Using Our Noodles to Write

“Umami is the savoury meatiness in seaweed and miso and soy sauce. It is, to a large extent, the concept that enables Japanese cuisine to be healthy and attractive at the same time.”
― Bee Wilson

This year marks my 20th year teaching English at Gwinn High School. I have been creating content on this blog for nine. Over the years I have shared various blog posts with my students and discussed how blogging is a modern platform to publish our writing.

My final hour of the day I teach creative writing. This year my students are truly a hoot. They are as silly as they are creative and they are equally kind and exuberant. We truly are a community of writers in 7th hour and it’s a joy to end my day with such a unique and creative group of students.

Teaching during a pandemic has come with its challenges. I have been teaching both face-to-face and online since September. I had to teach 100% remotely when we were shut down for 6 weeks in November.

My goal for creative writing is to give my students the opportunity to try different genres, to be creative, and to understand that their words and voices matter. Since many of my students take creative writing multiple years (some every year) I try not to do the same assignments each year. I embrace the challenge of coming up with new curriculum.

The other day in class I asked them if they had ever seen the popular vlogger Emmymade. A couple of the students had and others had not, so we watched a few of her videos. On Emmy’s blog she shares the following statement, “Whether it’s trying to figure out if it’s really worth it to wait a hundred hours for a batch of brownies, finding out what Ranch gummies or giant centipedes taste like, making mayonnaise from a vintage gadget, or tasting desserts and dishes from around the world, I want to learn about our world through food.”

My students, just like myself, were inspired by Emmy’s relaxed delivery, her vast vocabulary, and her culinary knowledge. My students were especially intrigued by her ramen posts.

Watching Emmy’s videos with my students and learning that quite a few of them like to create gourmet meals out of instant ramen was a lightbulb moment for me. I came up with the idea that we could create a “ramen bar” in class and my students could create their own recipes. We could research Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisine and they could write about their own food experiences and share their ramen recipes on my blog.

However, this is where I need a little help. I posted a project on Donors Choose to buy ramen making supplies. I tried to include some ingredients that many of my students have not been exposed to in our rural area. In addition to these ingredients I will bring in fresh spinach and greens, vegetables, and boiled eggs (from our farm) to include in their ramen meals. These supplies would create quite a few batches of ramen, so it will be a special treat for my students who have worked so hard this year.

If you are interesting in donating, here is the project –> Using Our Noodles to Write. Every dollar helps and is tax deductible. Donors Choose has been a huge source of light for my classroom practice and I am so thankful to the generosity of friends, family, and even strangers who have helped so many of our projects come to fruition.

As we head off to spring break in a couple of days, our fingers are crossed that this project will be funded. I am excited to see what my creative students come up with and I cannot wait to share their ramen recipes with you.

Do you have a favorite ramen recipe? What tips of tricks do you have for perking up packets of instant ramen? I would love to learn from you and share your ideas with my students.

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