How Grandma’s Cookies Inspired Third-Graders to Learn (& Saved My Friday Afternoon)

Dear Grandma Barb,


Last week you inspired a group of students to wash their hands, work together, and do some math.


You’ve been inspiring them for a little longer than that.

The first time they had your cookies, they were hooked.


As the middle of the school week rolled in, I found myself frustrated and needing a distraction. I found the students restless with the changes in their schedule, the changes I couldn’t avoid or lessen. Our structure was out the window. I needed to bring in the big guns.


That’s when they asked me to make them cookies.


That’s when your inspiration hit.


On Friday, my class of 13—nobody would dare be absent on the day of the Cookie Conundrum—put together M&M, Chocolate Chip, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.


It was beautiful.


Split into their table teams, I don’t think I’ve ever seen all of them work together so well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them so focused, independent, helpful, and excited. They each took on necessary roles as I had informed them that they would get no help measuring or following directions from me.


One of them took over crossing off ingredients and directions as they used them. One of them took over making sure nothing was heaping by flattening it with a ruler like they had seen on the episode of Cyberchase I played to prepare them. One of them took over stirring as if the spoon was the finger of God creating a tornado. They all took turns screaming excitedly and running up for their next ingredient. They didn’t need to take turns when I brought them back small plates from the kitchen to taste the product of each group.


I’m saving up all of the third-grade hugs and thank yous I received for when I see you in person.


Aside from trying to calm them as they ran around in search of the next ingredient, I myself wanted to cry as the M&M cookies smelled just like the way my Dad & brother like them, as the chocolate chip cookie dough that slipped onto my fingers tasted just as gooey and satisfying as it should.


Thank you for that.


Thank you for always having cookies around. Thank you for passing on your love of baking and your recipes to my family. Without you, our Friday afternoon would have looked a lot different.


Thank you for the inspiration that has renewed some creative juices and will hopefully lead to more baking (or at least cultural food sampling) next school year.


I may not get to see you as often as I wish I could, but your cookies have been a hit on two continents and have now reached the Arctic.


See you soon.


Yours truly,