Let’s Get This Bread!

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Sydney Eisenstein ’22

Many students have found that their math skills have been helpful outside the classroom, and in the kitchen. Mr. Letourneau has initiated a homemade challah baking competition for his students. Three of his classes are competing against each other for a grand prize of three extra points on their last test. The classes include Mr. Letourneau’s honors algebra II sophomores, accelerated algebra II sophomores, and regular precalculus juniors. 

Each class is making three challahs – one plain and two specialties of their choice. Each challah will be ranked on a scale from 1-10. Mr. Letourneau is administering the challah reviews in the style of Barstool Sports Pizza Reviews (a popular Instagram account with pizza reviews from all over the country). Mr. Letourneau will average the three scores from each class, and the class with the highest average will take the title (and the three points)!

The competition was inspired by a game of Kahoot. Mr. Letourneau allowed his classes to relax on the day before Thanksgiving, as they had just taken their second test. He challenged his students to a Kahoot competition – the entire class vs Mr. Letourneau. He told his classes, “If any of you beat me, then the whole class wins and will earn three points on their test.  If I win, then you will have to make me three loaves of challah bread.” Mr. Letourneau and his students agreed on the categories of the Kahoot. The categories consisted of logos, movies, general trivia, and Disney. He beat three classes but lost to two because of his weakness in the logos category. Over the course of his teaching career, Mr. Letourneau remains undefeated against his students in the categories of Disney and movies. To give his losing classes incentive to make delicious challahs, Mr. Letourneau decided to give them a chance to win the three extra points. Mr. Letourneau explains, “Hence, the first official challah competition was born!” 

Many students have been appreciating Mr. Letourneau’s efforts of creating a fun way for them to earn extra points. Sophie Schwartz ’23, a student in Mr. Letourneau’s algebra II class, said, “I was disappointed when Mr. Letourneau beat my class in the Kahoot game, but I am really excited about the challah baking competition.” Another student in the precalculus class, David Gitelman ’22, commented, “I have been really enjoying this system and the opportunity to get points back on our tests.” 

Students feel that the challah baking competition has only enhanced the class. The competition was a fun break from the normal class routine. Many students also have said that they were excited to take a break after their test and play a game of Kahoot. One student stated that students generally take Mr. Letourneau’s class seriously, and the fact that he tries to do fun things with them makes him approachable as a teacher.  All of the classes have been working hard in the kitchen, in hopes of impressing Mr. Letourneau with their challah baking skills. Norma Mattout ’22  said she “made a chocolate challah and a sesame challah.” This competition, she added, “is a fun yet competitive way to engage us in the class.” The specialty one (chocolate) received a 9.2 and the plain one (sesame) received an 8.3. The honors algebra class, one of the precalculus class’ competitors, made a brownie and peanut butter challah as their specialty; which received a 9.2. Another highlight of the competition was Accelerated Algebra 2’s “do it yourself activity” – giving Mr. Letourneau raw pizza dough instead of a baked challah. He posted on Schoology on Friday, January 8, “Accelerated alg 2 has fallen waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy…. not sure of their strategy but it most likely will not work out well for them.” Based on what he has received so far, Mr. Letourneau thinks, “my precalc is going to win because their plain score is very strong and will stand up to the others.”