Wednesday, 9 May 2007

First session: Introduction, digital cameras, blog and favourite foods exercise to choose seeds.

Before the session began we risk assessed the area that we would be working in outside. We were pleased to see that cardboard had been laid out on the plot, which will begin the work of killing off the grass. We met the play workers that Anthea had at the session, Andy and Michelle.

We started the session by introducing ourselves – we had homemade name badges of masking tape! – and telling the children what our project was all about. They were very excited to hear that we had lots of new technology to share with them, and especially to hear that they would be making a film. Iestyn took a group of them to show them how to use the digital cameras and I began an exercise on favourite foods with the rest of the children.
I began on the flipchart by asking the children to think of their favourite foods, which we listed, these included:
Chips, chocolate, cheeseburgers, bacon and eggs, KFC, sausages, rice pudding, ice cream, skittles, fruit pastilles, prawn crackers, cawl and chicken.
Interestingly, there was a much larger list of fruit and vegetables that were favourites too:
Sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage, peas, beans, apples, grapes, strawberries, kiwi, pears, peaches, broccoli, salad – red lettuce, carrots, parsnips, potatoes – mashed, plums, bananas, fruit salad, mushrooms and pumpkin.
Out of all these foods, I asked the children to think about what could be grown, and there was a discussion about how chocolate comes from cocoa beans in hot countries. We also discussed how rice pudding comes from rice grains, which is a sort of grass!
The next challenge was for the children to work out which of the foods that could be grown, could be grown here in Wales. They were not sure why it was that cocoa trees, for instance, couldn’t grow here, and were telling me how we could go to Africa, get a bean, bring it back here and grow it! I explained that some plants need a certain degree of heat to grow, and that Wales was just not hot enough for them.
The final list that the children came up with, of their favourite foods that could be grown in Wales, was:
Potatoes, beans, carrots, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage, pumpkins, peas, lettuce, tomatoes.
I explained that I had a small budget to buy seeds, and that I would buy the seeds they had chosen. Meanwhile, Iestyn had been out with the children, getting them to take 3 photos each, and showing them how to download them to the computer, which they enjoyed very much.

CAP meets the Out of School Club

Yesterday Chloe and I met the Out of School Club and had a great time talking about what fruit and vegetables they'd like to grow and also learning how to use a digital camera. They showed us that they'd started to prepare the ground by laying down cardboard, in order to cut out the light and kill off the grass (know as a mulch). They also wanted to show us that they'd started to grow some vegetables in grow bags - radishes, broad beans, peas and sunflowers. While Chloe talked to one small group about what other plants they might like to grow, I was able to show the others how to carry the cameras responsibly; how to switch the camera on and off; how to zoom in and zoom out and how to take a shot. We then went outside and all took some photos. Once we'd finished taking the pictures, I was able to show them how to transfer the photos to the computer - everyone had a go at doing this. We then viewed the pictures, which had turned out really well. Chloe and I then changed groups and repeated what we'd done with the first groups. All in all we and the children had a really enjoyable afternoon.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Soup making at the Penparcau Family Centre

This Wednesday Chloe and I made soup at the Penparcau Family Centre. Chloe started the session by making a homemade Tomato Soup. Again the parents and children were involved in the preparation - weighing , peeling, chopping (adults only) and putting into the saucepan. While the soup was cooking, I was able to show four people how the digital camcorder worked. Everyone agreed that the camcorder wasn't as difficult as most people believed. The camcorder was then used by everyone - taking short films of the soup being made. I was also able to show how to transfer digital pictures from one computer to another using a flash/pen drive - again everyone had an opportunity to try this. While Chloe put the Tomato Soup to one side to cool before blending in the blender, I showed the group how to make Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup. I was able to pass on a few tips I'd learnt, for example, which type of stock cubes to use, how to use cornflour correctly and how adding a small amount of sugared water to a tomato based dish will take away the sharpness of the tomato. Before serving my soup I got it really hot and then stirred in a beaten egg (the heat cooks it immediately) for that authentic Chinese look. We put out some hot bread and garnishes for the soups, which everyone had for lunch. Before we left we also offered a low sodium salt substitute, because we'd notice they'd used salt on their jacket potatoes the previous week.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Smoothies at Penparcau Family Centre

Last Wednesday Chloe and I had a smoothie making session at the Family Centre. Chloe showed a group of parents and children how to make some healthy smoothies - the parents helped with the peeling and chopping, while the children helped with putting fruit into the smoothie maker, pouring of juices or milk and ladling of yoghurt. While they were doing this, I was able to show another small group how to use a digital camera. I then told them to take loads of pictures of the session and that it didn't matter if they made a mistake while taking a picture. Everyone had a chance of taking pictures as the cameras were passed round the group as a whole. The smoothies were very popular - three were made, the last one being a mixture made up by the group and described as being "lush" - and it was! The children really enjoyed the smoothies and Chloe made the point that it was a great way of getting involved with cooking and also great for raising their fruit intake. While they were tidying up the kitchen, I was able to show my group how to view shots taken on the cameras and how to delete unwanted shots. Then we downloaded and viewed them on the computer. Everyone agreed that it was a fairly easy thing to do.

The session was a great start for the Family Centre and we're all looking forward to the next session when we'll be making easy soups.