Archive for November, 2010

It’s all Greek

We just finished our Greek Mythology unit in reading. This year my kids got so “into” it. I mean the kids usually  enjoy reading the Storynory version of the Iliad and the Odyssey, but my class this year has been consumed by everything Greek. Percy Jackson and the Olympians is the new most popular book in my library, and I have several boys who can’t get enough of the Greek basket in my library (this basket includes Greek Myths and nonfiction books about Ancient Greece). The other day at pickup, the sky was very ominous looking and it was blustery and drizzly. The student I was taking to the car shouted over the the howling wind, “We must have angered the gods!” Gotta love it!

I usually let my kids try hummus at the end of the Greek mythology unit, but last summer I got really into making my own hummus. Naturally, I decided to make hummus with them instead. This was one of the funniest experiences to date. The kids LOVED it. They wanted to taste and smell everything that I put in the food processor, and one of my girls repeated “This is the best day ever!” over and over again with every ingredient. Here is “Greek Hummus” in pictures:

Everyone wanted to try a garbanzo bean…

Put it all in the food processor

Little bit of lemon…

And we mash em’, we mash em’

A little math problem. We have 5 pitas, there are 18 students and 1 teacher in our class. How many pieces should we cut each pita into?

Eat it! Some kids loved it, some kids hated it, one kid said he liked it, then told me later that he “fake liked it”, whatever that means 🙂

Here is my recipe for Greek Hummus:

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (chick peas)–drained, but reserve liquid
  • A few squirts of lemon juice (about a table spoon)
  • A good shake of salt (maybe a teaspoon or two)
  • A palm full of cumin (1-2 table spoons)
  • 1 heaping spoon full of Tahini
  • 2 cloves of garlic

Put everything together in your food processor and let ‘er whirl. Add some of the bean liquid until you have a smooth consistency. Serve with pita!

**Note: You know how much I love Picasa…here’s another reason! I used the editing program “Picnik” in Picasa online to pixelate my pictures for obvious privacy reasons. You don’t need to a fancy photo editor to make your student pictures Internet friendly!


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It’s a Book!

Today was like Christmas for me… Scholastic book order day! One of the calling cards for a nerdy teacher is having a special warm and fuzzy place in your heart for ordering books from Scholastic, and today there was a very large box waiting for me–like my arms almost fell off carrying the box to my classroom kind of big.

Why the big order? Well if there must be an excuse to buy lots of books, the BFG was a $1 book this month. I went against my promise NOT to buy any more books this year, and ordered a classroom set! Come on, it’s the BFG, as in a Big Friendly Giant! I can’t wait to do a Roald Dahl author study and read this book, the kids are going to eat it up!

And since I was breaking the rules, I went ahead and ordered the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I finished the first book this weekend and I think my kids will like them–they are no Harry Potter mind you, but they are entertaining! And my kids are obsessed with Greek Mythology right now. We have been reading the version of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and they are enthralled by the Greek gods and goddesses. It always amazes me that they are able to follow the complex and “weird” story lines, a little interest and engagement goes a long way! (And to hear them refer to characters with names like “King Agamemnon” and “Menelaus”!)

So while we are on the topic of books, and you know I love educational technology, it makes ya wonder…what will happen to them [books] in the future? I can’t imagine there will every be a day when I won’t get excited about my Scholastic order coming in. “My books are downloaded!” just doesn’t have the same kind of ring to it. With that in mind, I found this funny book trailer today for the book It’s a Book, it kind of sums up my thoughts…enjoy!

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Confessions of a [insert word here] teacher

My friend recently reminded me that she hadn’t heard from “the nerdy teacher” in a while… I wrote back that I might need to change the name of this blog to Confessions of a BUSY Teacher! Whew, the life of a classroom teacher is filled with craziness! So rather than try to “fill you in” on everything that’s happened over the last two months, I’m just going to jump right back in!

Other possible titles for my blog would be “Confessions of a Discouraged Teacher” or “Confessions of a Frustrated Teacher”. I know that you probably don’t read this to hear my complaints, but if I’m going to give a true confession, then I must admit that I am both discouraged and frustrated. We just took our second Writing Benchmark, and my kids did not do as well as I wanted or expected them to! Remember how I was going to switch things up and try doing Writers Workshop? Well apparently the workshop model is not preparing my kids for the standardized test they will have to take. What is a teacher to do?! Confession: My pride has really taken a hit on this one! I hate not being the “best” at things, and my scores do NOT reflect the best writing teacher! This has been keeping me up at night, and causing me a LOT of anxiety.

I don’t have a solution here, I guess that’s why I haven’t been posting, I felt like I needed to solve the problem so I could sum it up in a neat little post. But that’s not how the real world works. As this nerdy teacher figures out how to teach writing so kids don’t hate it AND can pass their writing test, I’ll keep you posted!

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