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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Erin Condren Teacher Planner!

Hi friends,

For as long as I can remember I have been ridiculously obsessed with finding the perfect planner. Sometimes I would go through two or three a year because I would find a new one (usually at Target) that I had to have. Well, that all changed last year when my always amazing mentor teacher (http://appleslices4th.blogspot.com) told me about Erin Condren....

I don't know how many of you out there have heard of Erin Condren, but if you haven't, go to ErinCondren.com right now! She has the best teacher planners ever. And you can customize and stylize them in so many different ways. I ordered mine back in May because they were having a teacher appreciation sale... and I honestly couldn't wait a second longer. I also got the matching notepads that you can add to your order and then I ordered even MORE notepads! Agh! I'm obsessed! 

Here is a picture of the front cover of the teacher planner that I chose. I was so excited to put my school's name on it. Eeek! My first year of teaching is getting so close!


They added tabs to all of the planners this year. 


The front of the teacher planners have important dates to remember throughout the year. 


Here is an absent log that you could use to record student absences. I used mine for an extra checklist. 


This is a great graph to use to draw out your seating-chart. So cute and useful!


This Year at a Glance calendar is great for long-term planning. 


There are monthly calendars for important dates each month. I think I will use mine for meetings, conferences, field trips, etc. 


And the best part... The weekly pages for lesson planning. I have been working on outlining my first week of school already. I know it will probably change, and I'm note even entirely sure of my schedule yet, but I seriously couldn't help myself! 


There are also student checklists pages. It could be used for a grade book, but towards the end of the year my mentor teacher started using it to keep track of permission slips and papers that we needed returned and it was perfect for this purpose.  


I take random notes on these pages all the time. 


There are also these great stickers (per-filled and some for you to fill in yourself). There are stickers for assemblies, IEP meetings, duty, staff meetings, furlough days, holidays, reminders, benchmark, testing, conferences, library, field trip, and then blank stickers. 


 The cute Keep it Together folder at the end is great for stuffing papers into when there is just no place else to put them :). 


These are the matching notepads I ordered and I already use them for everything. 


And finally, these are the extra notepad that I HAD to have. Aren't they just so teachery? :) 


I just had to share. I hope you enjoyed!

~Martina

Monday, July 22, 2013

Panko-Crusted Cod With Tomato-Basil Relish... Yum!

Hi teacher and/or cooking friends,

I got this delicious cod recipe from a Cooking Light recipe. It tasted as beautiful as it looked. 


Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 4 (6-ounce) cod filets
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup of sliced sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Place egg whites in a dish; place panko in another dish 
  3. Dip the fish into the egg whites; sprinkle the fish with salt, and then dredge in panko
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat
  5. Add fish to pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side until browned or very crispy.
  6. Then place fish in the oven.
  7. Bake fish for 7 minutes at 450 degrees
  8. Serve with the tomato-basil relish
Note: I made mine with roasted asparagus that I just coated with olive oil and salt and pepper. I baked it in the oven while I was preparing and cooking the fish.

Enjoy!

~Martina 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Summer Grilling in Colorado

Hi teacher and/or cooking friends,

Tonight my husband and I made some yummy chicken and steak kabobs on our grill. We didn't really know how much it would make once we got all the vegetables and meat on there, but needless to say, we will be eating kabob leftovers for awhile :).


Happy Summer Night,

~Martina

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fun in Fifth Grade {Writing Prompts Fan}

Hi there friends,

The start of the school year is getting so close and I have been getting the teacher bug lately. My brain has been going crazy thinking about all the stuff I am going to need (especially being a first year teacher). My brain has also been thinking about how much I struggle with writing. I grew to love it much more this last year, because of my A-MAZE-ING mentor teacher, but there are days where I just have teacher's writer' block and just don't know what to do.

Soooooo..... I decided to make some writing resources to help myself out. My first finished resource is a writing prompt fan. I think this will be perfect for my 5th grader learners who just can't think about what to write about during writer's workshop. It even made me excited about writing because I included a Fantasy category. I have been obsessed (and I mean OBSESSED) with Harry Potter lately so this particular group of prompts was right up my alley.

There are 125+ writing prompts that can be cut out, laminated, and fastened together to create a writing prompt fan. So fun, cute, and practical!

Here is a small preview of each category and some corresponding prompts. Be sure to click on any of the images below to check out the product in my TPT store!












Have a great rest of the week!

~Martina

Steak Roll-Ups and Baked Fries


Hi teacher and/or cooking friends,

I said I was going to try and post my meals for the week. Here are my balsamic glazed steak roll-ups with baked french fries. Yum!

Here is a link that gives you the picture-by-picture instructions and I have included my recipe and instructions below as well. 





Balsamic Glazed Steak Roll-Ups
Ingredients: (makes 8-10 rolls)
* 1 1/2 – 2 lb skirt steak/ 8-10 thin sliced sirloin
* Salt & Pepper (according to taste)
* 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tbsp olive oil

For the Veggie filling 
* 1 carrot
* 1 bundle of asparagus
* 1 red onion
* 2 cloves of garlic
* 1 tsp italian herb seasoning

For the Balsamic glaze sauce
* 2 tsp butter
* 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 2 tbsp brown sugar
* 1/4 cup beef broth

Cooking Methods: 
-Start out by prepping the steak. I made about 8 strips.

-Season the steak with salt, pepper and worcestershire sauce. Then put the steak in marinade. It only HAS to marinade for 30 minutes, but I was on my A-Game that day and made it in the morning so it could marinade all day.

-While the steak is marinating, cut up the carrots, onion, and asparagus into tiny matchstick size pieces. (You really could use any variety of vegetables you want, but those are the vegetable my husband and I prefer). simply peel and chop up the garlic clove.
The Sauce

- Heat a medium pan over medium heat and start melting the butter.

-Add the shallots and sauté them until they turn soft and translucent. 

-Next add the brown sugar, vinegar, and beef sock and mix everything together well. 

-Cook the sauce until it comes to a boil, until it has reduced to about half of its original volume. The sauce will start to become thicker. When this happens, turn of the heat and put your sauce in a bowl.

-In the same pan put a splash of olive oil, the chopped garlic, and sliced vegetables and sauté them for 2-3 minutes, just to soften them a little. Then turn the heat off and begin assembling your steak rolls.

-To assemble the steak tools place the desired amount of vegetables in each strip of steak and then roll them up and stick them with a toothpick. 

-Heat your skillet up again (medium high heat) and add a touch of oil to coat the bottom of your pan. When the pan is hot add the beef roll-ups seam-side down. Cook each side of the roll to your desired doneness.

-Serve the steak roll-ups with the balsamic glaze spooned over each roll. 

-Served mine with baked fries that I just tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper. I baked them at 400 for about 25-30 minutes. 

Enjoy!

~Martina 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Goat Cheese Salad

Hi teacher and/or cooking friends,

My husband was gone tonight so I decided to make something that I knew he would never want to eat. He is not a fan of goat cheese, but I love it, so tonight I made a goat cheese salad. 

I just use some mixed greens and then added tomatoes, slivered almonds, and some super rich and creamy goat cheese. I topped it all off with a lemon vinaigrette. So yummy. 

Enjoy!

~Martina

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fish Tacos.... SO Easy!

Hi teacher and/or cooking friends,

Tonight I made SUPER easy fish tacos. This meal could easily be altered to use chicken, beef, or whatever your heart desires.




Ingredients (Makes 4 servings) :

-12-16 ounces of tilapia (or whatever kind of meat you want)
-8 corn tortillas
-2 large tomatoes
-1 jalapeño
-1 small white onion
-1 avocado
-1 lime
-1 handful of fresh cilantro
-Salt to taste
-Cumin (or whatever type of seasoning you would like)

Cooking methods:

Salsa
-Chop your tomato, onion, and avocado into small cubes.
-Next chop your jalapeño into very small pieces
-Next finely chop your head of cilantro
-Mix the onion, tomato, avocado, jalapeño, and cilantro in a bowl. Add the juice of the lime and add salt to taste. Set aside.

Fish
-Start out by cutting your choice of meat into cubes.
-Next, season your choice of meat with your seasoning. I used cumin on my tilapia.
-Put a splash of vegetable oil into a pan on medium heat and cook your meat to your desired done-ness. Yeah that's it. So easy to cook.

-Add the fish to your corn tortillas and top with salsa. Use the extra salsa for some tortilla chips.



It's so easy, beautiful, and there are just so many yummy fresh ingredients!

Enjoy!

~Martina 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Hungry Teacher

I looooooove cooking and usually cook dinner for my husband and I five to six nights a week. Sometimes I even impress myself with some of my crazy recipes I decide to try out. 

I really have been cooking my whole life because of my parents and grandparents. I have learned two very different kinds of cooking because of my parents and how they were raised and taught to cook. 

My dad is Italian and my Nane is your typical amazing Italian cook. This woman can make a meal for 47 people in a matter of minutes. I honestly don't know how she does it, because I have been to her house when she isn't there and I can't find a s.i.n.g.l.e. thing to make for myself. It's seriously like she creates meals with some kind of italian magic that I'm not aware of.

Over the years my dad has picked up some of my Nane's amazing cooking skills along the way. He isn't really the type to make homemade gnocci or bread, but I learned everything about homemade marinara sauce from him and he has an amazing ability to create things (like Nane), which is why he has the best green chile ever. Mine never comes out as good as his, and my attempts at homemade pasta and bread, and especially gnocchi, never come out like my Nane's. 

Here are some pictures of me attempting to be the great italian cook I aspire to be. I usually attempt these types of recipes on a Saturday or Sunday when I know I will have a lot of time to figure out what I'm doing. The other day my friend, Erin, asked me if making homemade pasta is easy and my exact words were, "Making homemade pasta is easy. Making good homemade pasta? Not as easy." My husband loved it, but I just kept thinking of how it wasn't anything like Nane's. Oh well, I guess I will just have to keep practicing. 



This is the homemade bread I made.  It wasn't quite like my Nane's, but it was pretty good for a first try.



This is a picture of my beautiful red kitchenaide mixer that my wonderful Godmother got me for a wedding present. I love it and it made making bread soooo much easier. I use it for everything and it's just so beautiful in my kitchen. Thank Aunt Pam! :)


I have talked a lot about my dad and his mom, but my mom and grandma have given me a whole different set of cooking skills. My mom is seriously superwomen. No.... seriously.... For as long as I can remember, my mom has always had amazing dinners for us to eat. Not to mention that she has done this while being the vice-president of a bank and having four kids who were 2-4 sport athletes their whole lives. My dad can cook, but it was really always my mom who was making dinner for six to seven people most nights of the week. Being the superwomen that she is, I don't really know how she did it either. We always had a large variety of meals and they were always ready within minutes of us being home. 

I think my mom got her cooking abilities for her mom as well. My grandma doesn't really cook much anymore because it's just her, I do know that she used to cook three meals a day for a for her four kids and husband, and also for all the farm hands that would have been on their farm on any given day. They both are extremely practical and resourceful with the meals they make, and extremely good at making meals balanced. I think this is really where I got my ability to cook. I am still learning to cook those complicated italian meals, but I have learned a lot from my grandma and mom in making meals that work for the average person (ya know, the ones who haven't perfected a three-day marinara or know how to make homemade gnocchi just from the way it feels in their hands). 

These are meals I have made just on a regular weekday night for my husband and I.

There are times when we make this meal every week. We just put a little olive oil and some lemon slices on some salmon, wrap it in foil and bake it in the oven at 350. Then we just put salt, pepper, and olive oil on a pan and roast it all while we make some boil-in-a-bag brown rice. It's so easy, and so delicious. 

I know I rambled on and on about cooking, but I love it. It's really like my therapy after a long day at work. I hope I can continue to show you my love of cooking and inspire you to try things out of your (and my) comfort zone.... like that homemade gnocchi :). 

 My goal is to post all my meals I make this week. Fingers crossed!

~Martina          

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Division Scavenger Hunt In Summer School


Hi friends!

I created a Division Scavenger Hunt Game after reading an article about how boys need a whole different kind of learning environment to be successful. Here is a link to the article if you are interested:


Anyways, it basically goes into how boys really need to keep moving and how competitions aren’t such a bad idea either. While teaching summer school I had 9 boys and 2 girls so I have been working hard to keep them interested and this idea came to mind and the kids loved it. 

Head over to my TeachersPayTeachers store and check it out if you need to keep some of your squirmy boys moving. 


I created clues that were relevant to my school but I left it in a powerpoint format so you can edit as needed:

I set it up so the students get a clue from me each time they solve a division problem, that way I can check their work.

For example, I will give them the clue that leads them to the cafeteria and they will find a division problem there.

Then they have to solve their problem with their partners or groups. Once they solve it, they come back to me, I check their work, and then give them the next clue.

The next clue will then lead them to the next room with the next division problem and the pattern continues until the final clue leads them back to me where they have to solve their final challenge problem and/or work on some other division activity until all groups finish. 

Here are some pictures of my 5th and 6th grade summer school students playing my Division Scavenger Hunt:




The clue in the computer lab. Most of the clues are matched up with problems that have to do with that particular room in the school. The clue on the principals office was about the him giving them 8 scoops of ice cream each and they about convinced him to do it too! 
 Trying to figure out which Harry Potter book the clue is hidden in. It was good practice using the library too!

Figuring out the division problem. 


The second group looking for clues in the library. 



 Trying to figure out the the division problem and clues in the cafeteria. 





We had a lot of fun running around the school figuring out clues and solving division problems. I even had one boy (who usually isn't a fan of anything involving the word division) shout out, "This is awesome. I love division like this!" My principal thought it was great that our kids in summer school got to move around while doing some math too.

Thanks for reading!

Have a great rest of your Sunday.


~Martina

Monday, July 1, 2013

Frog and Worm Dissections

Ok, so.......... I'm super duper late on posting about the dissections we did in 5th grade this year, but I have these legitimately awesome pictures that I HAD to share with you all!
Enjoy!

 The kids working hard on dissecting their worms. They are so focused on those worms!


 If you look closely you can see all the hearts inside the worm. The kids did a great job of not ruining their organs. 


 And now.... the frogs. The frogs were a really amazing learning experience. You should have seen these kids discovering and identifying all the different organs inside these little guys. 




Soem of our students will able to take their stomachs out and then open their stomach to see the villi. 


 One of our students, who thinks he wants to be a doctor, started to go inside of the frogs legs to get a better look at its leg muscles. 





Some of our students discovered that there were still some food contents inside the frogs' stomachs. These students found some flies inside one frog's stomach. 


My adorable and amazing mentor teacher (well, and best friend :) just holding a bag of frogs :) 


 The frogs before we dissected them,

I hope you enjoyed our dissections as much as we did!

Love, Martina