#gifted lesson reflection – our tea blending lesson in our Lewis Carroll and Tea unit

Join us for a cuppa?

Well… I felt like I went into this lesson very well-organized after thinking things through.

My favourite school teapot.."for use at home or on Safari"..PERFECT!

Best laid plans.  

It was actually not bad.  The cups were set out…the students created their first recipe – adding a spoon of this herb and a spoon of that.  We had honey and raspberries to mix in with Chocolate tea, spice tea, green tea, hibiscus tea, lavender, rosemary, spearmint, peppermint, cinnamon…and more!  All ingredients the students choose to bring in based on their tea tasting with Mrs. Mango’s.

Students brought in all sorts of lovely herbs and teas to blend!

So… two cups and a tea strainer… mixing in one cup…add the hot water…wait…and strain into the other cup…

EXCEPT… the herbs/tea clogged each strainer so it was more like waiting for coffee to brew




For 1st and 2nd graders that is JUST TOO SLOW!  So I had to change the plan from having a taste test for everyone…to just each person tasting their own tea…for now.

Next week I am going to have individual tea strainers rather than the pour kind.  We will use tea ‘balls’.   Students will fill up their strainer and place it in the cup…add the amount of honey…and brew!  Then, once the tea has cooled, the 2nd cup will be used to taste the various teas.  We won’t have to strain the tea through a funnel strainer.  It should go much faster!

Then students can gain feedback into how others would rate their tea.  We will talk about how to give good ‘learning feedback’… how to feedback on the tea within different categories and not rate the ‘tea blender’.

This week, after tasting their tea blend…they had to go back and add to their recipes any changes they would like to make for next time.  I didn’t get to taste any tea but I heard some great self assessments…I think many added too much honey (but I held my tongue) and they decided to add less.  Some are changing the ratios of herbs and teas because one taste was too weak or too strong.  Most enjoyed the smells, noted the different colours and even appreciated the taste of their tea.  One said his was ‘perfect’ and he won’t change a thing (that was a green tea with 2 spoons of honey).

When it was all over…. well… it was the clean up that also didn’t go as well as planned!

My lesson did not give enough time for a proper clean up...but there was lots of time for fun!

My timing was off… I left 45 minutes for tea blending and tasting.  I need a good hour if I expect them to clean up as well.  I also think the tea strainers/balls will help immensely.

Students reflected on their tea recipes and made some changes to improve it next time.  

Assessment for Learning and NASA’s engineering process at work.

The goal is for students to measure and create a tea blend, then reflect and improve upon their recipes.

Next week will be our 2nd trial.  We are also creating invitations and have moved back the date for our tea party.  As part of this unit, students are learning how to set realistic goals and how to plan and monitor their progress towards goals that they set.  So we have a timeline/calendar in each notebook.  The first thing we do each class is sit down and discuss where are we now, what have we accomplished, where do we have to go…how is our timing?

Today they decided that since they want to write a Wonderland Story of their own like Lewis Carroll to present to their families at the tea party, they will need one more week.  I’m impressed!  They also organized how they would write their book.  One student will start the book at one location of their choice…our first location is the Fitness Plains…(watch out for the fitness troll).  They will have 2 days to write their part and then we will hand it off.  At chapter 8…the book will split…sort of like Harry Potter!  We will have Chapter 8 and Chapter 8 1/2!  Chapter 8 will lead to Chapter 9 and 10… and chapter 8 1/2 will flow into 9 1/2 and 10 1/2.  So the book will have two endings.

It sounds interesting to say the least.

Some of the places I look forward to reading about are

Hero HQ, Fear Forest, the Tree of Inspiration, Mrs. Apel Tree and more!

—- Why change? —–

I’ve been reading about how to give children more power over their learning…more voice.  How to encourage them to work out the difficulties they encounter.  I also sat in on a webinar the other day on Social Learning…but the speaker had some great ideas linked to giving students more voice and how to teach them time management.  (More about that next blog).

I need to get a notebook and send a letter home to see if parents could have their child bring in a tea ball…


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