If you tell an elementary student to study for a test, he stares at a page of notes for a few minutes and then declares that he is finished. In my 4th grade classroom, if I want my students to do more than passively glance over a review sheet and regurgitate a few definitions without really seeing a bigger picture, I have to strategically provide study options for them. Foldables are always a good idea because students love to work on anything that is a distant relative of a paper airplane, and many foldables provide a study tool that is interactive.
This year, I have been using fortune tellers as one way to prepare for tests and quizzes. The original fortune tellers I made as a child had numbers on the different flaps and after flipping the sides back and forth a few times, you would lift a flap to reveal a fortune. I adapted that idea into a study tool.
I give students pieces of copy paper cut into 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ squares, and we fold. The students write different related concepts on the flaps, so they will be reminded to review the information in a variety of ways. The fortune tellers have the added benefit of a student being able to quiz himself or use it with a friend, parent, babysitter, or other study partner.
Making the Fortune Teller
Fold the paper in half diagonally matching one corner of the paper to the opposite corner. Press the fold to make a sharp crease. Open the paper and repeat the other direction. Place the unfolded paper on a flat surface, and you will have a page that looks a little like a kite with two creases.
Fold each corner carefully into the center, which will result in a smaller sized square.
Turn the paper over, so the flaps are facing down. Then, fold each corner into the center of the paper again resulting in an even smaller square.
Fold the paper in half making a rectangle.
At this point, gently place your fingers under the loose flaps and wiggle the fortune teller open, so you have diamond shaped flaps and a foldable that kind of resembles an umbrella shape.
A Spelling Fortune Teller
On the top of the fortune teller, you have space for 8 spelling words. Use words that relate to one central spelling rule or pattern.
On the related triangle in the center of the fortune teller, write a variation of the original spelling word. For example, add a suffix to the original spelling word (play on the top and plays on the interior).
On the underside of the interior flap, write an explanation of the rule you used when adding a suffix to the original spelling word. In my example, students were practicing the drop the Y rule. The underside of the flap listed what was happening with the letter Y when a suffix was added. In the case of the word play, it ends with the vowel, A, followed by the letter Y. When a word ends with a vowel then the letter Y, the Y stays when adding a suffix. When a word ends with a consonant followed by a Y, the Y goes away and is replaced with an I (cry to cries) When you add ING to a word that ends with Y, the Y remains no matter how a word is spelled at the end (say to saying or dry to drying).
Students say aloud all of the different pieces of information on the fortune teller. They may look at the flaps to confirm if they are remembering the words and information correctly.
A Vocabulary Fortune Teller
On the top of the fortune teller, you have space for 8 vocabulary words. Write words that relate to 1 or 2 roots or prefixes or another central topic you might be reviewing (electricity, geography terms…).
On the related triangle in the center of the fortune teller, write the definition of the vocabulary word, the definition of the root or prefix, or the explanation of the key ideas from your unit of study. For example, if you are reviewing the root, numer, write the definition number on the interior triangle.
On the underside of the interior flap, write a situation or example where the word might be used. With a word like numerical, an example could be numerical order in a book series.
On my flaps that listed the root by itself, I wrote additional words that use the root. On the flap for mot, which means to move or to do, I have words like motor, motion, and motel on the underside space.
The goal of the study tool is to have students think about information in more than one way. Rather than memorizing a word and its definition, we want children thinking of ways to apply the word. Unless students have knowledge of topics from several different angles, they may not fully grasp a concept. These fortune tellers are a great way for students to review material, but it should not be the only way they study. What are additional study tool ideas? I would love to hear about your favorite review method.
Our infamous event planner neighbor, Ms. Jackie, went above and beyond for her latest party. She hosted an 80s prom night last night in her backyard oasis, Possum Grove. She even rented a dance floor and had a balloon arch photo area. In honor of this big event, I cooked up a new party dip to share with guests rather than making one of my old reliables. This hot and cheesy roasted red pepper dip was better than I expected. I think throwing the bacon bits on the top before baking really elevated the flavor satisfaction levels.
The cream cheese base in this dish reminds me of the Hot Artichoke Dip and the Charleston Cheese Dip, which have always been favorites of mine. If you need appetizer ideas for football watching this fall or are cooking for a cocktail party with friends, I recommend this roasted red pepper dip recipe.
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 c. mayonnaise
2 T. finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-5 sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (~4 oz)
1/3 c. chopped roasted sweet red peppers
1 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 c. shredded Italian cheese blend
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
Ritz and/or Club crackers for serving
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion, and garlic until blended.
Stir in tomatoes, red peppers, mozzarella cheese, Italian cheese blend, and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese.
Spread mixture in a greased baking dish. I used an oval baking dish, but a 9-inch pie pan would work too. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and bacon bits.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until edges are bubbly and lightly browned.
It is embarrassing how little food preparation I have done for my family in recent weeks. TheRoomDad has completely taken over weekend meals and school lunches. The best I have been able to do for weeknight meals is scrambled eggs and grilled cheese. He practically fell off his chair when I told him I was headed to the grocery store and had decided to make Spaghetti Pie for Sunday dinner.
My original Spaghetti Pie recipe came from the Beyond Parsley cookbook, but there are many Spaghetti Pie options if you run a Google search. Over time, I have adjusted my recipe slightly because I always make a double batch, so we can eat one pie and freeze one for later. The only reason I considered making Spaghetti Pie this Sunday was because it had the benefit of an extra freezable pie, so I could avoid preparing dinner on another night in the future.
Crust Ingredients (for 2 pies)
2 boxes (16 oz.) thin spaghetti cooked and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
5 T. butter
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs, beaten
2 t. dried basil
Meat Sauce Ingredients (for 2 pies)
~1 lb. ground beef (find a package that is close to 1 lb.)
~1 lb. Italian sausage (1 package)
1 28-oz can tomato sauce
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 t. sugar
2 t. dried basil
2 t. dried oregano
1/2 c. white wine
Other Ingredients and Equipment (for 2 pies)
1 15-oz container ricotta cheese
2 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 10-inch pie plates (can be disposable)
Make the crust first. Combine the cooked spaghetti with the other “crust” ingredients while the pasta is warm. Chop mixture with two knives until ingredients are well combined and spaghetti is in small sections. Put the two knives in the center of the ingredients and pull in opposite directions to chop the pasta. Repeat the knife movement moving the pan around, so all noodles are cut into small pieces.
Press half of the pasta mixture into each pie plate making sure the pasta covers the bottom and sides of the pie plates and set aside.
To make the filling, brown ground beef, sausage, and onion together. Drain the fat. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients and heat thoroughly.
Put the ricotta in a small bowl and add 1 to 2 T. warm water and mix together, so the ricotta will be easy to spread.
To assemble the pies, spread about half of the ricotta cheese on each pie “crust.” You may have some leftover ricotta.
Top the ricotta with meat sauce on each pie.
Sprinkle 1 cup shredded mozzarella on each pie.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Freezing and Reheating Directions
Before baking, cover pie completely with foil wrapping around the bottom as well. I like to use the disposable pie pans that come with lids. I attach the plastic lid, then wrap completely in foil.
Put covered Spaghetti Pie in the freezer.
When ready to eat, thaw the pie in the refrigerator overnight keeping the covering on it.
Remove all coverings before baking. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on top.
The pie can be reheated straight from the freezer. Remove any plastic covering and cover the top with foil only. Bake at 350 or 375 degrees until thawed in the center (test with a knife). Remove the foil covering and continue baking until golden brown on top and bubbly on the edges.
I think you could assemble the layers in a casserole dish rather than a pie pan and make a spaghetti casserole type thing.
Leftovers taste very good reheated.
These pies make great gifts for a new neighbor or a friend with a sick family member, new baby, etc. I have also given these pies to my children’s teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week with freezing and reheating instructions!
Do you have a recipe that you always double, so you can set a serving aside for later?
I read Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool this weekend. It won the Newbery a few years ago, and the title keeps appearing on book suggestion lists I receive, so I had it in my pile of to-reads. There are multiple characters and flashbacks, so you have to stay on your reading toes (and probably be at least a 6th or 7th grader). It has a style and setting that remind me of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters also came to mind while I read.
The main character, Abilene Tucker, is sent to live with a family friend in a small town during the Depression. The town is chock full of quirky characters who are more interesting to me than Abilene. The minor characters are the reason I like the book. It took several chapters before the story grabbed me, but I loved the twist at the end during the courthouse scene– it was worth the wait.
Moon Over Manifest kick-started a new list of books that are set in small towns with memorable side characters. Do you ever read books and get caught up with the stories of the extra characters more than the protagonist? What other books have great quirky characters?
I hate it when my ideas don’t work. Mr. Star Wars had his 10th birthday yesterday, and he wanted brownies with ice cream on top for his birthday dessert. This was just going to be a family dinner and celebration since we celebrated his birthday with a few friends before school started, but I still did not think that a plain old pan brownie was birthday-y enough, so I hunted down an alternative.
I had seen an idea on Pinterest for brownie cups. They seemed easy enough and upon closer inspection, they even used a boxed brownie mix, which I thought would translate into minimal time and effort.
Make the brownie mix according to the box directions. I think a fudgier brownie mix would work better than the one I used.
Spray with Pam or grease with Crisco the insides of a cupcake tin and across the top of the pan where the brownies will rise over the edge of the cup VERY WELL.
Fill the cupcake tins about 2/3 full with brownie mix.
Spray or grease the bottom of the second cupcake tin VERY WELL and gently rest the second cupcake tin on top of the filled cupcake tin.
Bake brownies according to the box directions. I baked my brownies about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove from the oven and remove the top cupcake tin. I thought it was best to remove while the brownies were still warm, but my brownies stuck to the pans, so I am not sure what to advise on this. I let them cool before lifting the cup out of the bottom cupcake tin after seeing the disaster with the top pan, but the base of the brownies completely stuck to the pan, so I ended up with brownie crumbles and broken brownie cups.
Take whatever brownie pieces you can salvage and put them in the bottom of a bowl.
Top with ice cream. Mr. Star Wars and Miss Priss wanted mint chip. TheRoomDad and I had coffee ice cream. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the ice cream.
Thankfully, broken brownie cups taste just as good as perfect brownie cups. Anyone else want to give this one a try and report back? Is it my cupcake tins that are the problem?