Heartland Cuisine: Character Counts! Week

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Character Counts! Week was held Oct 15-21, and Iroquois Teens as Teachers: Kali Burma, Chenoa Harris, Emma Eckmann, and Madi Burma, helped plan activities for the Iroquois Elementary School with the help of the elementary student council. Middle and high school students even joined in some of the activities.

Each day all members of the school were asked to dress in different colors to represent the different pillars.

Teen Teachers and elementary student council members spoke during the announcements. A coloring contest was held in the elementary. Tuesday Teen Teachers taught a lesson on stones and each person being unique.

During the afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday, Teen Teachers went outside to do activities with the elementary school. 

The week concluded with each elementary students painting a kindness rock and making Fruity Pebble Rice Krispy treats as a thank you from the Teen Teachers.

Character Counts! is a program that focuses on building students’ character, social-emotional, and academic skills, while shaping a positive school culture.

The flexible PK-12 framework is based on  the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship.

Teens as Teachers Program
The South Dakota Youth Foundation is the sponser of  Teens As Teachers, a unique leadership and scholarship program. It provides a powerful service oriented, community-based learning experience for teenagers while benefitting those they teach.

The program provides opportunities for older youth to be teachers and mentors to younger students in classroom and after school settings while earning a scholarship for post-secondary education.

Harvest Hash
Submitted by Jessica Eckmann, second grade teacher.
    1 box of Crispix

    1 bag of Bugles

    1 bag of Reese’s Pieces (230g)

    1 cup roasted and salted peanuts

    1/2 cup salted butter

    2 cups brown sugar

    1 cup corn syrup

    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or get a large roasting pan out. In a large bowl or the roasting pan, combine the Crispix, Bugles and peanuts.

Mix together.

In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Boil until it reaches the soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract.

Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the Crispix mix and stir thoroughly. Once fully mixed, transfer to the two large sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven for 1 hour, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and let the mix cool. Give it a stir every 15 minutes or so, otherwise, it will all harden together as it cools!

Once the mix has cooled, sprinkle the Reese’s pieces in.

Butternut Squash Soup

Submitted By Sara Heffner, fourth grade teacher
    2 Tablespoons butter 

    1 small onion, chopped 

    2 stalks celery, chopped 

    2 medium carrots, chopped 

    2-3 medium potatoes, cubed 

    1 medium butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cubed 

    1 (32-ounce) container chicken stock 

    Salt and freshly ground black or white pepper to taste 

    Cayenne pepper for a spicy kick 


Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion and celery until lightly browned. Add remaining vegetables and seasonings. Chicken stock should cover vegetables. If not, add some water 


Boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer soup to a blender or use an immersion blender and process until smooth. Return to the pot and mix in any remaining stock to reach desired consistency.

Season with salt and pepper. 


Top with desired toppings which may include-sour cream, green onion, bacon crumbles, herbs, shredded cheese or croutons. Serve hot and enjoy!

Friendship Bites
Submitted by Iroquois Teens as Teachers
    2 ½ cups Kindness (quick oats)
    1 cup Honesty (peanut butter)
    1/2 cup Sharing (honey)
    1 teaspoon Trust (vanilla extract)
    1/2 cup Smiles (mini chocolate chips)
    1/2 cup Laughter (M&M’s)

Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix together. Shape into balls, about 1-inch in size, and place on a plate

Store energy balls in a covered container in the fridge or freezer.

Friendship Salad
Submitted by Elementary Student Council

    Several cans of fruit (a variety of fruits…no fruit salad!)
    Vanilla yogurt
    Mini marshmallows
    Rotten banana

Begin by discussing the type of classroom you want. Have students share their ideas. Guide the discussion to kindness, hard work, happiness. Show the students a large bowl and tell them that this is your classroom and we’re going to talk about the type of classroom we want.

Kind Kids
Open 1 can of fruit. Explain this represents the kind kids we want in our classroom. Have students discuss what kindness looks like in your classroom. Pour the fruit into the bowl.

Hard Workers
Add another can of fruit and discuss that there are the hard workers. Discuss what hard work means and looks like.

Sharing Kids
Add more fruit. Explain that these are kids who share. Talk about sharing and why we share.

Kind Words
Next, add marshmallows. Explain that these are the kind words we will use in our classroom. Discuss what kind words are and how many kinds words are in our classroom.

Happiness
Add the yogurt and explain that this the happiness in our classroom. Discuss what happiness feels like and what we can do to make our classroom happy. Discuss what our classroom looks like. Talk about whether this is a classroom you want to be in. Get kids excited about that classroom and being part of that room.

No Rotten Bananas!
Finally, tell your students you have one more thing to add to your classroom and pull out a rotten banana. Start to peel it. Hopefully, the kids are grossed out and they will be very expressive about that rotten banana. Discuss if they want that in their class and why or why not.

(TIP: Put a ripe banana in the freezer to make it “rot” faster!)

Fruity Pebbles Treats
Submitted by Vicki Dant, Teens as Teachers Adviser
    4 Tablespoons salted butter (1/2 stick)
    10 ounces mini marshmallows, plus 1/2 cup
    6 cups Fruity Pebbles cereal

Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
In large pan slowly melt the butter. Don’t let it bubble and burn.
Stir the marshmallows into the melted butter. Stir gently just until the marshmallows start to melt. Remove pot from heat before completely melted.
Stir in the Fruity Pebbles cereal and mix until combined.
Add additional 1/2 cup mini marshmallows and stir again until incorporated.



Press mixture into prepared baking dish and let set for about one hour.
Cut into squares and serve.