Life Lessons

For two years, I served my country as a member of AmeriCorps (the domestic Peace Corps). I worked for the Comprehensive School Health Initiative (CSHI) & Nebraska Reads mentoring and tutoring children in Lincoln Public Schools. Primarily, I worked with Kindergartens through 3rd graders. Most of the children I started working with as 1st graders didn’t even know the sounds letters made. I spent 30 minutes a day working with them one-on-one to help them learn sounds and sight words. Once they learned their sounds, they would be accepted into Reading Recovery. This program gave children one-on-one time with a certified teacher to get them reading at grade level.  This program is so important because if a child gets behind in first grade reading, it’s even harder as the years go by to catch up.

Another part of our AmeriCorps program was to operate an after-school and summer program for at-risk kids. Our after-school wasn’t too hard but summer was one of the greatest challenges of my life. Imagine about 25 college aged adults (most with no teaching or childbearing experience) operating a summer camp. It was chaos! I came home the first week wondering how I was going to make it through the summer. I told myself, I needed to change my attitude and figure out a way to make it work. And sure enough, we did. I signed up for another year and it went 10 times more smoothly.

During our summer program, we pretended we were taking a world trip with our kids. Each week was a different continent. Since many of our kids really hadn’t even explored the city of Lincoln outside where they could walk or take a quick bus ride to, we worked hard to educate them about the world. One way we figured out how to do this was to host a party related to the continent we had studied every Friday. Most parties consisted of art projects, games, and foods of the region. It was a great way to open up the children’s worlds…but it also opened my world. I learned so much preparing lesson plans but also interacting with the children. It also opened my eyes to how difficult it is to be a teacher.

I don’t remember exactly when we made this recipe but I think it was the week we did Europe. I am pretty sure Laura Lee was the one who came up with the recipe. It’s super easy, so ask your kids to help.

Chocolate Croissants by Laura Lee Cornelison

1 package of refrigerator crescent rolls
16 Hershey’s Kisses (I like Milk Chocolate the best.)

Unwrap the Kisses. Unroll crescent roll into eight triangles. Put two Kisses back-to-back at the top of a triangle. Roll up like you would a normal crescent roll. Place on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for 11 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving so you don’t burn your tongue.

Note: If you don’t eat them all in the same sitting, just reheat in the microwave for a few seconds to warm the chocolate.   

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