Opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent any other organization or affiliation I may have.

Monday 30 September 2013

HOME EC: Egg substitutes....

Now that I am teaching Home Ec  I have started to do a lot of research on tidbits for new Home Ec teachers.

This came in my email from a colleague and I thought this may be useful if ever I am in this situation...

Here are some vegan alternatives that work just as well, if not better than eggs...

What is a good substitute for eggs?
2 tbsp cornstarch = 1 egg
2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
2 tbsp potato starch = 1 egg
1 heaping tbsp soy powder + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg.
1 banana = 1 egg in cakes.
1 tbsp milled flax seed and 3 tbsp water = 1 egg. Light, fluffy cakes!

Source: http://homeec414.wikispaces.com/Egg+Substitutes
(Ms. Lightburn is a colleague of mine who is a great resource for Home Ec teachers)

Here is another list of ideas in a handy poster that I found on pintrest:

Monday Quote

Saturday 28 September 2013

Home Ec: New Posts Coming

So as I mentioned in a previous post, I am teaching Home Ec this year to grades 6/7 and grade 8. I am only there two times a week as I job share, and half the day is Student Services and half the day is Home Ec.

That being said, the two days I am there are mostly "LAB DAYS" which means the students are all cooking.

I am not much of a baker or cook at home, my husband does a lot of that, but one of the keys to Home Ec Labs, as I am learning, is classroom management, supervision, organization and time management.

Maybe I am not the best cook, but those things I am very skilled at.

This week was my first lab with the kids. Grade 6/7s did twice baked stuffed potatoes and Grade 8s did a two day lab making banana-chocolate chip muffins.

I am excited to announce that things went very smoothly. I had the youth worker come in for an extra set of hands and eyes, my job share partner was very organized and had everything ready to go and everything turned out delicious and on time!

I am starting to connect with other Home Ec teachers through social media, especially twitter, and feel more creative in the things we can plan for term two.

What is awesome about teaching "EXPO" or Explorations, is that I get to connect with every student in the school by the end of the year and it is something most of them look forward to doing.

We get 8 weeks with each group and they are 40 minute blocks five days a week.

Anyhow, I plan to start posting occasional "HOME EC" features on my blog so stay tuned!

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Tech Tuesday: KidBlog, Augmented Reality, CargoBot and more

These are three programs/sites I have NOT tried. I found them via #cdnedchat link to Two Guys and Some iPads.

KidBlog allows your students to set up their own blogs.

It allows students to create their own positive digital footprint. Kidblog allows students to embed video, slideshows, artwork, etc. As the teacher, you have control of all the privacy settings for your class. It also creates an excellent digital portfolio of of each students writing.

Cargo-bot is a great iPad app to get students introduced to basic coding skills. It sponsored by code.org, which is a non-porfit foundation dedication to growing computer programming education. It is the first app ever created solely on an iPad using the app Codea.

It features 36 fiendishly clever puzzles, haunting music and stunning retina graphics. You can even record your solutions and share them on YouTube to show your friends. (http://twolivesleft.com/CargoBot/)

I encourage you to check out the original post which lists these and more cool tech tools to use in your class. They also explain each one and give links to reviews and to download or sign-up.

Source: http://www.twoguysandsomeipads.com/2013/08/5-free-tech-tools-for-this-school-year.html

Monday 23 September 2013

Writing Prompt: What Would the Theme Song to your life be?

 Have students write the song, lyrics, why they chose it. Could do a soundtrack also.

They could embed it on their web site/class website, make a word Cloud with the lyrics, write about it for language arts... endless ways to use this idea.

From classroomcollective.tumblr.com - I found on facebook.

Monday Quote: Education is the most Powerful Weapon which you can use to Change the World!

Thursday 19 September 2013

BINGO Fractions

I often have blank BINGO sheets in my 'Bag of Tricks' so that I can easily fill it in depending on the class, subject, grade I get called into.

I really like this idea, as I think a lot of kids struggle with fractions and this is a fun way to help them learn them


Wednesday 18 September 2013

Spelling Dice Game

I posted the dice game for writing last week, this is another great activity to use to practice spelling words. As a TTOC this can be a fun way to fill time in an educational but fun way if you get through all the materials early.


Tuesday 17 September 2013

Tech Tuesday:App Smashing

During a recent #cdnedchat someone mentioned "app smashing" I had no idea what this was, and so I looked into some links people shared about it and found this awesome blog post:

Definition of App Smashing: "The process of using multiple apps in conjunction with one another to complete a final task or project."
Source:  Read more about app smashing here!

I have to wrap my head around this and actually give it a try.... but it is something I wanted to post to see if there was anyone familiar with this who could share their process and results??

Sunday 15 September 2013

Sunday Twitter Chats #bcedchat #21stedchat

Tonight is #bcedchat and #21stedchat

Last week I participated and created a Storify you can check out here:
#21stedchat from Sept 8, 2013

#bcedchat from Sept. 8, 2013

Not sure I can tune in tonight as I have plans, but I will try! You should def. check it out!

In fact, check out this list of weekly chats for teachers: Google Drive - List of Twitter Weekly Chats for Educators

I chose a few I really like and added them into my smartphone calendar with alerts for each week so I remember to tune in if I can, or at least read the archives afterward!

It's a great way to grow your PLN!

Friday 13 September 2013

Roll a Story

This would be a fun activity for a 'Writer's Workshop' session..... As a TTOC (teacher teacher on call)
 I always have dice in my Bag of Tricks. What a fun way to inclkude literacy in the classroom.


Wednesday 11 September 2013

5 Apps for connecting with Parents

I previously shared '5 apps that really engage parents' but with school underway, I wanted to re-share these ideas for teacher's in classrooms that have to start thinking about Meet the Teacher night and parent teacher interviews also.

  1. Skype: Skype for computer, smart phones and tablets lets parents join in classroom events like story time and special presentations without having to be physically present. Even military parents overseas and grandparents who live far away are taking advantage of the Skype platform to read to students and participate in celebrations. Creative teachers ask students to find the parent’s/grandparent’s location on a map and ask a few questions to learn about the local geography, landmarks and culture. Skype can also be helpful as a way for working parents to attend parent-teacher conferences.
  2. Twitter: Whether it is class homework updates, project deadlines, school news or dinnertime conversation starters, teachers are taking advantage of Twitter’s free tool and keeping parents up to date and involved in classroom happenings. In a day-in-age where most parents have cell phones, Fast Follow by Twitter becomes a simple and reliable alert system. To use it, all you need to do is setup a Twitter account and ask parents (and older students) to text Twitter’s shortcode of 40404 with the message “follow [your Twitter username].” From there, parents will start receiving all of your updates via text message in real-time.
  3. VolunteerSpot: Get more parents involved in the classroom by streamlining how you ask for help and making it easier for parents to sign up to help. VolunteerSpot replaces paper signup sheets, reply-all email chains and backpack Pony Express. Simple online signups from smartphones, tablets or computers make it easy for class parents to choose a spot that fits their schedule or to send food or supplies for special events; auto reminders and calendar syncing help parents keep their commitments. Quickly organize parents to read to the class, help in the lunchroom or at recess, attend parent-teacher conferences, and help with class parties, field trips and performances.
  4. Pinterest: A virtual vision board for classroom inspiration, Pinterest offers a great way for teachers and parents to build community and share ideas. Invite class parents to create and share pinboards with links to age-appropriate themes and ideas including educational boards like fun math apps, favorite books, vocabulary games, and science fair ideas – student-centric boards like recess games, scholarships and prom fashions – and boards geared towards parents such as healthy snack and lunch ideas, afterschool sports resources, and class party ideas.
  5. Edublogs: A free, safe blogging platform for teachers, students and school communities, Edublogs lets you easily create and manage student and classroom blogs that keep parents up-to-date on class happenings and give students a safe portfolio for sharing their work with parents and extended family (via password-protected blogs). Post a few times a week adding videos, photos, links to volunteer signup sheets and educational resources – parents will enjoy your current content and feel more informed and connected to the classroom.
Source: http://www.weareteachers.com/community/blogs/weareteachersblog/blog-wat/2013/05/30/5-apps-that-engage-parents-in-the-classroom

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Tech Tuesday: Remind 101

I have blogged about Remind 101 before as a great took to stay n touch with parents and student regarding everything from homework to fieldtrips.

What I like about this post from http://www.twoguysandsomeipads.com is the screen shots and descriptions from the program....


Remind 101 is an tool that allows you to text your students or stay in touch with parents in a secure and safe way. Teachers never see student or parent phone numbers, and they will never see the teacher's phone number. Educators can send messages using the mobile app on Android and iOS devices, as well as www.remind101.com.

This tool is great for friendly reminders about field trips, homework, plays, events, or a kind motivational message. Remind 101 has recently redesigned their iOS app with great new features and a teacher resource page to help with any questions.

These pictures are of the newly redesigned Remind 101 iOS app.

Download Remind 101:

This is def. something I want to try using.....

Saturday 7 September 2013

Friday 6 September 2013

Dear Teachers.... a blog post from a parent

My twitter-teacher-buddy and real life colleague (@nico1e) shared this awesome blog post she read and I just had to share it with you....

Dear Teachers,
As we enter another school year, I want to take a minute to write you this note and let you know how much I appreciate what you are about to embark upon with my children.
But first, a little story.
My favorite, and most influential, teacher of all time was my 5th grade teacher, Miss M.
Now back in,
on that first day of 5th grade, I wasn’t so psyched to be in her class.
She was strict.
She sat us in rows.
She laid down the law.
I’m not sure she cracked even one little hint of a smile in that first week of school.
She pretty much scared the shit out of me.
But over time, when she knew we were ready, she loosened up.
She softened.
She smiled.
She even gave us hugs.
She expected a lot from us, but she also encouraged us to be creative.
Every year she had her students do this project, and every kid in 5th grade knew about it.
If you were in Miss M’s class,
you got to make weirdos.
Weirdos were basically brown paper bags from the grocery store that you turned into big, stuffed heads.
We could design and decorate them any way we wanted.
The weirder, the better.
And then, when they were all done, Miss M. hung them from the ceiling in the classroom.
Kids in other classes would walk by our room to check out those weirdos.
They were always jealous.
And we were always proud.
Miss M. always pushed me to work hard and to do my best.
Sometimes I thought she was a little picky.
But one time, I made a felt board as a project after reading a book.
I worked really hard on it.
I was determined to impress Miss M.
And I did.
In fact, Miss M. thought it was so good, that she had me present it to a 6th grade class.
To kids who were older than me.
She set the bar pretty high. But I rose to the occasion, and I exceeded her expectations.
I felt so good about myself.
And I’m not sure why,
but we also watched the movie Brian’s Song in Miss M’s class.
I didn’t learn much about myself from that movie.
But I did learn something about teachers.
That’s when I learned that teachers are real people.
Because that’s when I saw Miss M. cry.
There was one other experience from 5th grade that really stands out for me.
Pioneer Day.
That wasn’t just for Miss M’s class. It was for all of 5th grade.
Pioneer Day was our big field day.
We dressed up like the pioneers did.
We had relay races and other athletic events.
And then there were other non-athletic activities.
Like the spelling bee.
It was such a fun and interdisciplinary day.
Every fifth grader looked forward to that day.
Why do I tell you this story?
Because I know that Miss M was able to enjoy teaching and we were able to enjoy learning.
She had some freedom.
And so did we.
She was allowed the flexibility to adjust her curriculum.
She taught me more about hard work, and discipline, and achievement than any other teacher I ever had.
Without ever sending home a single CMT practice prompt.
Or a bunch of math practice problems where I had to solve the problem.
And explain my answer.
Write it out in words.
And then write it out again in numbers.
And then write a complete story about it.
And then illustrate it.
As my third grader would say,
back in the day, teachers could do their own thing.
They were allowed to make some things,
I don’t know,
their own.
Not anymore.
I bet Miss M. would hate teaching now.
And that is why I am writing you this note.
I know you can’t really change the curriculum.
I know teaching to the test isn’t what you want to do.
I know it’s coming down from up above.
I know you are being forced to teach this way.
I know that the school year you envisioned when you were a young graduate, and the one you are actually going to experience this year are not even close to each other.
I also know that parents can be one of the most challenging aspects of your job.
I know that before you give a kid a grade, you worry if you’ll get a call from an angry mom or dad, demanding you to change it.
I know there are adults who believe their kids before they believe the teacher.
So, just so you know, I know all kids lie.
Even mine.
Especially mine.
I know that what happens in the classroom,
and the story that my children tell me,
are not the same.
And so,
to be clear,
I’m on your side.
If my kids give you a hard time,
that’s not okay with me.
Hold them accountable.
I’m all for that, and I’ll support you.
My kids know that school comes first.
They know that we expect them to try their hardest and do their best.
We are consistent with both of those messages.
all that being said,
I don’t give a crap about my kids’ test scores.
And I don’t want you to spend your day stressing over whether my daughter can solve a multi-step math problem in fourteen different ways.

What I do want is for you to use your strengths to help my kids find theirs.
I know your hands are kind of tied.
But if you took those standardized test practice prompts and math problems,
crumpled them up,
and used them to stuff 21 paper bags,
if I never saw one of those worksheets come home,
but I did see 21 weirdos hanging from your classroom ceiling,
your secret would be safe with me.
SOURCE: http://not-your-average-mom.com/dear-teachers/

Article: What Teachers Eat For Lunch Matters More Than You’d Think

What Teachers Eat For Lunch Matters More Than You’d Think
by Dawn Casey-Rowe, Social Studies Teacher and Learnist Evangelist
Back to school season makes me think about lunch.
“You’re supposed to be thinking about teaching,” you might say. Lunch might not seem like an academic topic, but it is–students who are not well nourished do not learn effectively. While some schools have rejected prepared foods in favor of salad bars, chopped veggies, homemade items, and farm to table, these options simply aren’t available for many of our children. The history of school lunch is interesting. Though the first school lunch was provided in New York City in 1853, lunch programs were expanded during the Depression, feeding children and helping farmers to take price-lowering surplus off the market. This created the the standard school lunch, available at prices students could afford, leading to many hungry children being fed.
Some of the resulting items are not as healthy as we might like in today’s health-conscious environment. The good news is that many schools are addressing this. Still, parents often choose to encourage healthy eating by packing lunch for students, saving money in these tough economic times as well. When I was a student a million years ago, it wasn’t cool to bring a lunch. I ate several years of jelly sandwiches supplanted by several more of soup in thermoses, followed by four years of high school cafeteria lunch.
Healthy eating isn’t just an issue for kids–it’s an issue for adults, too, and critical, because we provide the example. Our students and children see how we eat. They emulate us. Healthy lifestyle habits set foundations for success. This is one of the most important issues in school today, in my opinion. I can’t teach effectively to students who haven’t eaten–this happens all the time. As a teacher, I don’t get apples, I toss them to hungry students. Every day.
5 Learnist Resources For Healthier Eating At School
The United States generates mountains of waste related to school lunches, and not every school recycles. Reduce the waste using the waste-free lunch philosophy. Packing a waste-free lunch isn’t that hard. You need a few items that will save you money in the end–and they are very cool for school.
School gardens interest students in food. When students, especially little ones, see their food grow–the miracle of watching the seed grow into the food on the table, they become interested in trying new healthy foods. Although I’m still waiting for this to be true for my son, it’s certainly true for my students.
Packing healthy lunch doesn’t need to be burdensome. It can be fun, too. This board has suggestions and recipes to help you, so that lunch doesn’t get old quick.
This board discusses the issue of kids and healthy food, including the fact that the number one school meal is chicken fingers and french fries–hardly the place we want to be on a regular basis. Healthy school lunches is becoming a large political grassroots movement. How is your state doing?
Kids’ habits are generated and reinforced by adults. Here are some ways to make your own lunch great. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or just interested in health, we can all do a little better. Get a new lunch box, plan out the menus, and have fun! Chances are, you’ll be able to keep a little bit more money in your wallet as well.

Source: http://www.teachthought.com/interest/what-teachers-eat-for-lunch-matters-more-than-youd-think/

Thursday 5 September 2013

Texture Art: Out at Sea

under the sea.  so unusual - cool idea to work on tints and shades

I love the texture of this art project. I've always had a love for the ocean, so this really appeals to me, but I could see students doing it with mountains or hills or desert dunes or the sky....


Wednesday 4 September 2013

Back to School Craft: Painted Pencils

I love this idea for a back to school craft. It can also be an "at home" idea for teacher so that the "teacher pencils" are easily identified and returned....
Kids can decorate pencils by winding extra-thin tape around a plain pencil, painting it, and then unwrapping the tape.
See full, detailed instructions, materials list and examples at the source: CLICK HERE

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Tech Tuesday: Three Ring

I had never heard about three ring until I stumbled upon http://www.twoguysandsomeipads.com via #cdnedchat on twitter. I love the way it sounds and look forward to giving it a try.... has anyone used it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
Here is what they posted:

Three Ring is an app that completely changed the way I create student portfolios and communicate with parents. Three Ring allows you to capture and share each learning moment in a photo, video, audio recording, or written note in a secure fashion. Each parent can only view the material of their child in the blog style format. It gives the parents a feeling of being in the classroom without actually being there or "feel like a fly on the wall in my child's classroom."

Check out their review on Teachers with Apps here and blog post.
Download Three Ring
Set up an account on their site here

See more at Source: http://www.twoguysandsomeipads.com/2013/08/5-free-tech-tools-for-this-school-year.html#sthash.4q1sPOqW.dpuf

Monday 2 September 2013

Make Ahead Lunches.... Great Time Saver

I love this idea. As a mom and as an on-call teacher who sometimes (ok often!) gets a last minute call to go to this school or that, it is nice to have some ready-to-go lunch snacks.

In my house we have a snack bin for dry snacks, granola bars, fruit snacks, yougurt bars, cereal bars, crackers, cookies, etc. I also have one of those bins in my classroom for kids who don't bring lunches or miss breakfast. (Last year I also had a small fridge in my class where I stored yougurt tubes for kids in similar situations)

But I love the idea of having cold snacks and even sandwiches or wraps ready to grab and go at any time.

  • String Cheese, Babybel cheese
  • Yogurt smoothies or other yogurt cups
  • Carrots ( I found little cups with lids at Cash n Carry that I add ranch dip to them sometimes)
  • Apples
  • Sliced Oranges
  • Mandarin Oranges, whole
  • Green Peppers, sliced thinly
  • Celery sticks
  • Grapes, Cherries, Canteloupe or other seasonal fruit cut up

  • Crackers or Pretzels
  • Homemade Granola
  • Granola Bars
  • Beef Jerkey
  • Trail Mix
  • Chips
  • Graham Crackers
  • Brownies or Homemade Cookies ( I bake up a bunch and individually bag them up)
  • Special Treats ( usually for a holiday – like a single candy on Halloween…)

  • Source: http://happymoneysaver.com/cold-lunches-in-a-day/

    Monday Quote....

    Sunday 1 September 2013


    To my daughter and her friend giggling in the room next to me. It's the last slumber party of the summer.

    The weather we have been having. There was a wicked thunder storm the other night and the rain watered my garden for me. Since then it has been sunny and beautiful.

    About back to school.

    A job! I am a bit anxious knowing there are no classes available for many teachers, including me. I really hoped I would be able to know before school starts.

    [For those new to my blog, our district had a major budget deficit and laid off approx 500 teachers. As of last week 200 were still not placed back in a classroom... there are no jobs... yikes!]

    To get my house cleaned! And not stress of things I can not control [like when I get my class assignement]
    Love Yourself Spot:
    1. Drink more water 
    2. Learn to say 'no' sometimes
    3. Scrapbook more

    If you want to participate in 'Currently' check out Farley's blog - Oh Boy 4th Grade I try to participate every month and even use the idea with the mentors group I work with as an opening write sometimes!

    Craft Idea: Treasue Chest Books

    I just love this idea, it is so cute.... I wonder if it would work as well with a larger box and paper?

    These small ones are just too cute though....


    Source: http://www.marthastewart.com/275300/kids-art-projects/@center/276975/marthas-crafts-kids

    Reflecting on Summer....

    Back to School Tuesday!

    In June I posted this "A Teacher's Summer Bucket List " as well as my own "Summer List" Here

    So... How did I do?

    Well, summer seems to pass by faster and faster each year, but I did try this summer to do as much as I could! I think it is so important to relax, rejuvinate and have fun in the summer...

    1. I did not organize my garage of resources. Though a few teacher friends have offered to come help me soon.
    2. I did go camping for 5 glorious days with two other families! 6 adults, 6 children, 3 dogs. It was amazing! One of my longest friends and his wife and two children were one of the families we camped with and they are pro-campers, so we ate in style! Slow smoked pork sandwiches, ribs, steaks, and late night campfire snacks like bean dip and potato skins... delicious!
    3. I did not plan for the upcoming school year. I am on recall and there is no job for me yet, so I can't plan as I don't know what class/grade/school/subject I will be in, when I am in...
    4. I read a few novels, not as many as I hoped, but I really enjoyed them!
    5. Beach trips were few and far between, the weather was beautiful, but almost too hot to go to a busy beach. We did go to the lake while camping a lot though!
    6. Summer Conference and FIT were awesome! I really enjoyed Kamloops
    7. SDCC (Comic-Con) was epic! I had the most amazing time with friends and attending panels, celebrity filled parties and cool exhibits.

    Also, not on my list but quite rewarding:

    • Scrapbooking with my daughter
    • BBQs
    • movie dates
    • hanging out with my husband, daughter and our puppy at the dog park, river, trails and lake
    • coffee dates with friends
    • tutoring
    And now, it is back to school... I am excited for my daughter, entering her final year of Elementary School and I am anxious to learn where I will be teaching this year.... Good-Bye Summer!

    What did you do this summer that was most enjoyable?