Director’s Lunch

The final exam for my middle school class was to prepare and serve lunch for all of the middle school teachers.


The kids did a great job making opening day soup, pizza, fruit salad, and a luscious lemon cake.  They all earned an A for the final.



AST Open House

Too exciting…AST held an open house for the first time in ten years and opened its doors to the public.  It was held in conjunction with the school carnival – food booths from different countries and games run by the middle and high school students.



As you can imagine, the kitchen was busy. But the students cleaned up after themselves and I was left with nothing to do.




The carnival and open house was a huge success.  Tons of visitors and lots of interest in the school.  Some of the students put together a video to introduce the school.  It’s worth a look. AST Video


Halloween at School

Halloween is not celebrated much in Taiwan, despite the best efforts of the local chain stores.  but Halloween is a big deal at our American school.

The students had some great costumes but I liked the teacher costumes the best.  I kept it simple myself.


My two favorite costumes were Abi’s Grim Grader… (a last minute improvisation)


And Tim’s long lost twin brother.  He set this up three weeks ago with a series of Facebook posts and then didn’t break character all day on Halloween.  It was remarkably uncomfortable chatting with Tim’s stuffy brother.  We were relieved to get Tim back.


In honor of the occasion 5th graders made dirt cups and the high school students made severed finger cookies.


Hope your Halloween went well!

Art and Cookies

Today was a big day.  Art, writing, and cooking converged to honor 5th grade achievements.  Rod had the kids creating portraits in art class. He thought they turned out so well that (inspired by his own life as a working artist) he wanted an art show of their work.  Of course the art show needed an opening party.  And of course the opening party needed refreshments.  And of course (my favorite part) we needed artists’ statements about their work.


Here are the artists attempting to avoid being photographed with their own work.


And here are the goodies that 5th grade cooking has been working on over the past two weeks.


Excellent work, 5th graders!

Using the Kitchen

The recent barbecue is not the only extra-curricular activity the school kitchen has seen.   Earth science has found a real affinity for the kitchen.  The sedimentary cookies (with oatmeal, raisins, and chocolate chunks) worked well but the igneous fudge was only a success from a science lesson standpoint. The fudge never did solidify.  That lava is still flowing. 

The junior girls figured out early that homemade brownies and lemon blueberry muffins could earn some tidy cash at bake sales.  They’ve had two baking sessions already.  The middle school reduced their manufacturing costs and maximized profits with their pancake sale.  The seniors better get moving soon to capture a food sales niche. 

Earlier this week the Spanish class had a quesadilla and homemade salsa lesson. 

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Some of the leftovers found their way to the rest of the school.  There may be an after school quesadilla sale soon.

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Excited about eating, and happy to BBQ*

It’s mid-autumn festival and time to barbeque with family and friends.

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The students put on their annual school barbeque last night.  At AST we have students who are used to running the show.  They start in middle school with running meetings and making all announcements at weekly assemblies.  By the time they get to high school they organize complicated events with ease.

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I was chaperoning the kitchen activity for the barbeque. All I really needed to do was answer questions about where to find the pots and pans. The students prepped mountains of vegetables, cooked a Taiwanese barbeque, and cleaned up beautifully.  (except for some spills in the new oven which I want to take care of – anyone have good oven cleaning suggestions?)

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Some of the food was unfamiliar to me like these mushrooms and a cross between a gourd, melon, and cucumber.

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Baby corn is almost all husks and corn silk, doesn’t really seem worth the effort.

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The outer layer of the bamboo (?) is peeled and you eat the tender inner bit.

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No one could quite agree on what these cakes were made of….maybe very mild fish?  But everyone agreed they were tasty and well worth eating.

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Lots and lots of volunteers in the kitchen. For some reason the tiny bright pink bunny apron is most popular with the biggest guys.  They run to be the first to get to it.  Seriously.  Every class.

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The barbecue also included a volleyball tournament in the (air conditioned!) gym and a movie for those who were feeling less energetic.  By the time the late bus left at 7:30 that night the high school students were playing very informal volleyball (some of the players switched sides as needed and there was always a helping hand for a serve that wasn’t going to make it over the net), others were playing basketball, and the sixth graders were taking notes on how they were going to be the big kids one day.


*the school slogan is “Excited about learning, and happy to be here”  but one of the posters for the barbeque had this version

Upping Our Game

There’s always an adjustment at the beginning of a school year. We have a new crop of teachers and a new crop of students.  Some things stay the same while other things inevitably change.

Maybe this is just a function of us starting our second year, but there seems to be a new level of energy at school this year.  Somehow the new building (gym/cafeteria/kitchen classroom) and the programs established by our new set of very experienced ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teachers, and the after school programs for the elementary school, and a whole host of other things settling in place has led to a real excitement at the school.  The level of collaboration is amazing.  Just in the kitchen we’ve had science classes and ESOL classes and Spanish classes in addition to the regular cooking and nutrition classes and after school clubs for both high school and elementary school.  But it’s not just collaboration in the kitchen.  Everywhere I turn there are conversations about new things we could do at school – and then they happen!

This is very exciting.  I really feel I have to be doing my best to keep in the game with these colleagues.

faculty and staff Aug 2013