Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Doing Halloween Without Doing Halloween

Boo! Did I scare you? ;) Halloween can be a tricky time in the classroom. And no, I'm not talking about the extreme increase of "sugar" as the main ingredient during snack time... although that CAN be a problem of its own. But today I'm talking about how we celebrate the holidays in our classrooms while still being careful to include everyone.

When I started teaching 10 years ago {yikes!} we did Halloween Parties. Those have turned into "Fall Parties" now in order to include everyone. It sometimes means revamping old ideas to take the Halloween factor out, as well as rounding up new ones. I personally focus on pumpkins, spiders, and monsters in October. 


I've already shared my pumpkin unit ideas recently, so we'll stick to spiders and monsters this time around. =) 


Here's a fun spider idea for you-- make webs on your student chairs! My students literally became spiders and had to read nonfiction spider texts to learn how spiders weave their webs. Then they wrote from a spider's perspective about the activity. We do this in conjunction with my spider thematic unit, in case you need more ideas to round out your spider ideas. Here are some of my favorite spider books to go with it:



For monsters, we held adoptions. Students adopt a monster and then write an instruction manual with things you need to know about their new monster baby when it's your turn to babysit. They do this in the form of a monster shape book. I have four different monster patterns for my students to pick from. Each pattern comes with a face, writing lines, and blank options for creating a book. They absolutely love it and it's so funny to see the unique personalities they craft for their monsters. It definitely stretches their creativity! Here are the books I use in our unit:



Of course Pinterest is full of ideas too-- here's the link to my fall ideas board over on PinterestAnd here are a few more of my favorite free ideas to help you get through the Halloween season without doing Halloween.


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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What's for Dinner? {linky}

I posted my dinner on Instagram tonight. It was kind of a hit. Pizza Casserole, nothing fancy even. But we are all so busy that a casserole can save the whole night. I hate to cook, but I love to eat. Sad situation, I know. ;) Fortunately, my husband loves to cook. Except his schedule is crazy being a fourth year med student, so I eat cereal a lot. Not tonight, friends!


It got me thinking. We all have those go-to recipes-- Quick and easy. No fuss. Family tested. Save your sanity on a school night. You know what I'm talking about. Will your share yours? I will! 


Pizza Casserole
Ingredients: 

  • 1 bag of egg noodles (12 ounces)
  • 2 cans of tomato sauce (you can use pizza sauce if you want)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 2 pounds hamburger or spicy sausage 
  • 1 pack pepperoni 

Work It:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook egg noodles according to package directions
  3. Brown hamburger or sausage/drain
  4. Layer in casserole dish:
    1. thin layer of sauce
    2. half the noodles
    3. half the meat
    4. half the sauce
    5. rest of the noodles
    6. half the cheese
    7. rest of the meat
    8. rest of the sauce
    9. rest of the cheese
    10. pepperoni
  5. Cover it up with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove aluminum foil and finish baking for 15 additional minutes
  7. Remove from oven and let it set up about 15 minutes. Don't stir or anything-- it will firm up on its own.
  8. Eat.
  9. Make someone else do the dishes.

How easy is that?! We have leftovers for days. Love it when that happens and I don't have to starve eat cereal. Do you have a recipe to share with us? Link up!

It's as easy as:
1. Write a blog post with your recipe (it's okay if you don't have a picture of it finished)
2. Upload the pink linky button to your recipe post with a link back here to my blog.
3. Add your blog post URL to my widget.
4. Find lots of great new recipes. 



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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Speaking of Pumpkins... {giveaway}

Pumpkin spice, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin ice cream, even pumpkin beer. You name it, we're putting pumpkin in it this time of the year. And I'm okay with that, really. Except I'm more crazy about decorating with pumpkins than eating them. ;)

I've always loved this time of year in third grade though. We roll right from Johnny Appleseed to pumpkins. There's just something about getting all covered in pumpkin guts and listening to your kiddos squeal as they pull seeds out by hand. Do you know how many of your students have never actually had that experience in real life??

We do all kinds of pumpkin activities... plant them, weigh them, measure them, float them, taste them, decorate them, and plant them. The possibilities are endless! We also do creative activities with pumpkins-- poems, art, creative writing. You name it! I've found that I get so much more "buy in" when we work in themes across the content areas. My students being little walking experts over our unit topics!


I compiled many of my favorites into my Pumpkin Unit for Big Kids. This pictures highlights some of my favorites-- my life cycle cut and paste activity, a printable nonfiction book I wrote to use for guided reading, poetry options, types of sentences for language arts, an observation chart for science, and an informational "how to" writing prompt. There's lots more in my unit though. =)

You can see the entire unit in my TpT Store and also be sure to grab the freebie life cycle here. I also decided to give away my pumpkin unit to one reader, along with mailing you this little Halloween treat pack for your class. The unit is *NOT* Halloween themed though, just pumpkins. 




You can enter this win this week and I'll draw a winner on Sunday. Tip: be sure the email address you use to enter is up to date so I can contact you if you win. Good luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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