A group of Lafayette second-graders were tasked with designing cookies and using their words to persuade a bakery to make them. It worked.
Cookie Mama, a home bakery in Youngsville, brought their designs to life as a surprise treat for the students at Episcopal School of Acadiana. Teacher Emily Theriot called Kay Broussard, owner of Cookie Mama, last month to set up the surprise.
Theriot’s students were completing an assisgnment called “Design a Cookie Contest,” inspired by a donut contest she’d seen on social media. The worksheet called for students to not only provide a drawing of their finished cookie, but also to give it a name and to detail their inspiration.
“I have a pretty creative group this year,” Theriot said. “They’re always drawing.”
She combined her kids’ interest with cookies, because it’s hard to go wrong with food.
“Food is always a language that speaks to children,” Theriot said.
The students also had to write a persuasive essay asking a bakery to make their design a reality.
“We try to do a variety of writing topics for second grade,” Theriot said. “Persuasive writing is usually pretty tough for them. They think ‘please’ is enough to make it persuasive.”
So she upped the ante, making the assignment a competition. The students had to explain what was unique or better about their design to “win” the contest.
“It led itself to being a pretty persuasive piece of writing,” Theriot said.
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Theriot paired up with Broussard, whom she’s enlisted for cookies before in her personal life. She knew her for quality and wanted to support a local business.
Broussard jumped at the chance to put the kids’ designs onto sugar cookies, using edible markers on white royal icing to make them look as much like the originals as possible.
“I have six kids myself; I’m a former teacher and my husband’s an assistant principal,” Broussard explained. “Anytime teachers have a cool idea I’m all about it.”
Kids came up with their own creations, like a “Mr. Spiny Arm” dinosaur or the “cool for school” llama wearing sunglasses. Others incorporated their favorite character from “The Mandalorian” or Pokemon.
Some gave Broussard a run for her money. She said the stained glass designs were the trickiest to recreate.
“I said, ‘I hope I do it justice,'” Broussard said.
The original plan was for Broussard to make only the two winning designs — the llama and Mandalorian. But she and Theriot decided to surprise all 19 kids with cookies featuring their drawings.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions Broussard didn’t deliver the 19 cookies to the classroom, but she wishes she could have seen the students’ faces.
“Their reaction was so genuine,” Theriot said.
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Broussard said it was likely her favorite cookie project since she started her business five years ago, because she could help incorporate some fun in the classroom.
“It makes learning fun and makes them feel appreciated by the teacher,” Broussard said.
That’s what Theriot was going for — a lesson that would leave an impression on her class.
“We really try to make sure students have meaningful experiences so that the next time they go to write persuasively they’ll remember this,” the teacher said.
She plans to repeat the lesson with future classes, because it was such a hit.
“We had a fun time, and we learned a lot of lessons,” Theriot said. “We learned patience waiting for the baker; we learned losing with grace and being excited for our friends who won. And it turned into a big celebration.”
Contact children’s issues reporter Leigh Guidry at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeighGGuidry.