Hack a Cake Recipe? Make Cycle #4

Thank you to Margaret Simon for hosting DigiLit Sunday.  You can visit her blog to read the way other educators are using technology.
This week's #clmooc challenge was to hack a piece of writing.  It sounded intriguing to me from the get go and I looked forward to trying some new things and being more involved in the community.  Alas, life happened, and I found myself not having time until yesterday when my husband and I had a 3 hour drive to my in-laws'.  I used that time productively and had fun.

 This week, I thought about how many times I make a hack (is that the correct way to say that?)...my writing, my cooking, etc.  I'm constantly making changes.  I really got to thinking about hacking food when Annie's friend, Max, visited us this week.  Max is from Mexico and he and Annie met while they were in Turkey as exchange students.  We got to talking about tacos (don't get him started on Taco Bell) and how much the Americans have made changes to the way tacos are made in Mexico.  I guess we could say that Americans have hacked authentic tacos.

Max teaching Annie how to make authentic Mexican tacos

I digress.  I knew Max was a big fan of Oreos, so when I saw this recipe, I had to make it for him.   Since I'm a "from scratch" kind of girl, I modified the recipe a bit, which I guess means, I hacked it. Earlier this week, I read Kevin's post about remixing with X-Ray Goggles with interest.  I started to wonder how I could show my audience how I hacked the Our Best Bites recipe.  Since I knew my time was limited, I decided to play with Skitch (something I've been meaning to do for a long time).   I knew it would be relatively easy and I now had an authentic reason to use it.  (There seems to be a theme of authenticity going on here).

I took screen shots of different parts of the recipe, opened the photos in Skitch on my iPad, and added arrows and text to highlight my thinking.


After cropping and adding annotations

I found I had to be selective about what I wanted to share with the audience.  I didn't want this to be a remake of what they had already done:  create a photo essay of the recipe.  What were my main points?  I didn't want to lose my readers with too many details, yet I wanted them to know certain things:

  • If I can make something from scratch, I will forgo using a mix.
  • Anything with chocolate chips has to be a winning recipe.
  • Add Oreos to the mix and you've gone way over the top.
  • Cook's Illustrated is my go-to for most recipes.  
  • Quadrupling the recipe for the icing meant that I was going to be using a pound of butter.  That's a lot of butter!
  • Max loved the cake and was very appreciative that I made it for him.

With those thoughts in mind, I "Skitched" the screen shots that would help me get my message across, including Max's Facebook post showing the cake after we cut it.  Now, how to put it all together?  I used a new slideshow app (Perfect Video) to create a slideshow and added "If I Knew You Were Coming, I'd Have Baked a Cake."  I spent over an hour trying to find the perfect song to go with my slideshow.  There are a lot of songs about cake (many of them hip hop) and there's even a group called Cake. Who knew?  I didn't really find what I was looking for, and decided to stick with "If I Knew You Were Coming..."

My takeaways...

  • Time to go through the process is imperative.  I consider myself a half-way decent writer when it comes to writing about my classroom.  Generally, the ideas flow pretty easily.  The kind of thinking and writing required for #clmooc is different for me.  I need time to consider the possibilities and to draft in my head over and over again.  It's made me ask myself if I allow that kind of time for my students, especially those who struggle with getting ideas down on paper.
  • Mentors are necessary.  I find that I have a pattern while participating in these Make Cycles.  I spend time reading different blogs and posts within the community.  I think about how I might use what I've learned from others in my own work before I begin.
  • There are many digital moves being made that might not be apparent to the audience.  It's important that we give our students time to reflect and we take time to talk to them about their thinking as they create.
This is where Skitch can come in.  It can be used so many ways, but here are a few that I thought of for students:
  • Self reflection tool with students as they take screen shots of different aspects of their digital writing and use Skitch to explain their thinking
  • Annotate thinking while reading online articles which can then be shared
  • Provide feedback either teacher to student or peer to peer
The possibilities are endless.

Below, you will find my slideshow.  And if you want to make a really good cake, use this recipe.  It was very yummy!


  1. Lovely post! What a delicious food hack. And lots of implications for cross-disciplinary hacking.

  2. This is a new and creative idea. The best part was the implications for your students. These are important points if we decide to create a make environment in our classrooms. Thanks for linking up and being so willing to try new stuff. Wish we could all have a taste of that cake!

  3. Because I blog and create online, I understand what those who don't create online don't understand -- what you said: "There are many digital moves being made that might not be apparent to the audience." We must provide the time to play and the time to reflect so students develop the deeper thinking involved in creating with media -- so that they understand the media fed to them. I like your reflection idea with Skitch. I'm also thinking Thinglink would be good for students to reflect on their process and choices. Thanks for sharing!


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