Sunday, June 28, 2015

Slow Cooker Teacher Savior: Applesauce

I have a child that loves applesauce, I usually have several apples lying around that need to be used ASAP, and I am a busy teacher that has very little time to make meals from scratch.  So, when I saw this post from Mrs. D at The Third Wheel blog, it reminded me again of why I love my slow cooker so much.  It reminded me that I need to share some of my life-saver slow cooker recipes.

First up: Applesauce!

*8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (1 average apple is about a cup)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup water

*Alternatively, I have also used 4 apples and 3-4 pealed and sliced pears


First, peel, core, and slice the apples and add them to a slow cooker greased with PAM spray. I use gadget similar to this one to core and peel the apples. It saves me a TON of time.  Bonus:  It will also peel and core pears (although they need to be firm, not ripe) and potatoes! 

Next, you add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup water and mix up it.  Yum!

Set the slow cooker for 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.  I have 2 slow cookers, and they both cook foods at different temperatures and rates.  Thus, the ranges of time and temp :)

Now, I KNOW there's no way a busy parent or teacher is going to have time to turn the slow cooker off or down at EXACTLY the end of its cook time.  So.....

I recommend this slow cooker.  I have had this for over two years now and it is AWESOME!  You set it for the cook time and it automatically goes into "warm" mode when the cook time is up.  So handy when you will be out of the house for longer than the recipe calls for!

When the apples have cooked and are mushy, you just mash them right in the slow cooker with a potato masher.  You can wait for it to cool before you mash it, but I don't.

That's it!  Now you can enjoy fresh applesauce by itself or mix it into things like smoothies or baked goods.  Enjoy!

Do you have any slow cooker meals that save the day when you are too busy or tired to cook?  I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Figurative Language with Song Lyrics

Even though I am a 7th Grade Science teacher, I occasionally get to help out in other classrooms and subjects. The other day, I got to plan for one of my favorites: Language Arts. They were working on figurative language, also one of my favorites.  One of my best-loved activities for this uses song lyrics.

And did I mention that music is STILL used in my 7th grade science classroom?  That's because it's so important to me.  It can change the mood of the room in an instant and the students relate to the lyrics.

So, The Beatles, Beyonce, and Blake Shelton in the classroom?  Yes, please!

I created an activity in which students are looking for similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and personification in various song lyrics.  They sort the lyrics according to what type of figurative language they represent and then draw a representation of their favorite lyric.

This packet includes:
~A teacher direction page
~A student direction page
~A lyric sorting page
~5 pages of lyrics
~A color-coded answer key

If you'd like to pick up a copy, click here.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Great Book to Teach Point of View

I just finished reading The Twyning by Terence Blacker.  I had a hard time putting it down from start to finish!  It's a book written for middle or high school students, but I really enjoyed reading it.

As I was reading, I realized that this would be a great book to discuss character point of view because it switches between the main characters: Dogboy and Efren.

Here is my official review for

What could further apart than humans and rats? In truth, nothing could be more similar.  The young ratling, Efren, is a loyal subject of his kingdom. He knows he must obey his leaders and above all else, he knows humans are the enemy. The adolescent, Dogboy, assists Dr. Ross-Gibbons as he attempts to annihilate the entire rat race. Dobboy knows he must obey his leaders if he wants food and shelter, even if that means animals will be killed. Efren and Dogboy are kindred spirits, despite the fact that they have been raised to believe they are enemies. They each possess a dogged determination to press on, despite setbacks. They each possess the power to save the other, but they carry on a tradition motivated by ignorance and fear. Both species need to beware savagery, selfishness, and greed. If each can see that the threat of extinction comes more likely from within their own race than from without, they stand a chance of survival. 

Warning: The plot line of this book can sometimes be confusing due to the fact that it quickly and often switches between characters’ points of view. Serious and mature content is woven throughout the story, such as language, vague references of sex and drugs, and animal cruelty. 

Have you read any good books that can also be used for teaching literature concepts lately?  I'd love to hear about them!

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!