February 2015 archive

A Healthy Twist on Classic Pancakes

(null)I was making pancake batter one morning, when I realized I was out of eggs. With the batter halfway done, it was too late to settle for Eggo waffles, so I looked for an egg substitute instead. On a whim, I threw in half a banana and hoped it would work. To my surprise, they were delicious – even better than usual! I have been trying to stray away from eating eggs anyways, so I’m really happy this recipe worked out so well. The bananas add more taste, but still maintain the same consistency as “classic” pancakes, and they’re a lot healthier too!

The recipe:

  • 1 cup pancake mix (In the picture I have the buttermilk mix, but I think the original mix tastes much better!)
  • 3/4 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 of a banana (Leave a bit of milk in the measuring cup, then use a spoon to mush the banana. Don’t worry about making it perfectly smooth, it’s good when it’s chunky!)
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Mix it all together, then pour onto a hot skillet coated with butter for quick and delicious pancakes! (P.S. Try topping with Nutella instead of syrup!)

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My Favorite YA Books

Young adult books are a guilty pleasure of mine, and as a sixth grade Language Arts teacher I have the perfect excuse to indulge in as many as I like (I’m researching for my students, obviously). I don’t particularly think there’s anything wrong with reading below your intended reading level (after all, reading is reading), and I love the easy-to-follow story lines when everything else in my life is crazy busy. So, I have compiled a list of my all-time favorites (in no particular order):

1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver I read this about two months ago and I still can’t get over how good it was; Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer. The story is set in future America, where love is considered a deadly disease. It is such an interesting concept, and Lauren Oliver made it all seem so real.

2. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Brunt Carol Rafika It’s not often that a book is able to make 51MDWaEfUiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_me cry, but this one definitely had me in tears. Despite dealing with tough topics, like death and AIDS, it remains a sweet, heartfelt story about friendship and self-love.

3. Looking for Alaska by John Green  It wouldn’t be a young adult book list without John Green (The Fault in Our Stars gets way too much credit). It reminds me a lot of Catcher in the Rye, my all-time favorite book. I loved the way the main character was sort of obsessed with famous last words, and quotes them throughout the book.

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth Of course you need to read Divergent first, but Insurgent is by far the better out of the two (I still haven’t read Allegiant). I found myself17623975 actually gasping out loud several times while reading this; every chapter brought new twists and surprises.

5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman I really love all of Gayle Forman’s books, but Just One Day is my favorite. The story follows Allyson, a girl who always follows the rules, as she takes a chance on a spontaneous trip to Paris…with a guy she just met. Gayle does a wonderful job making an improbable story come to life – and you can’t help but wish you were Allyson (have a pencil nearby to jot down bucket list to-dos!)

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Free Choice RR(L)

I was prepared to feel disillusioned during the month of January (the graph warned me!), but I didn’t realize my students would be in a slump too. Things just feel different in January. The exciting “new year of school” feeling has been long gone and all of the fun holidays have passed. All we are left with is below freezing temperatures and days that get dark way too early. But good news is…February is finally here, bringing us happy Valentine’s Day colors and one month closer to the end of winter!

Okay, back to my point! One week deep in the slump of January, I just couldn’t bring myself to assign an RRL. I knew that if I didn’t feel like reading them, students certainly didn’t feel like writing them (Okay, I’m not delusional. I know students most likely never feel like writing reading response letters, but this week was different). So, I created the Free Choice RR(L) on a whim, and I am so happy with the results! With Free Choice RR(L) students are allowed to create (almost) whatever they want in relation to their book. I gave them a long list of ideas and a few guidelines to follow, and what they created was amazing! I have been noticing more and more how important it is to give students choice; they really respond to it. I will definitely be doing many more of these throughout the year!

The Free Choice RR(L) directions, along with the “classic” RRL directions, can be found on my Teachers Pay Teachers site!

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