Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lady Who Lunches

Ahh....lunch time. That blessed half hour to sit in silence and eat. 

Oh wait, I'm a teacher, so that never happens!

 Typically during my lunch break, I am making copies or meeting with other teachers. More frequently I am spending my lunch break putting out fires regarding the recess arguments of children. That means that I usually end up eating lunch with my class (who eat in the classroom--although now with the weather getting nicer, more and more kids are opting to eat outside on the picnic tables).  I really can't complain too much about sitting down and eating with my class. I get to chat with them about their lives and get a better sense of who they are in non-academic settings. You learn a lot about kids while they are eating, lemme tell ya!

So, as many of your know, my wedding is coming up in a little over a month's time. I am trying really hard to stick to my diet, and bringing my own lunch really helps. When I taught in NYC, my school provided a delicious lunch every day for the kids and teachers. Yes, it was overall very healthy/organic food, but since it was buffet style, I really over did it! I couldn't help it!

I had to get used to buying groceries for my lunch, which I hadn't done for a few years. I forgot how expensive some of my favorite items are! Do Fiber One bars really need to cost so much? Since my fiance and I inhale these pretty regularly, I couldn't justify not making my own for a fraction of the cost with ingredients that we always have in our kitchen! And the recipe makes double the amount found in a box of the ones from the store and has the same amount of fat and calories. Plus, these homemade ones don't have all the icky artificial and processed junk!

Here's what you will need:

2 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats
1 Cup Rice Krispies
2 Tbsp. Flax Seed
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Butter or Coconut Oil (tried both--and both taste great!)
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
Chocolate Chips (I also tried dried cranberries--equally delicious!)

Step 1: Mix the oats, Rice Krispies, flax seed and chocolate chips or other mix-in together in a large bowl.

Step 2: Melt the honey, brown sugar, and coconut oil or butter over medium heat until boiling

Step 3: Take mixture off the heat and pour over cereal and oat mixture. Mix well.
Step 4: Mold into a greased 8x8 baking pan. Let set for 2 hours.
Step 5: Cut into 12 pieces. Wrap with plastic and store.
 Step 6: When you need a snack, enjoy!
My fiance was skeptical at first, but once he tried them, he couldn't stop raving about how good they are! Seriously, they are SO EASY to make, so give it a try!

Another item that I have found myself spending a lot on are sandwich bags for toting items like grapes and almonds, and tin foil to wrap my whole grain bread and turkey sandwiches. I decided that not only are these baggies sucking money out of my wallet, but they aren't very friendly for the environment!
 found these great reusable baggies at a fun little store when my fiance and I were walking around this past weekend. For $16, I got three brightly colored bags to stash all my sustenance! I love that I can just throw it in the top rack of the dishwasher.

 When I was in middle school, it was so uncool to use a lunch box. Paper bags were the thing. But again, not great for our planet! Fortunately, I received this lunch bag when my sister and I tried out a juice cleanse a couple of summers ago, and I bring my lunch in it every day. This thing can also just get tossed in the dishwasher, so it's all good!

 You know what else is all good? The fact that there are 17 days of school left! I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by. I still have 8 reports left to write before June 6th-- not as "all good". Encouragement appreciated, folks! :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

When I think of Cinco de Mayo, I rarely think about what the holiday actually means. It is pretty sad that I honestly have to re-research every year why we celebrate this holiday.

Since we are studying Mexico (ancient Aztecs, but still), I had to include some activities around Mexico's defeat over Napoleon's French army.

I decided to begin the day with a small packet at each child's desk that I downloaded off of Teachers Pay Teachers (click the link to see the maze that will explain what happened in Puebla!) Along with the maze, I also included a small synopsis of what the holiday celebrates with some follow up questions that I found on the same website. (Honestly, fellow teachers, please don't reinvent the wheel! There are so many great activities for free on TPT that save me time every day and they add so much to my own lessons!)

Pregunta: How can I add Cinco de Mayo fun in my math lessons?

Cinco de Mayo fun brings me back to some of my college days, where Cinco de Mayo was the last big hurrah before finals and packing up our dorms for the summer. I went to many tacky theme parties, and even though these games are not traditional to Mexico, they are a tradition at college parties everywhere: BEER PONG  and FLIP CUP.

No, I did not give my 3rd and 4th graders alcohol, people! But I did kinda-sorta teach them drinking games to practice multiplication!

In MULTIPLICATION PONG, the cups are set up:

Instead of beer in each cup (seriously, if you think I did that, I'm worried about you!), I wrote down a multiplication equation that we are practicing.

The kids had three chances to throw a ping-pong ball into the cup. If they land inside a cup, they have to answer the multiplication equation. If they don't answer it correctly, they have to do as many jumping jacks as the product :)

Now, for multiplication flip cup:

I wrote down a multiplication equation on the inside of a cup.

Then, I flipped the 3 cups upside down and placed them at the edge of the table. There were 3 cups on each end. Teams had to compete against each other to flip over all 3 cups and answer the equations underneath. Whoever flipped over all of their cups and answered the problem correctly won that round! Each team had 5 tries for each cup. Again, if they flipped over a cup but did not know the answer, they had to do as many jumping jacks as the product.

It was a raucous, good time had by all! I'm almost sad I won't get to witness what might happen seven years from now at their first college parties when one of my former students says "I think we played this game in math in third grade..."

We have been studying skip counting patterns to help us understand multiplication. I wanted to do some reinforcement of skip counting and number patterns with my class, so I gave the kids a fun Mexican food themed worksheet to find patterns.

Of course, we couldn't do a worksheet about chips and salsa without enjoying some ourselves. Luckily for snack, we could have our very own fiesta with chips and guac at snack! Muy delicioso!

I am going to continue the Cinco de Mayo celebration at home tonight.  I am going to be doing some Latin dancing in my weekly Zumba class, and will be making tacos for dinner! How are you celebrating?

Adios, mis amigos! 

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