Saturday, October 31, 2015

Teal Pumpkin Project

Have you heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project?  I remember seeing information about it last year, but I didn't think anything of it.  What changed?  My son changed this.  Although he is only four months old, he is a child that is able to enjoy food rich holidays because of projects like this.
Over time, more and more food allergies and sensitives have come to light.  This isn't new information, it is our reality.  We have altered the natural makeup of so many food with preservatives, coloring, sugar, and other chemicals causing many of our bodies to revolt.  I know that this has become a heated topic, but it is true.

As a mom and a teacher, I want to see every child happy and able to enjoy life.  This year, we are handing out LED finger lights in hopes of making a few more Trick or Treaters smile.

Are your participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project?

Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Sight Word Conversation

It seems that during conferences every year, I have the same conversation with parents.  "Practicing sight words is a very important skill that I need you to be doing every day.  Remember that these are the words that are difficult or unable to be sounded out, knowing them by sight is instrumental to your child's reading ability.  Making this practice engaging will be necessary." Insert head nod from parent/s.  This is when I start listing ways to make this "practice engaging."
Let's back up for a second, why are sight words so important?  Well, they are the most frequently seen words in text and do not follow traditional spelling patterns.  When words do not follow the "sound it out method" you need to be able to recognize them quickly based on sight memory.  When sight words are mastered it allows for increased fluency of reading.  An increase in fluency does not automatically mean that comprehension becomes stronger, but it does support it.
So back to ways to make sight word mastery engaging...

  • pick a word and search for it together at the grocery store or while driving in the car
  • play Oh No! or Race to the Finish or a huge favorite Bust the Burglar 
  • add sight words to games like Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, or Sorry
    • when you land on a square read the word
  • good old fashion flash cards work for some kiddos
  • use magnetic letters on the fridge to practice words or have fun with alphabet cereal or pasta
My students end up making great sight word growth with the practice they receive at home and the learning that takes place in the classroom.

What do your kiddos do to learn their sight words?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday Meals: The Easiest Beef Stew Around

As the weather starts to cool down and the trees change my Michigan Blues set in big time.  I was born and raised in The Mitten and still miss it all the time.  This time of year is the hardest!  One thing that seems to cheer me up is a yummy bowl of beef stew.  There is something about the hardy warmth that brings me to the kitchen table I ate at as a child.

Easy Beef Stew
1-2 lbs stew meat
5 carrots
4 rustic potatoes (about 2 lbs of your choice)
 1 carton of beef broth (about 4 cups)
1 bay leaf
3 stalks of celery (optional)

Add stew meat to the crockpot and season with salt and pepper.  Chop veggies and add them on top of the meat.  Pour in the beef broth.  Give everything a quick stir and add the bay leaf.  Cook for 6 hours on low.  About 30 minutes before it is done cooking, remove 2 ladles of broth into a bowl.  Add  2-3 tablespoons of flour (I use Bob's RedMill GF 1-to-1) to the bowl and whisk to make a slurry.  Add this back to the crockpot and once again give everything a quick stir. You can garnish with parsley if you want.

Super simple and ridiculously yummy!

What is your favorite fall recipe?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Spreading the LOVE

Even on maternity leave, I am loving GoNoodle!  I may not be able to get my wiggles out with my students right now, but I can still dance my stress out.  I just found out that I have been chosen to be a GoNoodle Ambassador.  I am so honored and excited to be a part of this team.

Expect to see some more GoNoodle love throughout the coming year!

Happy Noodling!!