Enriching Your Student

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One of the most frequently asked questions I get from parents is how to use technology to expand their student’s education. With hundreds of options available online, parents have a wealth of choices from websites to apps. Here are three of my favorites!

DuoLingo: We love the ease and simplicity of DuoLingo for language learning. We’re presently using this in Spanish courses but many of our students have chosen to add an additional language they were personally interested in. So far I have students learning Russian, Swedish, German, Spanish and Chinese! Cost: Free/Donation.

Khan Academy: Learn nearly anything via Khan Academy’s ever growing list of curated courses. Khan Academy is especially strong in math and computer science lessons (broken down by grade) and its student reporting and management dashboard helps parents (or educators) suggest additional resources, classes and subjects of interest. Cost: Free/Donation.

Codecademy: Get started learning programming via your browser! Good for middle and high schoolers, this site offers lessons in database management, python, java, html/css and other development languages in high demand. Cost: Free/Donation.

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Something Different

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It’s been a while, again. Like the proverbial shoemaker’s child, this site gets little time or energy from me these days. Which is too bad because I’m doing some fun and interesting things I really should share. I’m going to try harder, honest.

I’ve been hard at work in other places and spaces. This year I’m teaching computer science again for grades k-8. The program has doubled from last year, and the kids really keep me on my toes. In the picture accompanying this post I’m teaching color block programming with my second graders, who really enjoyed hopping versus typing!

If you’re interested in teaching computer science concepts to children ages 5-9 and would like the lesson plan for this class leave a comment for me!

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Getting into CAD/3D Printing

Want to get your child interested in computer aided drafting or 3D printing? Share this great LEGO video with them! If they’re ready to go after that, I recommend downloading SketchUp (free download) and let their imagination run wild!

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Snow Day Links

Sliding Around

Some tabs I need to close in browsers make for great reads…I keep meaning to share them and haven’t gotten to them yet! Thankfully today’s snow day gives me a chance to clean up the browser windows and share some of what I’ve been reading lately.

Get kids to eat more vegetables by moving recess. Easier said than done in an age of part time staffing but I agree, it makes a difference. So does serving well prepared veggies, of course!

Letterpress printing at its finest.

R is for Robot is just plain adorable! Adafruit is awesome to offer this as a CC download, too.

These are some stunning photos of owls.

I really liked Alastair Humphreys thoughts on becoming an adventurer – not so different than self employment!

I am thinking a lot about what does and doesn’t constitute “making” these days, so I enjoyed hearing another educator’s take on maker culture. I am still muddling through some thoughts on that which I’ll hopefully get posted by the next snow day!

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Gluten & Dairy Free Big Cluster Maple Granola

Gluten Free Big Cluster Maple Granola (adapted from Deb Perelman @ Smitten Kitchen)big-cluster-maple-granola

3 cups (240 grams) gluten free rolled oats
1 cup (50 grams) unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1 cup (100 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (25 grams) toasted seeds (chia, flax or hemp) ground to flour;
2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup (120 ml; or increase to a cup if a sweeter granola is preferred) maple syrup (the real kind, of course)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg white
1 1/2 cups (215 grams) dried cherries or another dried fruit, diced if large pieces

1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients but the egg white and dried fruit in a large bowl, tossing to coat evenly. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until frothy. Stir into the granola mixture, distributing it throughout. Spread it in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
2. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. About halfway through the baking time, use a large spatula to turn over sections of the granola carefully, breaking them up as little as possible. Rotate the pan if granola is baking unevenly. When it is evenly browned and feels dry to the touch, transfer the pan from the oven to the cooling rack. Cool completely. Once it’s completely cool, break up granola into whatever size clusters delight you. Sprinkle in dried fruit while warm.

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WordPress 4.1 Updates

holidays

WordPress 4.1 “Dinah” has dropped and we’ve begun updating sites in our network.

This release offers some nifty new features including distraction free writing, a clean new theme for 2015 and support for Vine embeds.

As always if you have questions or concerns please let me know!

Happy holidays!

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Fall Garden

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A quick peek at the fall garden – lots of romaine lettuce, spinach and more broccoli in this bed. I also did another bed of leeks and onions but didn’t photograph them.

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The peppers are holding out nicely still dropping new fruit. The Brussels sprouts are going gangbusters and I can’t wait to cook them up for the kids! I still have to figure out how to harvest them…

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Not some bizarre Seuss thing, the kale has held out nicely and helped me add some zesty crunch to the salads at school!

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Magic Bars

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One of the children’s favorites, these are quick and easy to pull together! You can also convert this to a gluten free version, see my end notes.

Ingredients:

1 stick butter (4 oz, 8 Tablespoons)
7 oz unfilled cookies (you can use graham crackers, vanilla wafers, molasses cookies or chocolate wafers. If you’re going GF use a GF version)
1 cup butterscotch flavored chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup crushed pretzels
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 and place the butter into a 9 x 13 baking pan. If you’d prefer, prepare a sling or line with foil then add the butter. Place in oven 3-5 minutes until butter just begins to melt. Remove pan, let cool slightly.

Crush the cookies up into largish chunks and crumbs. Sprinkle over the butter and toss lightly with fork in the butter to coat crumbs evenly in the butter and distribute across the whole pan. In order add the butterscotch chips, the white chocolate chips and pretzels over all. Pour sweetened condensed milk over everything evenly. Bake 25 minutes, rotating after 14 minutes for even browning. Top will be golden & bubbly when done, edges will be dark golden brown.

You can make this recipe gluten free by substituting a GF cookie – I’ve used the Trader Joe’s Ginger Snaps cookie with great results. You can make also make this a dairy free version by making your own Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk and using Earth Balance soy free baking bars. I’m not a fan of the honey in this mix, so try agave or brown rice syrup for this chip combination, or use honey and swap out the butterscotch chips for chocolate or peanut butter chips.

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Rotkraut mit Äpfeln

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We served Rotkraut mit Äpfeln (red cabbage with apples) for our Oktoberfest and it was (surprisingly) wildly popular with the kids, so I thought I’d share the recipe!

1 Medium Red Cabbage
2 Granny Smith or other tart apple, peeled, seeded & cored
6 Tablespoons bacon fat (chicken or pork fat also ok)
2 Medium yellow onions sliced thin
1 Quart water
1/2 c red wine vinegar
2 yellow delicious or other sweet apple, peeled, seeded & cored
1 tsp seasoning blend (mixed salt & pepper)
3 cloves
1 bay leaf
Juice of 1 lemon

Wash cabbage, drain dry and cut as for cole slaw. Cut apples and onions into rings.

Heat fat in dutch oven and add onions, saute 3-4 minutes until fragrant, add apples and cabbage, cook on medium 3-4 minutes longer.

Add water, juice, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring just to boil then reduce to simmer. Cook 2 hours stirring occasionally. Add vinegar & stir well before serving. Serves 8 as a side.

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Mucking Around

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I’m still arguing with Paypal over the GSES account. It’s highly annoying, so after my daily headbanging I rewarded myself by spending an hour on the new learning management software. It’s still a bit hinky and it’s screwed up my site navigation again, but it’s coming along. I’m thinking of how to best use it right now based on its constraints but the flexibility is intriguing. I still haven’t figured out how I’m recording/preserving my classes and need to.

Tomorrow is breakfast for lunch and our first open house of the fall. I’m doing french toast in the oven again as well as a mushroom & onion quiche for lunch, and for the open house I’m doing a spinach, onion and leek vegetarian strata, cinnamon coffeecake and fresh fruit trays:

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Want the recipes? Leave a comment 🙂

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