Saturday, March 23, 2013

Field Trip to Boston!

Now that I'm finally teaching US History this semester at my new school, it was the perfect time to plan my annual field trip to Boston!  For the last 7 years, I've taken 50 students on a day trip to walk the Freedom Trail, have lunch at Quincy Market, and tour the USS Constitution. We are only 2 hours from Boston so it's an easy trip for one day.

The Freedom Trail is comprised of numerous historic sites in the city of Boston, highlighting Boston's Puritan and Revolutionary past. For school groups, costumed 'Colonial' guides take students on a 90-minute walking tour on part of the Freedom Trail, interacting with the students and telling stories/historic information at each stop.  I've requested one guide in particular, Jeremiah Poope, for the last several years because he holds the attention of my students by using humor throughout his stories!
We get to have lunch and do some shopping for about an hour in historic Quincy Market. The kids love walking around to the shops and eating at one of the MANY food court choices! I indulged in a delectable cannoli!! If you are in Boston you should go to Mike's Pastry in the North End (which is the Italian section of Beantown) who are renowned for their cannolies!

While I prefer to spend my money on fine baked goodies, my teenage students have other items in mind...Please note the 'horse heads' and 'giant box of Nerds' in the picture below...
Both fine souvenirs of Boston for sure! Ha ha! They never cease to amuse me! Finally, we ended our trip by touring the USS Constitution, which is the world's oldest warship still afloat. The ship was used in battle during the War of 1812. Free tours of the ship are given by active duty members of the US Navy. The students enjoy walking around and hearing about what it was like aboard ship!

A little tip for all you teachers out a TracFone for field trips (my school reimbursed and other teachers use it, too)! Essentially you pay about $20 for the phone itself and then you can buy cards with prepaid minutes. This way you can give the students the cell number for the 'field trip phone' and they can call you if they need you without calling your personal cell number! Gives me peace of mind while they are walking around during lunch and on the tour!  We had a great time on this trip, for sure!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIWW: St. Patrick's Day

Last weekend I went to a St. Patrick's Day party at the home of one of my coworkers. It was really fun to hang out with and get to know people outside of school! I wore my best green accessories...

Emerald colored sweater is from Kohls, boots are from DSW, skinny jeans are from Delias, necklace from Forever 21, socks...maybe WalMart? And the best green accessory of all, my eyes, are from my dad's side of the family! Linking up for What I Wore Wednesday over at The Pleated Poppy!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Apple Nachos

Have you seen pictures of apple nachos all over the interweb? Have you tried them? No? 
Run right out and buy some 'fixins' and whip up this quick and easy snack!

  I pinned the idea from this site and then went to town with toppings I already had in my pantry. I used Macintosh apples because they are my favorite, sliced thinly and layered on a plate. 

Then I drizzled the apples with caramel sundae sauce, followed by coconut flakes, chopped walnuts, and chocolate chips! Sooooo yummy and sooooo easy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday

Once again I'm linking up to The Pleated Poppy for WIWW! 

This week's outfit is rather 'hipsterish'...

On this day I went for a walk and had lunch down in Portland's Old Port with a friend...a nice day but still a bit chilly, hence the hat, scarf, and vest! Of course I had to wear my classic and trusty Bean Boots, as part of our walk was through melted snow and mud... they are an essential in every Maine girl's wardrobe and are definitely making a comeback amongst the teenage set as I can't walk down the halls at school without seeing the skinny jean/Bean Boot combo!

Oh and to prove I do dress up during the week...
Super fun giraffe print tights from Target paired with a leopard print cardi from GAP! Roar!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Organization Ideas for the Traveling Teacher

Thanks to our mid-term week schedule back in January, I had a bit of extra time to 'reset' and organize my class materials before the start of the new semester. I started by printing labels for all of my binders and organized all of my curriculum materials by category...

Classroom Organization Ideas for the Traveling Teacher

This year I started teaching at a new school and am a traveling teacher, which means I teach in 4 different rooms around the school.  I knew this was a possibility since I am the 'low teacher on the totem pole' and, after having my own classroom for almost 8 years, not having my own space has been an adjustment.

Enter THE CART...

This is what I use to travel from place to's really a kitchen utility cart that I purchased from Amazon last summer but it works well moving from place to place.  It's taken a couple months for me to organize it in a functional way.

The green boxes are actually up cycled paper box tops that I got from the office after a paper delivery. I spray painted each box top with a fun bright green color. They fit nicely in the cart to hold extra copies of papers, etc. On the middle shelf, I've also added some plastic storage containers purchased at the local Dollar Store.

Another organizational idea is gluing a strip of scrapbook paper around a clean, empty can of vegetables that would otherwise be relegated to the recycling bin! I have two cans, one for our class participation popsicle sticks, and the other to hold pens, pencils, scissors, etc.

Because I teach in several places, I needed a way to keep all of my papers in one place. I've implemented some really great organizational ideas from this teacher's blog, starting with purchasing a black plastic bin from Target that fits nicely on the cart as well as some hanging file folders...

The blue folders are each labeled with one of five class periods and are for students to check for work they may have missed if they were absent. I make sure to put their names on any papers that were handed out when they were gone and then place it immediately into the appropriate folder. At the start of class, students are to come up and check the bin for their work.

The red folders are for any work that has been passed in and needs to be graded for each class (red means ' must grade' ha ha!) and then green folders are for work that has already been graded and can be passed back (green means 'go'!). Then I have yellow folders for late work, quizzes and assessments that absent students need to come in and take, emergency procedures, and any handouts that need to go out to my homeroom students.

So far this method of organization has worked really well and it's easy for me to take the bin with me wherever I go!  What have you organized lately?

For more tips on classroom organization, check out this post about managing workflow and paperwork in the secondary classroom!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Freezer Meal Idea & Free Printable

One of my friends on Facebook recently posted a request for freezer meals (or really anything that could be of help) for one of her friends who has three young kids, is pregnant with her fourth, and has been put on bed rest.

Can you imagine? Three young kids and then being put on bed rest? I'm not a mom but have spent enough time with young kids (fun fact, I was a live-in nanny for a year after college) to know that it would be nearly impossible to take care of them, let alone prepare meals, while on bed rest!

Since we were on school break last week I had lots of time to whip up a quick and easy meal to deliver to my friend to bring to her friend (are you with me?)! I also have another friend who recently had a baby so she got a meal, too!

 I decided on Shepherd's Pie!  My mom's been making this super simple recipe since we were little.  We don't use any of the fancy versions, just a few ingredients! I love our version best (and I've eaten the 'real deal' while in Ireland!).

To make one 8x8 Shepherd's Pie you'll need:

-About 4 large Russet potatoes
-1 can of creamed corn
-1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey if you prefer)
-dashes of milk, salt, and pepper as well as 4 tablespoons of butter for the potatoes

1. Peel, quarter, and boil your potatoes (I'm not a very knowledgeable cook so I actually had to Google 'how long to boil potatoes'...survey says until you can stick a fork in a potato and have it slide off

2. Brown your meat in a pan

3. Drain your cooked potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Add butter, milk, and salt and pepper and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy

3. Place your cooked meat in the bottom of your freezer pan (I bought a disposable 8x8 aluminum pan from WalMart), then empty your corn on top of the meat, then top with your potatoes.

4. Download this adorable label that I created in Photoshop! Then print onto sticker paper (can be purchased at Staples) and affix to your freezer meal!