood’s Merry Men. For every handful of flour that went into the pie dough, another handful went onto someone’s face/hair/clothes. Picture one of the students if you will. Hands and shirt were completely sticky – now add a shower of flour. Some of the students were beginning to look like mimes.
Station 4: Put the apples into the pie shell
This station was a déjà vu to the ‘temptation station’. The mode of operation was as follows: put an apple slice in the pie shell, and then put a slice in your mouth. Repeat.
Station 5: Crumble top
Never will I forget this station. My nice quiet, retrospective, civilized students were transformed at this station into rabid animals. I’m not sure what crumble top is all made of, but I do know that it is full of sugar, and that it is delicious. It certainly did not help that it was nearing lunchtime. At first students were sneakily eating little clumps while they worked, but that quickly ended. Finally we finished all of the pies, but there was still a large pile of crumble top left. The students descended upon this station like moths to a light. Snarling and growling could be heard as students jostled for position around the table of crumble top.
We finally finished, and the clean-up was minimal (I think the crumble top table was licked clean). As a thank-you for helping, the PTA (who were bravely helping us) baked two of the pies for us to enjoy at lunch.
Lunch is normally a lively affair in the classroom, but they all seem terribly dull compared to this lunch. The leftover boerenkoel and stamppott their mothers had so lovingly packed in the student’s lunches were quickly cast aside for the pies. By this point, the students were beyond hyper. They were at the climax of their sugar rushes and the pie served as fuel for the fire. Some of the students were so filled with energy that they were unable to sit down while they ate. I think one student was even levitating. After they inhaled the pies, they went outside and ripped around for half an hour.
As a wise man once said, ‘what goes up must come down.’ When the bell rang for the students to come back inside, I noticed that the sugar rush had worn off. Big time. They were all experiencing a severe sugar crash. I had an exciting History lesson planned for the afternoon. We would be learning about Etienne Brule, the first coureurs de bois, who met his unsavoury demise by being eaten by Natives. As I launched into this exciting story I noticed that some of the student’s eyelids were getting heavy. Other students were losing a battle with gravity and were sliding lower and lower down into their desks. Needless to say, it was a quiet afternoon.
The final bell went and the students silently shuffled out of the room. Instead of saying ‘goodbye’ a couple of them unconsciously said ‘goodnight’.
It was a roller coaster kind of day, but one of those days you are thankful for having the privilege of teaching.