An Alternative (and Easier) System of Consequences

Another system of consequences 1

I’m a firm believer in consequences. Children should know that certain undesirable behaviors will result in consequences, and well, you can read my detailed thoughts on that topic here.

Have you read that post? Because if you have, then you’ll probably agree with me that it’s pretty long, and not the easiest thing to implement. I really do believe it can be extremely effective, but it takes a thoughtful plan and a lot of consistency, and I’ll be the first to admit that consistency can be hard!

Maybe you’ve been with me for a while and you read that post back in May, and now it’s July, and you’re thinking, “Oh man. I totally meant to try it, but… well, the end of the school year came… and graduations… and summer camps… and Grandma’s… and vacation and… ah what summer is half over?! It takes too much planning and now it’s too late…”

No, no, my friend. It is not too late.

Maybe that was too big of a project and you weren’t ready to commit to something so involved. Okay, no problem. I am still all for the cause of parents training their children up, so I have an easier alternative for you. It is still very effective (I wouldn’t share it otherwise!), and I’m honestly not sure why I didn’t share it with you sooner. Maybe because that post was already 23 pages (…size 12. Times New Roman font. Without the pictures. Yeahforreal.). Continue reading

Math Game: “42″

42 Round 3

This is a simple addition game called 42. It’s great for younger and older kids, and again, offers opportunity to dig deeper and think about adding and subtracting in a fun way! While it seems very simple at first, it actually gives opportunity for rather complex thinking and many mental math calculations.

I recently shared some of these math games with a neighbor, and she said she couldn’t really figure out one of the games just by reading the directions on my blog. It got me thinking that I should probably just make videos of me teaching/playing them. Personally, even I don’t like reading through instructions to learn a game and would much rather have someone just show me. So I’ll try to go back and add videos for the last three games I posted (in addition to making videos for the future games). Here’s the first!

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Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Peanut Butter and Banana Pops!

Frozen PB and Banana Pops Recipe

Yeah, I totally just added “breakfast” as one of the categories for this treat… and why not? Peanut butter? Bananas?? Sounds like 2/3 of a complete breakfast to me!

This is a similar concept to the chocolate-dipped frozen bananas concept I posted yesterday, but smaller, cuter, and stuffed with peanut butter! I also made my own “magic shell” this time with chocolate chips and a little bit of coconut oil. Overall, it’s a little more work, but it makes a much prettier result, don’t you think?

Frozen PB and Banana Pops, Pipe some PB

Slice bananas and pipe some PB onto half of them. I find a piping bag quicker, cleaner, and easier than spreading peanut butter on with a butter knife. Of course, a butter knife totally works! Continue reading

Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Bananas Recipe

Frozen Bananas Yum Yum

Frozen Bananas. The very thought of them makes me feel summer sunshine, vacation, and strolls near Laguna Beach. They always felt like a splurge, but never one that I regretted. They are incredibly easy to make, though, so no need to splurge! Now you can bring this carnival treat home to share with your friends!

I wonder if this is a SoCal thing, because when I made these for my NorCal friends, most of them had never heard of it before. Regardless of where you live, they’re a tasty summer treat and really easy to make. As an added bonus, kids will have a lot of fun poking, dipping, and eating these as well! Not to mention that they’re pretty healthy for you– bananas, nuts, and a leeeetle bit of chocolate. What’s not to love?

There are only three ingredients:

Frozen Bananas Continue reading

Math Game: Target Number

This game is from Mr. Bailey, one of my mentor teachers from my credential days. I still remember him teaching it to me during one of our lunch breaks, with his hand full of dice. I was skeptical at first, because I had never really played “math games,” but then I started to really get into it! Like, I spent the rest of my lunch break trying to make math expressions. Just for fun. Yeah, really.

Math Game Target Number

It was in this sixth grade classroom that I first saw what a great tool a good math game could be to help kids have an enjoyable time practicing math! I love this game because it really pushes kids to think mathematically in different ways. I suppose it can be used for kids who only have addition and subtraction under their belts, but it is probably most challenging and fun for kids who have learned the order of operations: PEMDAS, anyone?

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Whiteboards for the Win

Whiteboards are an Easy and Effective Tool for Kids

I have yet to find a kid that does not love writing on a whiteboard.

Whiteboards for the Win!

Heck, even most adults find it kind of cool. At least, I do… even after nearly a decade of writing on them for my day job.

Ask kids to do a math problem on a sheet of paper with a pencil, and it may feel like a chore. Have them copy the exact same problem on their whiteboard, and suddenly there is an air of excitement and motivation. Maybe it’s the safety of not having to commit their thoughts to something as permanent as paper. Maybe it’s the excitement of writing on a whiteboard the way the teacher does in the classroom. Maybe it feels more like drawing than working. Maybe they just like the smell of the marker… who knows.

What I do know is that whenever I said, “Take out your whiteboards,” there was a collective sprinkle of “YES!” echoing around the room. Day after day, no matter what subject. And it’s not like I rarely used them… we used them all the time: daily for math, frequently for spelling, and oftentimes for other subjects. Still, whenever I said those magic words, the kids were raring to go, ready to write in a way that would make paper and pencil envious. Continue reading

My Dad’s Succulent Baby Back Ribs

Succulent Hoisin Ribs RecipeMy dad is an amazing cook. He’s the kind of cook who bikes to the farmer’s market, picks out what looks fresh, and picks up quality meats to go with his food. Organic, wild, etc. He rarely uses recipes, and is the legit kind of cook who just does what looks right and feels right. This is great for him, but not so great for me, because when I try to get recipes from him, his measurements are approximate and instructions general. It’s a rare feat that I actually have a recipe from the man with numbers and measurements so I can attempt it on my own.

But I have at least one. And it’s a really good one. Tasty, simple, and little prep. One of those perfect recipes that you’ll find yourself going back to whenever you feel like eating something tender and meaty but don’t want to do much cooking.

This recipe is for my dad’s baby back ribs. They are so, so good, and I would have never guessed the secret ingredient in a million years, so it’s a good thing I now have this one written down for posterity! Continue reading

Closest to 100 - Math game to practice addition!

Math Game: Closest to 100

Closest to 100 - Math game to practice addition!

This is a fun and simple game that lends itself to a variety of math topics, including 1- and 2-digit addition, place value, absolute value, and negative numbers. It’s great for practicing mental math and combinations to make 10. It also provides many great opportunities to have math talks to discuss strategy. My students love this game. It’s easy to learn, there’s no time pressure, and it’s not as directly competitive as other games can be, which helps some students thrive more.


Delicious and Refreshing Caffeine-Free Iced Tea Recipe

Delicious and Refreshing Caffeine-Free Iced Tea Recipe

There’s not much of a story on this one. I saw a recipe, tried it, liked it, and make it all the time now. So I’m keeping it simple today.

Five reasons you want to try this iced tea:

1) It’s sweetened with APPLE JUICE! What a great idea!

Delicious and Refreshing Caffeine-Free Iced Tea Recipe 1

If you’re trying to kick the caffeine habit like me, this is a major plus!

Delicious and Refreshing Caffeine-Free Iced Tea Recipe 5 Continue reading

Math Game: Tic-Tac-Toe Products

I am very pleased to present the game of Tic-Tac-Toe Products:

Tic Tac Toe Products Move 1

This is a really fun game which also happens to review multiplication facts! It’s one of my favorite math games to teach and play with my students. It’s super simple, and kids can play several rounds of this without noticing the time passing! Like most of the games I will share, it’s also very portable. If your child has learned their multiplication facts, you should really give it a go! Fun for the whole family.

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