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Riley 5th Graders Rise To The Tasting Challenge

Fifth grader Skye Thompson flashes a smile before she tries food samples during a recent ELA activity upon reading the book, “Esperanza Rising.”
Fifth grader Skye Thompson flashes a smile before she tries food samples during a recent ELA activity upon reading the book, “Esperanza Rising.”

OSWEGO – Charles E. Riley Elementary School fifth graders put rising above difficult situations into practice after reading the book, “Esperanza Rising.”

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Fifth grader Skye Thompson flashes a smile before she tries food samples during a recent ELA activity upon reading the book, “Esperanza Rising.”

Much like the main character, Esperanza, who faced struggles with new circumstances, the fifth graders had to persevere through a recent food challenge.

Because each chapter was titled with a type of produce harvested by migrant workers in the story, the fifth grade teaching team had students taste the following fruits and vegetables: raw potato, avocado, grapes, cantaloupe, raw onion, fig, mango and asparagus.

Under the guidance of teachers Pamela Hall, Mary Wilson and Nestor Aviles, students completed a graphic organizer where they utilized figurative language to explain what each option tasted and smelled like.

As part of their previous English language arts lessons, students were able to use similes and metaphors to describe the delicious – or gross – foods.

“We want them to have fun with it,” Aviles said.

Fifth grader Ella Warner wrote that raw onion tasted like something exploded in her mouth, while classmate Allanie White wrote that mango looked slimy like a frog.

Popular food samples, such as grapes and cantaloupe, were gobbled up and giggles followed some students’ reaction to their peers not liking the taste of several options.

The event served as a culmination activity to the daily reading of the book in class.

Students were also tasked with taking their graphic organizer to compare foods and write a descriptive paragraph about their favorite selection.

Aviles said the lesson also spilled into math, where students reviewed how much money was spent on food.

They also practiced recent multiplication with decimal lessons to calculate various individual food costs and weights.