Miss Priss has been on a cooking bender. I think she fancies herself a future Chopped Junior contestant. I was getting tired of monitoring the kitchen with her, so we moved over to no-bake recipes. I don’t have to be by her side the whole time, and she still experiences all of the joys of cooking. She is also gaining measuring skills, the ability to read and follow directions, and learning how to clean up after herself (my favorite side benefit). She has no idea she is actually learning these valuable skills, and I am not planning on revealing this little secret.
The best recipe she has made so far is a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream bar. I found the original recipe and directions HERE. I helped cut the parchment paper to the correct size, and I licked the bowl, but other than that, I had no involvement.
- Prepare the eggless cookie dough batter (CLICK HERE for recipe).
- Line a 9 x 9 pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper strips. Put one strip horizontally across the pan and the other strip vertically. The ends of the strip should hang over the edges of the pan. This will allow you to lift the frozen cookie dough out of the pan later.
- Press half of the cookie dough into a thin layer on the bottom of the parchment paper lined pan.
- Put two new strips of parchment paper over the layer of cookie dough and gently press and smooth the paper. Spray lightly with Pam or another cooking spray.
- Press the other half of the cookie dough on the second layer of parchment paper into a thin layer.
- Fold the parchment over the top and put a weight on top to hold the parchment paper down (you could use a tupperware/bag of dried beans, bag of frozen vegetables, or something else in your freezer).
- Freeze for 2-3 hours.
- Gently remove frozen cookie dough layers from the pan and peel from the paper.
- Put two of the strips of parchment back in the pan and gently place one cookie dough block back on the paper in the pan.
- Gently spread one quart of softened ice cream over the cookie dough base.
- Place the second cookie dough block on top of the ice cream.
- Cover with a strip of parchment. Place a weight on top (dried beans or bag of frozen vegetables again) and put back in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
- To serve, lift the cookie bars out of the pan using the bottom layer of parchment paper as a handle. Cut into squares with a sharp knife. Running the knife under hot water before using it to cut will help make slicing easier. OK– so I helped with this step too, and the cookie dough “crust” breaks very easily.
Reasons to Cook with Kids
- Math skills– fractions, adding, dividing, proportions…
- Science skills– heat and temperature, changing states of matter
- Procedures and directions– following step by step directions and seeing the cause and effect if you go out of order (or stay in the order of the recipe), developing patience and waiting for results
- Reading– recognizing and reading a recipe format as compared to non-fiction text or chapter books
- Screen free– no devices required
most all teachers do over the summer, I have been tinkering with student materials (when I should be catching up with missed doctors’ appointments and bathroom cleaning and dog hair vacuuming– or even enjoying a day at the pool). I want a student-made dictionary style resource for commonly misspelled words for my students next year. Ideally, the spelling notes will be in some kind of individual booklet that each student could add to all year. I may have found a solution– a sturdy little mini foldable booklet.
I called in my temp help to see if the booklets would work, and team RoomMom has been printing, cutting, folding, and testing all day.
- 8 1/2″ x 11″ white cardstock OR 4×6 notecards
- rubberband (medium sized)
- paper cutter with ruler guidelines
- If you are using an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of cardstock, cut it in half horizontally and vertically, so you have 4 pieces of cardstock that are 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″. Fold each piece of cardstock in half the “hamburger” way making sure the corners line up neatly. That means the 5 1/2″ side would be folded. Press down firmly along the fold.
- If you are using notecards, fold 2+ notecards in half the “hamburger” way making sure the corners line up neatly. That means the 6″ side would be folded. Press down firmly along the fold.
- Once each card is folded, stack the cards on top of each other lining them up evenly. I think 3-4 cards is about the right amount for each booklet. You can use a combination of notecards and cardstock. ** Make sure your sizes match if you are mixing cardstock and notecards.
- Following the center fold, cut a 1/2″ notch from the top and bottom edge of the stack of cards.
- Wrap a rubberband around the stack of cards. Have the rubberband sit down into the cut sections of paper to act as the mini book binding. If the rubberband is too tight and pulling on the paper, cut your notches a little deeper.
- Decorate the cover and add notes, drawings, information, doodles… to each page of the booklet.
- I set up a template in Word and inserted the spelling information I needed. I printed front and back, cut down the paper, and folded the pieces into the booklet. There is space for students to add additional notes, but they will each have a starter booklet.
- Mr. Star Wars wrote a personal narrative about our trip to North Carolina last summer. Using the Word document template, we inserted pictures and printed the pages (it takes a little spatial thinking to get your pictures on the pages in the order you want when you assemble the booklet). He handwrote the story using the printed pictures as enhancement. This would be a great back to school activity. Students could use a blank booklet and write and illustrate a story about something they did over the summer. You could also use the booklet as a way to assess summer reading by having students create a book review in a mini book.
- Miss Priss used her booklet to report facts about elephants. This was an end of year project for her. She took her researched information, grouped it by topic, and wrote bulleted facts on each page.
The spelling mini book template with pre-printed notes for 31 tricky words like there, their, and they’re is now available in my Commonly Misspelled Words product at my teacher store. CLICK HERE to purchase.
Summer is here and that means I can catch up with my kid lit book pile. To start this summer, I picked up a few books that were rereads for me. Rereading is a great activity for readers because it builds fluency and gives the reader a chance to glean more (and different ideas) from a story, and it builds stronger connections. It also has the benefit of helping you get through any book mourning you may experience when you don’t want a special book to end.
Two books that started my summer reading binge are books that have Native American settings, The Birchbark House and Morning Girl. I had not read either book in several years, but one of the reasons I wanted to reread them is because they have characters who make everything they need to live from scratch. I love the scenes in the story where the author describes the procedures for building a house or hunting for food or making clothing. If you like Little House on the Prairie because of the parts where Laura and her family build a cabin or gather maple syrup, you will enjoy these stories too. I should probably focus more on the results of white settlers claiming American Indian land and the destructive impact it had on these groups. The books include recognition of that topic too. I happen to like the parts that show self-reliance the best since the other parts are so sad.
- The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
- Morning Girl by Michael Dorris
- Guests by Michael Dorris
- The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
- Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
- The Talking Earth by Jean Craighead George
- Far North by Will Hobbs
- Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski
- The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
- Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears by Cornelia Cornelissen
- When the Legend Dies by Hal Borland (7th grade+)
- Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen (7th grade+)
- A Man Called Horse by Dorothy M. Johnson (7th grade+)
- The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin
- The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
- Buffalo Woman by Paul Goble
- The Desert is Theirs by Byrd Baylor
There were many more recommendations on THIS AICL WEBSITE dedicated to American Indians in children’s literature.
For more summer reading ideas, my teacher blogger friend, Amy, has posted a new Hidden Gem book that you might not find on your own. CLICK HERE to read her latest recommendation.
A new gourmet olive oil shop opened in town, and I had two sweet students bring me bottles of balsamic vinegar and olive oil at the end of the school year. The olive oil is that really good kind that tastes good all by itself with crusty bread dipped in it, which was my main plan until we needed a side dish for TheRoomDad’s latest grilling adventures. I whipped together an easy tortellini pasta salad that is delicious and summery and excellent with steak.
- 1 family sized package cheese tortellini (~1 lb)
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar
- 1 T. kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 handful baby arugula
- 1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded (or to taste)
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add a little drizzle of olive oil to the pasta and toss gently to keep the tortellini from sticking together and let cool slightly.
- In a separate dish, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper.
- In the bowl with the tortellini, add crumbled bacon, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and dressing. Toss well until the tortellini is coated with dressing. The arugula will wilt slightly.
- Sprinkle Parmesan on top before serving.
- Serve at room temperature.
- I have not officially tested this, but I think the pasta salad would travel well to tailgates and potlucks and could be refrigerated.