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Breaking Bread

Who knew baking could be a form of literary analysis? 
 
Gann English Faculty Brenden O'Donnell’s Grade 12 “James Baldwin” class took a visit to the Gann Farm on Monday to make bread from scratch!
Who knew baking could be a form of literary analysis? 
 
Gann English Faculty Brenden O'Donnell’s Grade 12 “James Baldwin” class took a visit to the Gann Farm on Monday to make bread from scratch!  
 
“I wanted to bridge the abstract and the concrete,” said Brenden about this lesson. His class is reading “Go Tell It on the Mountain” by James Baldwin, which features the motif of threshing, or separation. Baldwin wrote about the “threshing” of a church, removing the saints from the sinners and making sure they do not interact. 
 
This same idea is a pivotal part of the bread baking process. Led by Farmer Noah Weinberg, students first threshed the wheat, meaning they removed the seed heads from the stem. After collecting the seeds, the students winnowed the grain by sifting it between two bowls to let the wind blow away any remaining chaff. From there, students ground the seeds using mortars and pestles to create flour. Farmer Noah took over, adding water and salt to the flour to create dough, and then frying it using his portable grill. The bread was delicious! 
 
Throughout the baking lesson on the farm, Brenden encouraged his students to think about how the wheat related to the characters and themes in the novel. “They’re gaining associations with the concrete act of threshing, by doing the separating themselves, in order to make connections with the abstract concept of threshing.” Monday’s experience definitely proved how even a small act of separation can lead to large changes. This is sure to be a project the class will forever remember! 
 

 



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