Menu Monday 9/29

7:00 AM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

I am back in blogging land.  It has been a rough start to the year with the new seven period day and hubby having some health issues.  Then I left for a three day PowerSchool conference on Mackinaw Island, which was  a BLAST-shout out to PSUG-MI- but time consuming.

I have been pondering this weekly post for awhile.  I have a lot of real-life friends that struggle with what is for dinner.  In fact I see a Facebook post almost daily asking that questions, so to honor that and what my fabulous hubby has taught me....

I am excited to introduce:
The plan is to post my menu plan and recipes for the week. I think anyone, but especially teachers like me, needs some help with keeping up with healthy-ish foods that aren't time consuming after a LONG day.

Sunday: Ham and scalloped potatoes in the crock pot.  We are cleaning out the freezer, so I pulled a bag of cooked-sliced ham from the freezer this A.M.  I mixed up some boxed scalloped potatoes in the bottom of the crock pot.  I then put the ham on top.  I turned the crock pot on high for two hours.  I stirred it and then turned it down to low until dinner.  It was super-tasty!

Monday: We are picking up our 1/4 side of beef at some point on Monday evening, so I want to try and eat a little more from the freezer.  Last month I bought, sliced, marinated, and froze a whole pork loin from Sam's Club, so I am pulling a package of 4 out tonight to thaw.  We are looking at our last nice week of 70 degree weather, so I want to grill them.  I will add a side of steamed broccoli and rice or pasta.

Tuesday: Since we are getting our 1/4 side of beef on Monday, I think we should eat some of it.  Taco Pie from Potumus' grandma is on the menu.  Preheat oven to 350.  Cook off a pound of burger with taco seasoning.  I make my own in a mason jar.  Press out a can of refrigerator biscuits into a pie pan.  Spoon taco meat into pie pan. Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until biscuit crust is cooked.  Slice and add your choice of toppings.  We love cilantro, salsa, black olives, and sour cream.

Wednesday: This is often leftover night.  I usually try and save leftover night for an evening when we are busy but get home at a decent time.  It helps me to clean out the fridge.  I would recommend adding a leftover night to your weekly routine.  I also like that it eliminates waste.

Thursday:  This is our cheat night.  The girls have dance at 4, and we don't get home until late, so I usually get something on the go.  Shmurtz loves Taco Bell and Potumus loves Subway.  My personal favorite is Jimmy Johns.  Sometimes I get us each what we want.

Friday: Homemade pizza.  I have a bread maker and will set it up for a delay dough start in the morning before I leave.  This way I will have fresh pizza dough when we get home.  I use the basic pizza dough recipe that came with the bread maker, but I add a tablespoon of gluten to make it super-stretchy.  I wish I could take claim to this idea, but dear hubby suggested it.  I use our pizza cooker, which may seem like a silly appliance, but we use it at least once a week.  I then used canned sauce and mozzarella cheese.  I put pepperoni on the kids' and tomatoes and Italian seasoning on mine.

Saturday:  Once again hoping to take advantage of our 1/4 side of beef and nice weather: our first grilled steaks of the fall.  My go-to marinade is Italian dressing, chili garlic sauce (you have to buy this stuff in the Asian section of most grocery stores), and teryaki sauce.  I'll throw some baked potatoes in the crock pot like I did this summer and add a salad.

I would love your feedback on this new weekly post: do you like it? What else would you like to see in this?  

Throwback Thursday 9/17 Google Classroom

9:00 PM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

Today I am linking up with The Teacher's Desk 6 for one of my favorite Linky Parties: Throwback Thursday.

If you haven't checked out Google Classroom, you are missing out on an awesome tool.


Here is the original post:


I got an amazing email last month:



I got to be a preview user for Google Classroom.  I highly recommend that if you are a Google Apps for Education school, and I am here to give you a tour of this fabulous new app.

You must be logged in with your education domain email.  This means I have to logout of my personal account to use it because you can't switch like in email.  It is a minor inconvenience at best.


Now, my account has my classes there because I didn't take a before shot.


You add courses at the top right using the plus sign.  You can also customize the theme for each class; there aren't a lot yet, but it is fun.
Once your class is created, you can invite students.  Since your school is all tied together, you can just get your class list out and type away.  For some reason the save group feature isn't working, which is a bummer.

Each class has its own homepage and news feed of activity.  It doesn't appear that students can use it to talk to each other, but your announcements and assignments do show up with most recent first.

I created a sample assignment and test announcement, which you can see below.  The assignment feed shows me how many are done (submitted to me) and how many are not done.  This app tracks the assignments you give in Google and who submits them, but the fun doesn't  end there.



Each course has an about page that lists the teacher information as well as any materials that you want the students to have access.  Just like with assignments you can create materials in drive with Google Docs or attach items.


When students log into Google Classroom they get the news feed.  When they click on the assignment, they can attach it or create it.  Then they can submit it.  Google Classroom automatically creates a document in a Drive folder for the assignment with the assignment title and the student's name.



I was doing this all by hand last year, and often students would share an untitled document with me, and I would have no idea what it was.  I also had to organize all the assignments on my own.  You can see my classroom folder on the left with my classes underneath with the assignments in them...Think of the time we will save!



After the students start submitting assignments, the teacher can go back in and review them all.  You can email the students, put the grades right on them, and return them to the students.

Check out the other Throwbacks:







Wordless Wednesday 9/17 My Photography Class

7:00 AM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

Two months ago I signed up for a free class online about Laura Ingalls Wilder.  When I was on the Canvas Network, I searched the other classes and found one on phone photography.  Since they were free, I added that one too.  Well, it started this week.

I have created my photography site.

I watched the lecture on composition.

I started taking pictures.





Since this a bucket-list item for me because I would love to be a photographer, my question is what is something you want to learn that is on your bucket list?


You should go check out all the free classes Canvas Network offers.

Check out the other Wordless Wednesday Posts.


Sunday Scoop 9/14

10:07 AM Sarah Koves 4 Comments

Have To:
1) This one if fairly self-explanatory.  I haven't gotten into enough of a routine, so I can finish my plans and copies before Friday.  It doesn't help that we are still without paper, so I have to buy some before I make copies for the week.  I am hopeful that week three will be the week I get in a routine.

2) I haven't posted near enough real content in the last two weeks, so I need to get some of those done.

3) I am headed to Mackinaw Island a week from today for the PowerSchool conferences, and I have to get everything ready for hubby to run the show while I am gone.  There are kids that need to be fed and a cross country meet while I am gone.

Want To:
1) I have all her first grade papers in a nice cardboard box in my living room.  I bought the binder and got out all the page protectors, so this project needs to be finished.  I was smart enough this year to get a binder and protectors for second grade, so the items can go right into it as opposed to a box.

2) I managed to wash and fold all the laundry yesterday, but now I have five baskets sitting in various spots in my house.  I need to get it all put away, and I need to get my clothes picked out for the week.  I usually do this on Sunday for the whole week because then I don't have to think too much about it in the A.M.

I Am Happy To:
1) Cook for my family.  We had an awesome dinner yesterday and are going to have roasted chicken today with garlic mashed.  I am thinking about doing a Monday theme for the year with meals.  I know it is a teacher blog, but we all have to eat, right?  Thoughts?

Check out the other Sunday Scoops at Teaching Trio.


Throwback Thursday 9/11 Social Studies Bell Work

7:30 AM Sarah Koves 3 Comments

May September 11th always be held near our hearts.  My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost that day...especially the children.  God Bless America.

This is my post on Social Studies Bell work from August:

I feel like it has been ages since I wrote an actual post...well, not ages, but a few days at least.  I started this blog, so I could write and share my ideas.  This is something I have been doing in English for almost ten years now since I student taught, but I haven't been doing it near as long in my social studies classes; probably about half as long.

This idea was spawned from the need for bell work when I taught middle school social studies.  I needed to get their fidgety little bodies going.  I have continued to use this in my high school social studies classes with much success.

The first thing you need is one of my Daily Geography Practice and This Day in History Sheets, which are available on my TPT store for FREE!

The other product I use for this bell work: Great Source's Daily Geography Book.  I bought the seventh grade book years ago for myself.  It appears they now might require you to purchase it through your school authorized purchaser and that the price has gone up, but it is worth every penny because it has the vocabulary, answers, and quizzes right in that awkwardly sized book.

There are other companies produce these, but this has been the best one I have found.


I have used this same seventh grade book for social studies classes from 6th-10th grade.  I plan to continue using it this year with my civics classes of juniors.  I just thing that the skills are so timeless: using maps, higher level thinking, research, and general knowledge to be Culturally Literate.

The only other thing you will need it an internet connection to This Day in History by History.com  History.com does a daily video of what happened on today in history.  It also provides a comprehensive list with events and links to further reading on the events.  For example: On today, August 8th, in the year 79 A.D. Mt. Vesuvius erupted.


I copy these with the questions with the This Day in History sheet on the back.  These then become the students' bell work for the week.  Notice the heading says 7-1.  This is because I have several of these books, so this reminds me that it is 7th grade book week 1.

When they come in to my class, they use whatever resources they have (textbook, dictionary, atlas, almanacs, phone) to work through the answers to the questions for the day.  There is usually a fair amount of talking and helping going on as the students work through these questions.

When they finish the two questions for the day, we talk about what happened on this day in history.  Now, we could just have a conversation about this stuff, but I have found that having them write something down help move it to memory.  Now I do not expect them to recount every item that we talk about nor do I test them on this, but it gives us a chance to talk about interesting things that we might not get to in our regular class.  I mean how often do you really get to talk about Mt. Vesuvius?

Some days we watch the video, but some days we don't.  Also, there are days when nothing on the list of events strikes me, so we don't talk about anything.  I usually only pick 1-4 items of the list because I find it can be too much.

To save myself some headaches over the years, I have printed out my favorites and keep them in a binder chronologically.  This way if I am gone or the internet goes down (that never happens at your school, right?) I am not left in a lurch.

Overall, my social studies bell work accomplishes several things:

1) Students are engaged from the start of class.
2) Students are learning research and problem solving skills when they don't readily know an answer
3) Students are becoming culturally literate citizens
4) Students are getting a chance to discover interesting tidbits of knowledge not normally covered in class content.

I strongly encourage you to give this a try.  

I would love to hear what other secondary teachers use for bell work.

Check out other Secondary Sunday finds:



Wordless Wednesday 9/10 An Anchor Chart

7:30 AM Sarah Koves 2 Comments

I decided this year to post my anchor charts as we went over the material instead of all at once.  Yesterday while doing their Daily Oral Language, my seniors, most of whom I had last year, started looking around and asking where my charts were.  After some questioning, I figured out that they wanted this one.

Excuse the clingy on it, but they were stored in a stack over the summer.

Do you every take stuff down or put stuff away and have students then look for it?




My week 9/9

7:51 PM Sarah Koves 2 Comments

Well, I am already behind, and we are only in the second week of school. Of course that means behind on posting too.  I have so many posts that I want to add, but I have no energy tonight, so I keep it short and sweet.

First up my weekly sticker on my fridge.  I use this for all of our activities, my chores to accomplish this week (not that I ever get them all done), and our dinner plans (I do this weekly to save my brain and wallet).



Obviously the big items this week are that dance classes start for the girls, our union meeting on dues since we are no longer allowed to do payroll deduction in Michigan, and Potumus' first Cross Country meet of the season at MSU.

I decided this week to post my student boards instead of my lesson plan book to see things from a student's view of what we do in my classroom.

This was my plan for Civics as of Sunday, but these students are moving so fast through the first unit that I have to create another activity for tomorrow because we did Tuesday and Wednesday today.  I am guessing we will start working on local government tomorrow.  I also haven't gone over the presidents at all this week...oops.
These are my other four classes. Left to Right: English 11, Honors English 11, AP Lit, and AP Psychology.
English 11 is working on their first essay and using Google Classroom for the first time.  I love this app for education; I posted on it a few weeks ago.  Honors English 11 and AP Lit are finishing up Short Story Boot Camp this week and starting their first essay on one of the stories.

AP Psychology is having their first test on history and approaches tomorrow...probably should print that.  We will them begin research.  Thursday and Friday are pretty blank because I want to see how well they do on the test tomorrow before making any plans other that practice vocabulary.



The Sunday Scoop 9/7

9:21 AM Sarah Koves 5 Comments


Check out the other Sunday Scoops.

Don't forget about my giveaway.


New Product for Social Studies

5:48 PM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I just finished revamping two units and creating a new quiz set.

They are free until Sunday morning.




Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway in honor of my book study post this week.

Five for Friday: The First Week

6:14 PM Sarah Koves 2 Comments

My first week of school is over, and I am linking up with Doodlebugs Teaching for Five for Friday.


I got to post my chapter of the the book study on The Together Teacher this week.  I was probably crazy for doing it the first week of school.  I am hosting a giveaway in honor of that book study.







I was on the giving and receiving end of some great gifts this week.

My coworker in the ELA Department celebrated her birthday on Tuesday (our first day of school).  We celebrated with cookies at lunch, and the other English teacher and I made her a gift.  We got her a new mug filled with chocolate and this printable.



My mother made this wonderful wreath for me for my classroom door.  It even has a great frame in the middle, which is now on my desk.





I accomplished a project in organizing my personal Google Drive.  My school one is a whole different project for another day.  Read about what I did.





My own beauties had their first day of school.  Eighth and Second grade for them this year.





I have no picture for this one, but I survived.  I survived humidity over 70% each day with temps above 75 for a feels-like temp of 91.  However, my third floor classroom felt much worse.  I survived all of our technology including phones going down the first day of school because of a new teacher and a glitch in the system.  I survived the district running out of paper on day three of the year because someone forgot to order it.   I can do IT!





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