East fourth graders spend months writing recipe book – and get published

Vision, teamwork, patience, writing and following directions = a recipe book published by East Campus fourth graders.

“Varnett’s 4th Grade Rocking Chef Book,” 77 pages filled with handwritten recipes and illustrations, is for sale for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. But the students won’t get any of the proceeds.

The 29 students started the project over the winter break. “We took a poll on some topics of interest and everyone agreed to create a recipe book,” said fourth-grade teacher Ms. De’Andria Bogney.

Student Ashley Hernandez, 9, talks about her role in contributing to a now-published recipe book. Hint: She likes desserts (video)

They completed a pre-writing packet and gathered ideas about a list of items they could cook. Then they came up with creative titles for their recipes and wrote in detail how to make their dishes.  All books have the same recipe.

Open the book and you’ll see a four-page Table of Contents featuring breakfast, appetizers, lunch, dinner, dessert and a list of the chefs.

“Each bite will make you dance” if you try Brenda Picaz’s delicious scrambled eggs, Brenda wrote in the book. The instructions are meticulous.

Students took five steps to complete the book: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and finally publishing. They were aided by an outline to give the book structure and format and were graded based on each checkpoint in the writing process: edits, revisions and so on.

Jai'Lan Samuel talks about being a crawfish specialist (video)

The company Studentreasures Book Publishing sent the students the publishing kits that included lined paper, blank paper, a cover sheet and so on. “Once we were finished, we sent the raw copies back and they bound the books for us,” Ms. Bogney said.

Where do you find the book? Go to studentreasures.com/ordercopies and use #pin 3755885.

“We went through some bumps through the process but everyone was so dedicated to publishing that we crossed the finished line,” Ms. Bogney said. “All 29 students produced a recipe and an illustration to go with it.”

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All of this work was for exposure with the expository/informational text unit (writing to inform).

Oswaldo Garcia, 10, wrote a recipe for a “Hurricane Burger,” declaring “If you eat my burger you will have a hurricane in your stomach." The ingredients include a patty, buns, slice of cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and “5 or 6 sliced pickles.”  He said the burger is similar to what his father makes; “I just renamed it.”

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Others touted their recipes with confidence: “The taste of the cake will take you anywhere,” “If you eat a sundae on a Sunday it will be a fun day,” and “these crawfish are so hot that you’ll think a volcano erupted in your mouth.”

Although the students or their parents must pay for the books for the privilege of getting published, “The students will be able to treasure this memory for a lifetime,” Ms. Bogney said. “They will be able to share with family and friends.”

The fourth-graders celebrated Friday, May 27, with an afternoon potluck of their own cooking and were joined by Varnett Public School Superintendent Dr. Margaret Stroud. Dr. Stroud gave a thumbs-up during her meal and asked every student to sign the books she bought for members of the Varnett board of directors. 

Ms. Bogney describes the menu (video)

Watch as Dr. Stroud praises the students and staff (video)