Month: December 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

May your day  be filled with blessings from God. Take time to celebrate the greatest gift of all – Christ’s birth!

Peppermint Ice Cream Brownie Sandwiches

This time of year, I’m excited to see the peppermint ice cream show up in the freezer aisles. Although I like mint flavors, I don’t usually buy mint ice creams.  For whatever reason, I don’t even think about it… until the Christmas season. That creamy, pink ice cream with chunks of candy cane just hits the spot! Add some chocolate to it, and you have a perfect festive treat.

It just so happened that last week, a fellow teacher brought peppermint ice cream and brownies to the teacher’s lounge for us to enjoy. The little sundae I created was just what I needed to get me through the rest of the chaotic school day. I enjoyed it so much, that the next day, I bought some peppermint ice cream for myself.

The combination of a brownie and the peppermint ice cream inspired me to make a new treat that combined the two. I had made brownie ice cream sandwiches before by simply replacing a regular cookie with a brownie. I decided I could easily make peppermint ice cream brownie sandwiches for a delightfully festive Christmas dessert!    

Rather than making regular brownies, I used a brownie mix to make a brownie cookie. By adding extra flour and a few other ingredients to the mix, the dough comes out a little more firm than it would for regular brownies, making them easy to scoop and bake like cookies.

After allowing the brownie cookies to cool completely, simply add a scoop of the peppermint ice cream to one side and place another brownie cookie on top! You can wrap them individually with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Or, make a whole bunch, place them in a container, and put the container in the freezer until you are ready to serve.

The recipe I used for the brownie cookies was taken from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. It was

Ingredients

  • 1 package of your favorite brownie mix (13×9 size)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 container peppermint ice cream
  • Plastic wrap (optional)

Directions

  • Follow the directions to make these brownie cookies here
  • Once the cookies have completely cooled, take out the peppermint ice cream from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature to soften for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, put a scoop of peppermint ice cream on on of the cookies, then place another cookie on top.
  • You may have to press the cookies together to make a nice ice cream sandwich!
  • If you choose, you can wrap each individual sandwich in plastic wrap and place in the freezer to enjoy!

Before eating, it is helpful to let them sit out just for a minute or so. This lets the cookie part defrost slightly, but the ice cream will stay frozen for longer!

Peppermint ice cream brownie sandwiches are sure to be a hit at your next holiday gathering!

Introduction to Living Things: Classification

My 7th grade science class is beginning our life science unit. During this unit we will study characteristics of living things, cells, the human body and much more! One of the first concepts that we covered was classification.

My curriculum instructed me to cover the history of classification, from Aristotle to Carl Linneaus to more recent 6 or more kingdom philosophies. Although I find this information interesting, starting off a lesson with a lecture about dead people does not fascinate my students. But why not make them the scientists first?

Materials

Anything you can find in the classroom! Just make sure you have the same items for each group.

The goal for this activity was for students to begin thinking about how we can organize different objects. I gathered a bunch of random materials from my classroom: pipe cleaners, clothespins, toothpicks and anything else I could find! Each group received a basket with the same materials as the other groups.

   

Procedure

 I told the class to work with their group and organize the materials given. The groups got right to work. Some students asked me questions, like “What is this 

made of?” I decided NOT to give answers right away. I wanted students to look and use reasoning skills. There were debates about where to put the straw, a

nd disagreements about the clothespin. Surprisingly, the students took this task very seriously. What I thought would take them 3 minutes, took closer to 10!

Once groups were satisfied with their groupings, we discussed as a class what the main factors were when deciding which group to put the items in. The material that makes up the object was picked several times. Others classified items by their shape. One group finally decided that they should organize their items according to the object’s purpose. We discussed how all the groups had slightly different methods of classifying, but they all worked… mostly.

Next, I challenged the students to make DIFFERENT groupings – something that had not been used yet. Some split the items by comparing “high mass” and “low mass”. Another group chose color as a separating factor. As I glanced around the room, other items tempted me to see what the groups would do! However, time, as always, stopped me. 

Doing this activity was a perfect lead into discussing some of the scientists that did just that! Students were now intrigued by these men, because they had just experienced similar confusion, frustration, and thrill of trying to “organize” many different items.

This was another one of my favorite kinds of activities – seemingly simple, but becomes a great springboard for students’ ideas and connects them to the lesson!

Christmas Bulletin Board Round Up

Tis the season to change up the bulletin boards! The first week of December means transforming classrooms for the Christmas season. Teachers at my school were hanging lights, putting up little Christmas trees and displaying shiny stars from the ceilings. Everything looks so festive!

There are lots of ideas floating around for bulletin boards this holiday season. Beautifully decorated, elaborate boards look awesome… but also take hours to put up. I don’t have the time to spend on these, especially when in 3 weeks, they will come right down again!

I like the more practical holiday bulletin boards. Ones that are quick and easy to put up, but still look nicely put together and bring a smile. Here is my Christmas bulletin board round up!

Presents – For God So Loved the World

This board is simple, but truly celebrates the meaning of Christmas. Pieces of wrapping paper and some ribbon can make elegant looking gifts. Adding the John 3:16 verse “For God So Loved the World” emphasizes the gift God gave us at Christmas

Fireplace with Stockings

I have done something similar to this board in the past. Using red bulletin board paper, I created a brick background, then cut construction paper to make the fireplace and flames. You can purchase mini stockings to “hang” by the fire as well. If my class was not too large, I would put small treats in these stockings leading up to Christmas break. The board looked great, and students loved the special Christmas surprises!

 

Snowman Planets are Out of this World!

This is a fun one that combines science with the season. You could even change the wording to “Hope your winter is out of this world” and make this board last all through the winter months. The planets might take a little bit of effort for that realistic look, but it was just too cute to not include!

Chemis-tree

After seeing this idea on AdventuresinIStem, I knew I could make it my own!This is the board that I actually put up this year. I had a smaller bulletin board to fill and not much time to come up with something. Since our academic theme this year is science, I had to do it! You can print off element cards and copy them in green. I used these here and they worked perfectly! Simply staple them in the shape of your tree! The gold element square cleverly copied in yellow and cut in the shape of a star tops it off. O Chemis-tree, how lovely are your elements!

Hope these ideas inspire you to make your own festive Christmas board!