Sunday, May 10, 2015

Parent and Student Communication

I just have to share one of the best things since the invention of sliced bread:!  It is a text reminder system for things like upcoming events, projects, and everyday homework. Since I have 4 main classes, I set one up for each class.

Super fast and easy to set up if you start nagging reminding students to sign up at the beginning of the year.  They even give you a downloadable letter to print and give to your students.  I have most of mine sign up right then, as they have their phones on them most of the time.

 It also has the ability to have two-way communication with students and parents, although I have always chosen not to use that option.

I'm definitely using this again next year!

Have you used this?  Any tips?  I'd love to hear them!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Math is Real Life: Party Planning

It's time for the March post of Math is Real Life, hosted by Jaime from Miss Math Dork.

This time, I'm sharing my math experiences regarding planning a First Birthday party for my son.  Specifically, I want to talk about the process I went through in order to make sure I had enough punch and water for everyone (capacity).

First, I had to think about how many people would be there.  There were 9 adults and 1 baby.

Then, I had to estimate about how much each person would drink.  I wanted to have MORE than enough, so I I purposefully estimated a little more than I really thought each person would drink.  I guessed that 4 cups would be enough for everyone.

Then, I had to multiply the number of cups by the number of adults (4 x 9 = 36).  So I needed at least 36 cups.

Next, I had to figure out how many cups are in a gallon. This is where I had to visualize my "King Gallon".

It helped me remember that there are 16 cups in a gallon.  If I need to provide 36 cups total, I would need 3 gallons of punch or water because 16 cups x 3 gallons would give me 48 cups, with 12 extra cups in case someone was extra thirsty. 

Finally, I was ready to make the punch and buy the gallons of water!

Do you have a saying or graphic that helps you remember the standard units of capacity?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's Time for a Sale!

It's those dark, cold days of winter and I sure could use some retail therapy to perk me up!  So I was excited when TpT shared that there would be having their Teachers are Heroes! sale on February 25th (this Wednesday)!

Everything in my TpT store will be 20% off, with an extra 8% off when you use the code HEROES.

So, stop by my store to get 28% off on February 25th!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Content Review and Test Prep Games

Whether you are wanting to review previously-taught content or you need to prepare for state testing, you most likely need some novelty and fun to go with it.  There's just something about making it into more of a game that takes the sting out of it.

I wanted to make games that could be used with any task cards, test questions, or core subject.  So, the result was 4 games that require very few materials and almost ZERO teacher preparation.

       Helps make test review and preparation less painful and more fun
       Has students thinking critically about both the questions and the answers
       Uses collaborative and cooperative learning techniques
       Incorporates Language Arts

This packet includes the following games:
       Beat the Bubbles (Test Review and Vocabulary Review)
       The Answer is ______.  What is the Question?
       Ball and Cup

       Show What You Know Board Game

Pick up a copy by clicking here.

How about you?  What kinds of review games do you use?  How do you make test prep more fun and less tedious?  I'd love to hear what you do!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

February Recipe Round-Up: Valentine's Day!

One of my favorite perks of being a teacher is the ability to try out new recipes on weekends and holiday breaks.  I'd be lying if I said that food isn't important to me.  It gives me comfort and a sense of satisfaction when I make a dish that nourishes my family.  It brings us together and gives us memories to share.  What better time is there to make culinary memories than Valentine's Day?

In that spirit, I am joining Laurah at The ESOL Odyssey for her monthly Recipe Round-Up.

In the past, I would try to plan a baked surprise for my husband.  BUT... I have a one-year-old now.  That means that it has to be something quick, healthy, and still tasty.  The first thing that came to mind was fruit and chocolate dip.  How about some yummy chocolate pudding that can also be used as a fruit dip?

These directions will make 2 servings:
--12 ounces plain Greek Yogurt.  I buy 4% FULL FAT Greek yogurt because that is the recommended yogurt for our Little Man, but I have used low fat and it still tastes great. 
-- 4 TB unsweetened baking cocoa 
--Sweetener to taste.  I use Stevia crystals because at this point, science claims it's healthy for babies. 
Stir all ingredients until smooth. 
Slice some fruit and add nuts (only for mommy and daddy) to complete the yumminess.  I like to use a banana, strawberries and  almonds.

This dip is so rich and creamy.  I know the whole family will love this!

Do you have a family-friendly Valentine's recipe?  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January Recipe Round-Up: Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes!

Sometimes I get so caught up in the curriculum part of being a teacher that I don't stop to think about how equally important food is to the equation.  Yes, food.  So when Laurah at the ESOL Odyssey hosted a Recipe Roundup Linky that involved slow cookers, I was inspired to share how this wonderful piece of equipment saves me as a teacher!

Slow cooker, how I love thee.  Let me count the ways:
1. With a little prep work in the morning or previous evening, a full dinner is waiting for me on those long, dark days when I have zero energy to plan and create a meal.
2.  It allows me to buy healthier/unprocessed foods that take a long time to cook usually.
3. If I use both of my slow cookers (yes, I have TWO), I can make dinner and a side or dessert.  For example, I might have meatloaf in one and mashed potatoes in another.

And speaking of mashed potatoes, I'd like to share the slow cooker recipe that changed my life:

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Wash the potatoes.  My slow cooker is about 5 quarts, so I used most of a 5 pound bag of Russets.

If you want "lumpy" and "authentic", peel them and leave the potatoes whole and/or halve them and leave the skins on.  If you want them creamier, peel them and halve them.

Sprinkle generously with salt. 

Fill crockpot to within 1/2” of the top of the potatoes.  I've read that the water needs to be hot before putting it in the slow cooker, but I have always just used cold tap water.

Cover it with the lid.

Use the high setting for 4-6 hours OR low for 8-10 hours.  Since slow cooker temps vary, check the potatoes at the lower end of the time frame and adjust cooking times according to your cooker's temps.

Drain the potatoes.

Add butter, salt, and milk or cream to taste. I also like some pepper, but I've started adding that to my own serving instead of the entire slow cooker because my Little Man isn't quite ready for pepper yet.

Use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes right in the slow cooker.

Cover with lid and set to “warm”.  Don’t keep them on this setting for too long or the potatoes will become pasty.

Voila!  The perfect compliment to just about any meal.

If you want to join the linky, click here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Math is Real Life: Preparing a House for a Toddler

Jamie at Miss Math Dork  hosts a monthly "Math is Real Life" linky in which teachers share their real life experiences with math.  I am proud to be participating in the January link up.

The biggest news around our house lately is that our little man (Noah), who turns 11 months old on January 12th, is speed crawling and acting like he could learn to walk at any time.  What an exciting and crazy time!  What that means for us is that we need to baby proof our house ASAP because you can't have a toddler running around with free access to the stairs.

Here comes the math!  The first thing we had to do was use a measuring tape to measure the entryways that needed to be blocked off.  That part wasn't too hard.  We just made sure to measure EXACTLY from one side of the stairway to the other (no rounding to the nearest inch or 1/2 inch).

My hubby measuring the entryway.  It was 35 1/2 inches wide.

Next, we had to find a baby gate that fit the entryway without being to large or small.  Believe it or not, it's not that easy to find a baby gate that is exactly 35 1/2 inches wide.  So, we decided that we wanted to buy a gate that would expand to fit the entryway, called pressure mounted.

Target, here we come!  We shopped around a bit online and found that the one below.

We made sure to look at the details mentioned in the description just to make sure the width/length was wide enough.

The gate will extend to 38 inches, but we only need 35 1/2 inches, so we are good to go!

I have to admit, it took me awhile to fully understand how to properly use a ruler growing up once I was required to measure things to the 1/4 inch.  So, I came up with a visual to help my students understand how to measure to the nearest 1/2 or 1/4 inch.

It takes students step-by-step through the process of measuring an item by instructing them to:
~Find the nearest whole unit (inch)
~Find the nearest 1/2 inch
~Find the nearest 1/4 inch
~Determine if the object is closest to the nearest 1/4 or 1/2 inch
~There is a blank ruler and paperclip on the last slide so students can practice on their own

I still use this process in my head when I'm measuring!

You can pick up a copy of this visual by clicking here.