Thursday, July 26, 2018

summer bucket list cookies

This is so not school related, which really has been the focus of the blog lately.  But this is yummy, and that generally takes precedent.  A friend of mine said finding the best chocolate chip cookie recipe was on their family's summer bucket list.  They'd tried 7 different recipes but still felt like there was something else out there.

Then I stumbled on a recipe that might just be it.  I was really trying to eat healthy this week.  Instead, I've consumed a lot of cookies. 

Get your butter (so much butter) and your chocolate chips- we're making summer bucket chocolate chip cookies!  This is adapted from a recipe in a new book called So Much to Celebrate by Katie Jacobs.

Summer Bucket Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 1/4 C (2 1/2 sticks) butter- softened (Unsalted? Salted? Whatever... I always err towards salted!)
1 c white sugar
1 1/4 C brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla (Mexican if you can)
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/4 t baking soda
1 1/2 baking powder
3 1/2 C flour
3/4 bag or about 8 oz chocolate chips- semi-sweet, please

Get out that electric mixer and using the paddle, cream butter and both sugars.  Mix on a middle setting for about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix them up too.  In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients.  Add those to the wet mix all at once.  Mix up until it's looking like cookie dough.  Add the chips and mix just until they're incorporated.  Cover up the bowl (after you have a good taste- let's assume we all used quality eggs) and stick it in the fridge until the next day.  Then scoop out round balls of dough and bake @12-14 minutes at 350.  I am a baking stone girl, but you do as you please.  Don't over bake.  They will still look soft.  Let them cool a bit, like 10 minutes still on the tray and then move to a wire cooling rack or right to your plate. Whatever floats your boat.  It's nice having the dough in the fridge because you can make up a few at a time (like when the kids go to bed and you need to sit in quiet and eat fresh cookies without sharing- I mean for portion control). This makes up about 4 dozen cookies (but really, it's hard to keep track since they don't still on the cooling rack for long at my house).

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Assembly Line Project -ready to share

I've written about this favorite hands-on social studies project before, but I've finally sat down and put something together so others can easily put this project together too.  It's on my TPT store From The Hive.  I did this project with my second and third graders my first year teaching in 2002 and have done it most years since.   

After reading about production, Henry Ford, and assembly lines, students will participate in their own hands-on assembly line, and- get to enjoy a yummy treat! Then, they will reflect on the project with a differentiated written reflection.

*Prior to your assembly line, send home a note to parents (a sample letter is included). You don’t need everything I've listed, but several ingredients are best.

*In the days before the assembly line, read the informational text about production, assembly lines, and Henry Ford.  Use your social studies curriculum and/or the included informational text as needed.

*The day of:   line up several desks of same height or tables of the same height.  Make a bulletin board paper belt around the desks. Then, set up the fruit and supplies needed. I typically do this prep work while the kids are out of the room for a special.  I promise the prep work is going to be worth it!

When the students come back, I welcomed them to their first day on the job at the fruit salad factory.  I explain how the assembly line works and what the jobs are. I make sure each person gets a job. There is detailed information about the job types and roles included.

The following day students work through a written reflection activity.  There are two differentiated reflection sheets to choose from for your learners.

You can certainly put this activity together on your own.  But, if you're interested in my ready to go product, you can find it here.  It's engaging and memorable and your students are going to love it!  

Friday, June 15, 2018

Another novel study- The Hundred Dresses

I didn't know this until I started selling on TPT, but when you put a product out there that you've been working on... like really working on, it's a little like putting your kid on the school bus for the first time.  

I was that mom that followed the bus the first day- just in case there was an accident.  Just saying.   Bee went to the zoo, accident-free. 

I've got my next Novel Study ready to go!  It's another unit that I've used parts of in class with my third graders for a few years, but all cleaned up in a tidy package ready to go- and ready to share with others.  Putting my kid on the bus here.

The Hundred Dresses is a classic story- it's sweet and fun with a strong message about bullying and teasing.  Despite the title and the fact that the three leads are girls, it's not a girly story.  I've always found that boys really hang on the bullying and teasing theme in the story and are happy to read past the reason that the girls tease poor Wanda.  

So, this novel study, like my Charlotte's Web Novel Study, guides you and your students through the reading of the story.  It has lesson plans for two weeks, and guided pages to work through the story elements. 

  • Characters: Listing Character Traits, Mind Map, Prompted Journal Entries, Guided Reading Response
  • Plot: Storyboard Illustrations, Note Taking Sheets, Chapter Questions (2-3 questions per chapter), 
  • Condensed Chapter Questions (2-3 questions per 2 chapters)
  • Word Choice: Vocabulary, Word Maps
  • Setting: Setting Sketch, Setting Map 
  • Mentor Sentences: One per week
  • Weekly Assessments and Cumulative Activities: Weekly Vocabulary Assessments, Weekly Written Response Assessment, Differentiated Choice Project

                                           Find it here in my TPT store, From The Hive

I like to compile the pages I want to use (there's more in my units than I can use in the allotted time- but more is better right!) number them and assemble them in pronged folders.  That way nothing falls out and the kids can find the right page when needed.  I love working through a novel with my kiddos!

I also have a freebie sample piece, a Differentiated Cumulative Project.  There are six choices for the final project sure to engage even the most reluctant learner. 

Also exciting for my shop, it's on Instagram now! 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Charlotte's Web Novel Study

I say it like a dozen times during the year, but this is my favorite thing we do all year.  I love reading Charlotte's Web with my third graders.  I love it because even though they've seen the movie, most haven't read the book.  Even those that have still enjoy another read. There are some sweet and funny parts and I love Templeton's lines- he's the best.  For the past several years we've been using random pieces from various sources and piecemealed our study together.  I decided to create my own resource that contains everything I wanted to use for our novel study.  It's ready and I've been using it and I'm ready to share it in my shop. 

I sorted the items into Plot:



Word Choice:

Mentor Text:

 Assessment pieces:

and Cumulative Activites:

 I'm super excited that it's done, happy to have a complete (and tidy and rigorous) resource for my kiddos and for my team.  I'm also really excited because next year when it's time for this, I'll be giving this to my student teacher!  I can't say how excited I am to have a student teacher.  We met this week and she is fan-tas-tic! 

I'm breaking this big novel study up into chunks to also list small pieces.  Right now, I have listed the whole inclusive novel study.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

catching up- Winter

Yikes, here's some old photos I'm just catching up on. Winter.  Geesh. 

Daddy and Lou at basketball.  So much basketball. 

The kid's got rid of the pumpkins for us! 

Staff Christmas Party.  I gave the best white elephant gift this year.  I saved up all the gift cards I had gotten in the past year (some with a bit of money, most with none) and gave them away as a bunch.  The family that got them said they spent a happy afternoon calling the number on each card and found a total of $8.50 on the cards! 

Bee went to a Christmas Activity at school.  Take note it was NOT a dance, it was an activity.  

She said I could not go as a chaperone... but I had friends chaperoning and several sent me pictures.  (She absolutely has a tank top on under the dress, it's ivory.)

Turns out there was dancing. 

We decorated our doors for Christmas at school.  My goal was quick, easy, but cute.  I printed out a large picture of the Elf and invited people to take a selfie with an elf.  Even people in the building for tours stopped by to get their selfie taken. 

Our favorite December activity- the food drop at our church.  We take the Thanksgiving week's offering and use it all to buy wholesale food.  It arrives via semi trucks. 

Hundreds of volunteers offload the trucks. 

Then we fill orders from the local food pantries. 

Then we deliver the food to fill the empty shelves

Ok, let's move on to warmer weather. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


I took this linguistic class in college that was the hardest class I ever took.  It was part of my reading specialist certificate (a title they shortly later got rid of).  I worked harder than I had in any other class and really learned a lot (and I still mess up more than I should!).  I don't think I earned higher than a B in there, but it was well earned.  I made pretty good grades in college, but I think I was more proud of that B than other better grades.  Isn't that funny about hard work, how rewarding it is? 

Maybe it started in that linguistic class, but I really love working with prefixes with my kiddos. 

I was making up some prefix stuff for my kiddos this year and thought I'd stick them in the shop.  Apparently, other teachers are working on the same skills because they're doing pretty well.

Each set has an introduction activity where you can present these prefixes and delve into the way they change words. 

Then each set has an application activity sheet.  This can be used dozens of ways.  It can be an in-class piece, a daily five tool, or an assessment sheet. 

I have a freebie so you can see what they're like and try it out without risk:

Prefixes that Mean Not  mis, un, dis, im, in

The other sets are available separately and in a bundle:

-or- Save over $3.00 with the prefix bundle!

Did you know that you can earn 5% back in TPT credits when you leave feedback!  I just got caught up on leaving feedback and now have $3.00 ready to go towards my next purchase!  Sellers love feedback (especially the good kind).  That's a win-win!

01 09 10