“Check Yourselves!”

Check yourselves! Easy as 1-2-3The Trick

Here is a supersimple handy dandy trick that teachers and parents will love. I know we all have our own methods for getting the whole class’s attention– ring a bell, xylophone, Marco-Polo, “If you can hear my voice, clap once…” and so on. That’s cool. If you don’t use any of these, you should try it! It’s great for quickly getting your students’ attention so you can give the next instructions or just move on.

Sometimes, however, we don’t necessarily need to make the kids stop what they’re doing or make an announcement. Sometimes, the class is just antsy or fidgety or chatty or SOMETHING and you just feel this crazy vibe in the room. Maybe it’s the day after Halloween, or maybe it’s nearing the holidays and the air is just bursting with too much excitement and they have trouble concentrating. Or maybe it’s just a normal afternoon, when the students’ focus is off and we’re all ready for an afternoon nap.

Or maybe it’s Friday. Oh, Fridays.

So far, I’ve shared with you ideas on how to get an individual student’s behavior in line using graduated consequences. What I’m about to share is an idea for the times when it’s not one or two or five students, but your whole class that seems to be driving you nuts. It’s simple. Just say these two magical words: Check yourselves! Continue reading

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Recipe

Chocolate-dipped shortbread hearts 1

I have always dreamed of opening my own bakery. It’s probably not going to happen, because in addition to loving baked goods, I also love to sleep, and I hear being a baker + sleeping in are not compatible. Still, I love the idea of making treats and seeing that people would actually be willing to pay money for my stuff. That means they’re not just eating it out of niceness, but because they really LIKE IT!

A few summers ago, I decided to open up a virtual bakery, and I called it Sweet Dreams. Continue reading

A Handy Poster for Consequences

Behavior Check System for Home or Sunday School

A few months ago, I started a series on How to Shape Children’s Behaviorincluding posts on:

This was years of experience and teaching wisdom boiled down to seven posts. I had started off writing these with both teachers and parents in mind, and I think most of the things I shared can be effectively used in the classroom or at home. The rest of this post is written with teachers in mind, but anyone who is looking for a simple poster to use for consequences can just edit this one that I made and use it with clothespins! Just write the child’s name on a clothespin, stick it in the green section, and move it to yellow or red as needed. Continue reading

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Teaching

A Letter to Younger Me

Seems a little strange that I have so much to say about teaching now that I’m not actually in it anymore. I don’t think I had the space and perspective to reflect and think about it all while I was in the thick of it, and I had never really planned to start a blog about food or teaching or anything. Funny how these things happen.

When I resigned, one thing I feared was that I would forget so many good things I learned, if and when I return to the profession. There were all sorts of habits and procedures and tricks I had picked up, and some I’d already forgotten. It would be so unfortunate if I went back to teaching and couldn’t remember them all! I think that’s part of why I spend so much time writing about it here on this blog. As much as it is to share information with others, it is also to preserve my experiences for myself, so someday I might go back and remember what my classroom was like and what made things run well.

I don’t want to return to the job and feel like a new teacher all over again– that was an overwhelming experience. There are some things I do wish I could tell myself, though. So here is a letter to younger me. New teachers, please feel free to peer over her shoulder. Continue reading

Combat Negativity with Thankfulness

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The secret to contentmentMost people who know me think I am a very positive and happy person. Many would never guess how much I tend towards being negative, critical, and judgmental. I loathe this about myself, and it wasn’t until college that I found a very effective way to combat this.

I was at a retreat when the speaker challenged us to write down 10 things we were thankful for every day. That seemed like it was going to get repetitive, fast: shelter, food, family, friends, an education, clothes… I was very much at an 8-year old level when it came to seeing the blessings in my life. But I took on the challenge, and started a blog solely for the purpose of chronicling 10 thankful things I was thankful for every day.

It was amazing. Continue reading

How to Train Your Kids to Start their Homework. On Their Own.

How to get kids to start homework on their ownWouldn’t it be nice if your child came home from school, and then started on their homework in a timely manner… without you having to remind them? With the start of the new school year, this is the perfect time for some tips on how to train your kids to be more responsible and independent, whether that means they regularly:

  • start their homework on their own after school without reminders.
  • practice piano on their own before dinner without reminders.
  • do their nighttime routine on their own before bed without reminders.

Basically, the goal is to build a habit/routine in your child that doesn’t require you to get on their case about it. Sounds nice, right? Here is my guide on how to train your children to develop that independence! Continue reading

A Very Juicy Story

Uber Fresh Juice Yum

Last week, my friend Kevin dropped off several bottles of juices for me to try– what a treat! I felt so spoiled, and thoroughly enjoyed the fact that we were instructed to finish them all within a few days. Normally, I’d spread out such an extravagance over days and days… but hey, I had to follow the “Best by 8/22/14″ sticker, right? So I gulped away, day and night, and drank to my heart’s content. It was GREAT!

Then I finished the last one, and there were no more in my fridge. Continue reading

Uber Fresh Juice and a Giveaway ($79 value)

*8/28/2014 UPDATE: Congrats to Teresa A., winner of the giveaway! Thanks, all for your participation!*Uber Fresh GiveawayCalifornia Dreamin’

I live in California. There’s a lot to love, from the weather to the diversity to the FOOD! The food, my friends. The food. And it’s not just me– these people agree that when it comes to food, California is tough to beat! I was particularly impressed to learn that California produces half the nation’s supply of fruits, vegetables, and nuts! WOW! That makes the whole “eating local and fresh” thing so much more enticing!

I’m sure you’ve heard it before: eat organic, eat local, eat fresh. It’s not just for hippies or hipsters anymore– groceries stores everywhere are reflecting the increasing demand for fresh, local, and organic products. I can get behind that. And so can a lot of other people, apparently. For example, over the last few years, I’ve been hearing more and more about juice bars: cafés serving freshly prepared fruit juices. It’s a thing. And why not? There are few things more satisfying than sipping exquisitely fresh, tasty, and healthy juice!

I have a feeling most of my readers are not from California, though. Wouldn’t it be nice to get some fresh-pressed, made-to-order, organic, locally-sourced, raw, California-sunshined juice delivered to your doorstep… tomorrow?  Continue reading

Mango Coconut Drink Recipe

refreshing mango coconut drink

I’ve been waiting ALL SUMMER to share this recipe with you. This is definitely on Ben’s favorite list. (Dakota, you are your husband is gonna love this one!) I have been eyeing every pile of mangoes I’ve come across since May, but the stores have yet to produce the perfumed mangoes I’ve been holding out for… so I finally just bought one and have been patiently waiting for this guy to ripen:

Before transformation

Today, I decided he was ready. Ready for bigger and better things. Ready to be transformed into something amazing:

Mango coconut drink recipe

This mango-coconut drink. YUM.

If you’ve been to Hong Kong, chances are you’ve hit up the famous dessert place Hui Lau Shan at some point  Continue reading