Scrap-Box Wreath and Pasta with White Beans and Bacon

Happy Monday! It is the last week of summer school, and we'll be working hard on the Freckle Juice summer reading projects.  I'll re-cap the rest of our summer school experience next week, but until then, here's some Monday Made It goodness!

1. Scrap-Box Wreath
I was inspired by this post, and decided I just had to make a wreath of my own.  I'm not overly into chevron (gasp) so I decided to just use the scraps I had lying in my craft box.  I'll take this to school and put it ______ (haven't decided yet) because it matches the pillow I made for my rocking chair.

Step 1: Cut some fabric into strips about two inches wide.  I had about a third of a yard of fabric left from a project I had made earlier this year, so that's what I decided to use. 

Step 2: Pin one end of the fabric on a diagonal to your foam wreath.  Wrap your fabric tightly around, overlapping slightly as you go.  Pin again when that strip reaches the end.  Continue until the entire wreath is covered.

Step 3: Cut a strip of contrasting fabric (pictured is a jersey/knit) into a long triangular shape.  Pinch and fold like you were making a fan, then take a straight pin and poke right through the middle, securing the flower together.  Place on your wreath, then pull on the fabric to get your desired shape.  Repeat and repin until happy!

Step 4: (Not pictured) Cut a different scrap of fabric into a 1 inch by 8 inch length, wrap around the wreath and tie.  Pin the knot to the wreath and hang!

**I added some of my hanging fabric around the flowers for an added burst of color.  The best thing about this project is that it's all done with pins, so you can easily change it out by seasons or color schemes.

2. Pasta with White Beans and Bacon
Adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking

I made this last week on a night when we had sweatshirts on (in July!).  It's a really great comfort food, and a way to use up some pantry ingredients.  We also ate it the next day for lunch and it was fantastic.

1 lb of short pasta (I used Ditalini)
6 slices bacon, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste (I use Papa Joe's)
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp cornstarch (optional)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Salt and boil water in a large pot.  Cook pasta until just al dente, drain.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large pan over medium/high heat until crisp.  Add butter, minced garlic and beans, stir for about a minute.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the chicken stock and milk.  Cook on medium until thickened.  (If yours doesn't thicken enough, add cornstarch 1/2 tsp at a time until thick.) Add the pasta, toss to coat.  Eat any men who jump overboard.  Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese and rosemary.  Serve immediately!

Mangia! Have a great week!

My Class is Diggin' it!

Today I'm linking up with one of my blogging heroes, Christina from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge to share what my students are loving in my classroom.

1. My class loves our prize box, and to get the prizes inside, they need to use M-C money.  Every time we play a game, I hear, "Is this for M-C money?" And they are good kid came back after class and asked for an exchange.

2.  They are loving graphic novels.  I think each kid read my entire collection of 15 or so graphic novels and I am on the hunt for more! 

3. This freebie from SLP Gone Wild is a hit with my kids! I just started using it in summer school and my boys have begged to play it at dismissal every day. 

4. QR Codes. I know because every morning I am asked, "Can we do that scanning thing again today?"

What do your students love?  Does anything surprise you? I was really surprised that they liked graphic novels so much!

Summer School Recap Part 1

Summer school has been going swimmingly! The kids are having a great time, and thanks to a lot of help from our volunteers, we have had a really smooth two weeks.  Knock on wood! Find some wood! Yes, we are our own janitors, nurses, supervisors, and cafeteria staff, but..."I Teach...What's Your Superpower?" is my motto in the summer!  Here's what we've been up to.

1. I put up my objectives every day on our interactive whiteboard and have the students read them for fluency practice.  Background by 3rd Grade Gridiron, Frame by Teaching my 3, Fonts by Kevin and Amanda and Across the Hall in 2nd

2. My bootleg D-3 chart.  Don't you love it?!  This week I added WwT (work with Teacher) but this picture is from last week.  Attendance and Daily 5 check-in, all in one!  My students make their choice the minute they walk in the room, and go right to their choice- we're only in summer school for 2.5 hours, so we have to make the most of it!

3. Reading to Self on the rug. (note to self, get a comfier rug!)

4.  Doing word work in a group, and one doing work on writing in the back. These kids are actually playing Word Battle, which I blogged about a while back- it is the most popular game in my room!  Please please excuse the state of my classroom. I am half unpacked and so disorganized it's not even funny.

4. Working on our math skills- we watched two Brainpops and started working on these centers today, they will rotate to the next centers tomorrow.

5. Using technology- oh yeah! I love to see them hunched over iPads...they are so engaged when they can work at their own pace.  Here we're doing a QR code freebie activity on the life cycle of a butterfly- it was fantastic.

6. Assessing fluency- I need to get better at doing this regularly during the school year, so I set up a file in my One Note and started it today. Hopefully I'll have time remember to do it. 

7. Fingerpainting! Because it's the summer and everyone deserves to have a little fun.  We read 

and then did a little summer craft.  Fun!

Cheers and Happy Birthday Baby Cambridge!

My Favorite Things: Feels Like Home

My husband and I are in the middle of our home search, so this is the perfect time for me to go back through my Pinterest boards and find all my design inspiration to share with you. Our current apartment is pretty un-inspiring, with some art here and there, but honestly my classroom is a whole lot more colorful than where I live! You'd never know the same person decorated both places!

Favorite Graphic

One of the houses we looked at had a kitchen that would be the perfect space for a bench...I love this one.

I really like the idea of a great room, with a kitchen that leads to a room like this.  Plus, I love the stone.

The best thing about this one is that it's actually feasible! I love my fresh herbs in the summer!

For art, I like realism and pointillism best, but you can't go wrong with Monet, n'est pas?

Bon weekend!

How to Make a QR Code

Something I decided on the spur of the moment to do (that's my best idea time) was make an activity using QR codes.  It is definitely a lot simpler than it seems!

Step 1: Find the content you want to use.  In my case, it was facts about Judy Blume.

Step 2: I typed my questions onto a Powerpoint for the students to see.

Step 3: Type your answers into the Plain Text part of and download each QR code.  Paste into PPT.

Step 4: Download a scanner from the app store, then scan your QR code to make sure the right answer comes up with the right question.  Ahem.  Don't skip this step.

Step 5: Project and use with your class!

I was inspired by our QR activities last week: 

I am so excited about using QR codes that I decided to make a little cooperative learning scavenger hunt for my students to review their measuring skills!  Making this opened up my eyes to all the possibilities for QR codes, and I can't wait to see what else I can come up with.    

Now for some yummy recipes!

White Pizza
Adapted from The Curvy Carrot

1 pizza dough (I use Pillsbury Thin Crust...shhh)
3 Tbsp EVOO
3 tsp garlic, finely minced
8 oz fresh mozzarella, chopped
1/2 cup ricotta (part-skim or whole)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped olives
a handful of chopped fresh basil

If using a packaged dough, follow instructions for heating on the package*
Otherwise, preheat oven to 450 degrees, brush a baking sheet with sides with oil and set aside.
Combine garlic and EVOO in a small bowl.
Roll out your dough on a mat or directly on the pan if it's a packaged dough.
Brush lightly with the EVOO/garlic mixture, reserving some.
Layer the mozzarella and ricotta, make sure to leave a 1/4 in to 1/2 in border for a crust.
Sprinkle the parmesan over the top, followed by the olives.
Bake until cheese is melted and crust is golden.
Brush olive oil and garlic around crust and sprinkle with fresh basil.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
Adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker

12 Graham crackers
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Crush graham crackers into crumbs, mix with sugar and cinnamon.  Toss butter into mixture with a fork until evenly coated.  Press into lightly greased springform pan until crust comes halfway up the sides.  Bake at 375 for 6-8 minutes, cool 10 minutes.

Caramel Sauce
1 jar pre-made caramel sauce
1 cup pecans

Pour caramel into crust, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle pecans over crust.  Let sit in the fridge.

5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
5 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Put the sliced apples into a sauce pan with the dry ingredients.  Add the hot melted butter and turn the heat on medium.  Stir until all is coated.  Cook on medium/low until the sauce has almost evaporated, about 15 minutes.  Remove apples with a slotted spoon and place in layers in springform pan.  Return pan to refrigerator.

**Reduce oven temp to 350
8 oz creamcheese
1/4 cup of sugar
1 room temperature egg
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the egg and beat until combined.  Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, beat for another minute or so.  Pour over the apples in the pan.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until the cheesecake is set.  Cool to room temperature and refrigerate 5 hours or overnight.

Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar

Beat heavy cream on high with electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar, beat until stiff peaks form.  Spread over pie and garnish with caramel sauce and pecans.

My Favorite Things: Vacation Style

I used to secretly want to be Samantha Brown, from Travel Channel.  She traveled in Burberry trench coats and always had such a good time!  Then I realized that her traveling was not really a vacation.  I like to have both when I go away- a little adventure and a lot relaxing.  I'm linking up with Halle to give you a slide show of my favorite things, travel-style (spouse included, not pictured!).

What's on your must-have list for vacations? Link up with Halle!

Favorite Graphic

Websites and Apps for Newcomers and POE Students

Summer school started yesterday, and it's great! I have all the same kids I had during the year, so it was a breeze to get back into the routines we had.  Finding the stuff I packed away was not so easy.  Why do I put things where I think I'll remember them, instead of in a more obvious spot? Do you do that too?

We got a brand new, off-the-plane kid in summer school, and word on the street is we're going to get more soon.  He's in a state of culture shock, as he's only been here about 3 weeks and really knows just a few words.  He speaks a dialect of Burmese which many of my other Burmese speakers do not speak, so we have a little bit of a language barrier even within the same culture.  This happens often in my school- we can't get a bilingual aide who speaks all our dialects.

All the different colors are different ethnic minorities within Burma/Myanmar.  Each one has several dialects and various differences in dress, religions, and customs.  In our school, certain ethnic minorities don't mix with certain others, which causes tensions, as you can imagine.  We are doing our very best to bring them together through community building activities.

Anyway, yesterday at 8:57, while the kids were standing outside, my teaching partner and I scrambled to download some apps and hunt through our shelves for stuff to do with him! Today was a little bit better, since we've figured out our routine, but I'd rather not have that happen again, so I am going to share with you the websites that we found for our newcomer while we got our long-term ELL's settled down to work.

ESL Games Plus is a new-to-me website. I had been using almost exclusively, but now I think I will switch, just based on the language level that ESL Games provides.  I like the content in ABCYA but my students need a lot of speaking and listening practice so this is a great addition to my toolkit. 

This is a PDF document we came across that explains expectations for newcomers based on their experience, months in the country, and language level.  Definitely give it a read- it has lots of good information and I was happy to refresh my own memory.

On to the app! 

This just shows you how much is out there, and how much I didn't know was out there!

A Burmese language app ($2.99)! We were over-the-moon excited to find this.  I have the younger kids and my teaching partner has the older kids so she got to work on this with our newcomer, but we played with this app after the kids left and it's amazing.  It has all the essential social language you need for a teenager and up.    It doesn't have school language, but that's ok- we're not worried about teaching those words yet.  He just needs to learn to communicate.  Some ELL professionals will tell you that's wrong, but all this kid wants to do is be 11 and talk to his friends who can't remember Burmese anymore, so we're going to help him do that.

We had our student on Starfall for a while as well, but the Burmese app seemed to be the best fit.  It was good for him to hear the word in Burmese, then hear the word in English.  The only thing missing was a visual, so we are on the hunt for something that meets all our needs.  *Hint Hint* all you app developers out there!

Help us out! What language and vocabulary apps have you used in your classroom? Feel free to share!  I'll let you know what other great ones we come across as well!

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