Teaching and Tasties

Delicious eats and daring, death-defying teaching feats

Obama say wha? September 29, 2008

Filed under: Random — tlsussman @ 4:48 pm

Bilingual education.  Constantly a topic of discussion, and more often, contention.  After spending two years to gain a masters in bilingual education, you would think I have all the answers.  Then I read an article, recently posted in the NY times.  Obama is all for bilingual education (yes!!!) and making sure students are literate in their native language before embarking on their journey into biliteracy.  YAY FOR COMMON SENSE!  If you are illiterate in your native language, you have NOTHING to build on and use to help learn the second.  This should be common sense.  Apparently, however, in some public school in New York, English immersion has worked.  Great.  That is definitely a possibility.  BUT…do they consider the students’ backgrounds?  If students arrive literate, there is less issue (mind you, not NO issue) with English immersion, than if they have never been to school a day in their lives.

We all have a story about a family member or friend that didn’t get special schooling, but still managed to learn English.  Great.  Congratulations!  Research clearly proves that those who receive support in their native language will actually do better in the second language.

Just think of all the immigrants you know.  They are not dumb – in fact, many of them know way more than I do.  They usually just don’t have the words to communicate.  Therefore, it is quite obvious that students could succeed on the math portion of standardized tests, especially if there is little writing.  That does not mean that could not use support in the primary language.  Besides, every child has the right to maintain his native language and culture.  More than a right, this of such importance – it is his identity, his connection to family and a connection to everything he was up to this point.  To take these things away is to tell a child that his background and history are not valid.  By doing that, you already lower his chances of success drastically.

Besides, what’s so bad about being bilingual or trilingual??  In fact, it is an advantage and a gift.  Hells yeah to Obama for pushing bilingual ed.


Getting to know you… September 12, 2008

Filed under: School — tlsussman @ 12:05 am

A week down and the kids are still TOTALLY in love with this project.  I have kids that come in and tell me about what they are doing at home with their best friend.  One kid came in today and told me how bored Pepe was.  He was really disappointed that he couldn’t keep his friend entertained!!!

I am still not totally sure how this will all pan out, but I think I have decided to do a short interview (3-5 questions) for each section of the textbook.  While I don’t love following the textbook, it does give a great skeleton for the year.  This is also a way to informally assess how the students are doing.  The first entrevista (interview) was only worth 10 points, with 2 points for creativity and 2 for turning the assignment in on time.  It was interesting to see how kids did and what they found difficult.

As the year winds down, I will have them begin to piece everything together to create a PowerPoint, movie, website or poster.  They actually seem excited at the prospect.  We will spend the last week or so having the kids present their friends and share pretty much everything they learned over the year.  More than anything, this has turned into a great assessment tool – almost like a portfolio.


A Year Long Project. September 7, 2008

Filed under: School — tlsussman @ 1:13 pm

Well, the project has been instated.  No turning back now!  I told the kids about it and I got the typical moaning and groaning.  Too bad!!  Once the kids were introduced to the “New Best Friends”, however, I heard nothing but hysterical laughing and possibly, yes possibly, excitement.  While I’m not sure they are overjoyed at the prospect of a year long assignment, they definitely got a kick out of their new best friends.  They actually thought I was bringing new people into the class!  Too funny.  I made them line up in a random order and then I walked down the line with pieces of construction paper with their friends on them.  Kids picked without looking and then sat down.  When everybody had a person, they all looked at the same time.  What a roar of laughter.  I gave them 5 seconds to trade.  I can’t imagine why they would want to trade any of these people for others:

I guess if my new friends looked like these, I would be laughing too!  Good thing I introduced this at the way end of class because they were gone after that.  Well, let’s see what happens!

Here’s the project.


A year long project? September 4, 2008

Filed under: School — tlsussman @ 12:49 am

I am feeling like a first year teacher all over again.  This is my fourth year at the same school, teaching the same subject to the same grades…yet without a classroom of my own I feel totally helpless.  I know others do it all the time, but to spend three years with my own classroom and then **poof** it’s gone.  :> sigh.

In order to keep my sanity and make myself feel better, I have resorted to creating lots of new projects and fun things for the kids and myself.  Some might say this is craziness and will only make matters worse, but I think it will help me stay focused and make sure I do great things for the kids.

So my new idea is sort of a year long project on someone.  Rather, a random clipart picture that the kids will pull from a hat.  This will be their new friend, who they have to learn and share everything about.  It is almost like having a pen pal but not quite.  So as we start the year with greetings and introductions.  The kids will start to write from the perspective of their friend.  As each theme passes, they will write more and more.  I haven’t quite gotten farther than that…but I think the end goal is to have a book or something of the sort.  The kids always write about themselves, which I love – it helps me get to know them – but I feel like some kids don’t do well with that.  They don’t like who they are (especially in middle school) or they are embarassed about their family or something.

I haven’t decided if this will be done paper and pencil style or if, perhaps, each kid will create a wiki or a webpage with iWeb (it is SO easy to use and always looks amazing).  Maybe they could do something in Comic Life?  I guess I will have to see as we go, but I guess I should figure out the start since they will be picking people tomorrow!!!  When I have this thing figured out, I will post it in hopes of some help…


A trip to the farmer’s market September 2, 2008

Filed under: Food — tlsussman @ 4:50 pm

The farmer’s market season is almost finished…and I barely ever made it there!  I figured this was a great weekend to go…last real weekend of freedom before teaching, a friend in town, yummy foods to buy.  Well, it definitely turned into a fruitful (haha) trip.  In fact, we bought so much that I had to make a dinner party out of it!

So I called a couple of friends and informed them they would be fed and, in return, would be expected to go salsa dancing.  (Not a bad deal if I may say so myself!)  Well, the response was overwhelming and dinner for two turned into dinner for 8.  Not to worry…there was plenty of food on hand.

Course 1: Salad

With the large variety of tomatoes available, the only real option for salad included a range of tastes and colors.  To make the salad, I started by marinating onions in balsamic vinegar and oil.  I also cleaned some portabellos and marinated those in oil and vinegar with a little sea salt and fresh basil.  Right before serving, I cut up a few different types (sorry…can’t remember all the names), including cherry and zebra tomatoes.  Those were mixed with pieces of avocado and kalamata olives and the marinated onions.  The portabello was the bowl!  I drizzled some fig balsamic vinegar on top for an extra touch.  They were beautiful and absolutely delish!

Tomato Salad

Tomato Salad

Course Two: Entree

This course was so much fun to make.  We started with a pistachio encrusted orange roughy.  I don’t eat a lot of fish, but it seemed like a good choice for the meal.  This was SO easy to make.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put pistachios in the food processor and process until they are small pieces.  Some will turn to dust, but you should have some larger pieces.  Add cumin, paprika and a bit of chile powder or cayenne pepper to the pistachios and mix.  Season fish with olive oil, salt and pepper**.  Place fish on top of pistachios and make sure they stick.  Flip the fish and coat the other side.  Line a pyrex or baking sheet with aluminum and place the fish on top.  Cover the fish with the remaining pistachios.  Cut another piece of foil and cover the fish, creating a packet.  Cook for 25 min or so.  If the fish is not done after 25 min, you can take it out and leave it sealed to help it cook some more.

Pistachio encrusted orange roughy

Pistachio encrusted orange roughy

**I did not soak the fish in egg due to allergies.  The pistachios stayed pretty well, so I am not sure it was necessary.  Maybe if you were going to pan-fry it.

A friend of mine made some eggplant parmesean.  It wasn’t too bad, but we have to work on this one.  It had to be allergy free – so no wheat and no dairy.  He used Amaranth bread crumbs and parmesean (which I guess I am allowed to eat, even though it’s dairy.  I don’t know how he did it…but it was pretty!

I got the next recipe from Arabesque by Claudia Rodin.  Simply boil potatoes until tender.  While they are boiling, make the dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, chile powder and salt.  Whisk together.  Drain potatoes and quarter.  Toss in dressing.  Add parsley and black olives.  Voila!

Third Course: Dessert 🙂

so delish!

so delish!

For dessert, we had a fruit salad and a chocolate pie with raspberry sauce.  The chocolate pie is the same recipe as I posted previously.  For the raspberry sauce, simply mash raspberries and agave nectar.  Feel free to put them in the blender for a smoother sauce. I really like the chunkiness of the sauce with the smooth pie.  It was a total hit!  No one even minded that the pie was made from avocados.  🙂

All in all, I would say that dinner was a total success!  Besides the amount of dishes we used…dinner was totally tasty and the company was great.

I can’t wait for the next dinner party!!  I just need to buy a bigger dishwasher!