Posted in Cooking with the Kiddies, Uncategorized

Social Distancing in the Kitchen

In our normal life I don’t cook much, it’s not that I don’t like to cook, or am not very good at it, it’s just that I’m never home long enough to cook. A few years ago we starting using meal kit delivery.  We did Chef’s Plate for about a year but the kids found their meals a bit too adventurous.  We switched the Hello Fresh and have been getting their meal kits for a few years now.  With these meal kits I know that we are at least eating a well balanced meal at least 3 times a week.  Whoever is home first makes it and everyone eats when then can, rarely together.

Since school’s have been closed dinner time has changed dramatically in our house.  We have sat down to dinner, the 5 of us, almost every night for 2 weeks now.  I can’t remember the last time that happened.  I have kept up our Hello Fresh deliveries, mostly because that way I know whatever happens with food availability in the next couple weeks/months we ‘should’ have 3 well balanced meals a day.  The others days of the week I have started to cook again, and I am having fun with it.  I am trying to get through the many items that have been stocked in my pantry and freezer over the past year.  We are trying to support local.  Today we got fresh bread order from The Good Bread Company, and picked up a drive through market order from Heritage Lane Produce.  Earlier in the week we received a Dover Rocks Box, with cheese, bread and sweets from small shops in Port Dover. I dare to say that we are eating now better than ever (Eileen is becoming a bit of a cheese snob).

The other great thing is that there are so many chefs doing online cooking demonstrations for free, as many people now have more time on their hands.  There are many out there but the one I have been following is from another local business, Ritzy Cakes.   Michael Reitz is #chefisolation and he is posting video on the Ritzy Cakes Facebook page.  You can watch them live or look through their page for past videos.  Last weekend I made the crepes and tonight I made the Pasta Carbonara.  They were both awesome and devoured by my entire family.  On Saturday morning I’m going to tackle the Eggs Benny.  I love trying these new things, and it is a great way to keep busy and motivated.  The next time I need a cake for a birthday or other event I’m definitely calling Ritzy Cakes! (for some reason I can’t upload a photo of my crepes but here is the pasta)

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No trouble keeping busy – yet

Surprisingly, yesterday ended up being a very busy day.  It was St. Patrick’s Day, so we had stocked up on appropriate groceries to have our St. Patrick’s Day feast.

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Earlier in the day we decided it was time to tackle some ‘school’ tasks.  Eileen’s teacher has sent home a fair bit if work, and most of it looks fun.  Michael’s did not, which is OK, but we are using some other things to keep him working.  One of the sites Eileen’s teacher recommended was the Scholastic Magazines.  Many of the teachers in our school use them in their classes.  I found the Grade 3-5 link for Michael and love the way it is set up.  For each day they have 3 articles, with follow up activities listed.  In our house that means choice – he needs to pick one of the three to complete.  These are very easy to use and there is even a text-to-speech feature that your child can use to listen to the article.

The afternoon was spent preparing for our St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  Kaitlyn and I had previously come up with a menu but Eileen decided, last minute, that we NEEDED green cupcakes.  They could have used more green food colouring but I think they turned out OK, and she was happy.

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Taking it Day by Day

Today we ventured out of the house, but don’t worry we practiced social distancing.  We live just outside a moderately sized town but I headed into the smaller town that is also very near.  I wanted to stock up a few things while supporting a few of my favourite small businesses.  My first stop was to a caterer friend who makes freezer meals, so I could stock up my Grandmother’s freezer.  Next I hit the cheese shop, gluten free bakery and finally the chocolate store to get a hot chocolate (that I may not be able to get for a while).

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After we got home Eileen really wanted to go for a bike ride. Right now I am VERY grateful we live in the country.  I could not imagine still living in our small condo in the city as we go through all of this!  It won’t be easy but we have LOTS to be thankful for!

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Taking up a Hobby

It is officially Day 2 but it is the first day that we really have done much.  Dance was still on yesterday and things were still really sinking in.  We now have our groceries and are starting to adjust to this new reality.  We are not in a complete shut down but are practice social distancing.  Yesterday Eileen was cleaning out her closet and found a knitting loom.  She unravelled it last night and decided it would be a good time to restart.  Kaitlyn then decided that she would like to knit as well.  Luckily we had another loom.

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My first lesson, follow the lead of your kids.  It will amaze you what they decide they want to do.  If you want to try looming you can get a kit on Amazon and they will deliver right to your door (no need to venture out).

I’m still looking for something to inspire my 9 year old to get off technology, I’ll let you know how that goes.

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A Reason to Return to Blogging

I have not been onto my blog for a VERY long time.  My kids are now older, the world has changed a bit and we are a very busy family.  Usually we are never home, running between hockey arenas and dance studios.  My eldest is now 14, middle 11 and my son 9. Life is very different.  Professionally I am still in my Kindergarten class but I have done a lot of PD and my outlook on early education has continued to evolve.

And then everything started to change ….

Back in January my girls and I went to see ‘Come from Away’ in Toronto.  It is an amazing musical but the conversations we started to have have become some much more relevant in the last 3 days.  The song ‘I Am Here’ touched me more than any other in the entire musical.  Throughout history big events happen that are so relevant that everyone remembers where they were when it happened.  I remember being at our local arena with my Dad, listening the the radio, when the first Iraq War started.  I remember sitting in history class learning of the fall of the Berlin wall.  And I knew exactly what my answer was when my girls asked, “Where were you on September 11th?”  (For anyone interested, I had been married exactly 1 month, living in a condo in Mississauga, and I watched the events unfold on TV until I had to drive and pick up my husband from the subway station after his building was evacuated.)

The new question – where were you when the realization of COVID-19 hit.  We knew something was happening but had not really grasped how significant until …

March 13th – During the day I received an email saying our dance studio was having and emergency parent meeting at 7:00 that evening.  After I dropped the girls off just before 4:00 at the studio I headed home to do a quick workout and on the way heard that schools would be closed for the 2 weeks after March Break.  Short to day I didn’t get my workout in (first day in 73 days I missed).  I watched the news until I had to go to the meeting at 7:00.  We are a competitive dance team and had a meeting about how competitions would be affected.  In the days since then we have heard about travel advisories, social distancing, and toilet paper shortages.  There has since been balance in our house as we have heeded all the warnings but then the last family member who was still holding out (my husband) finally acknowledged something when he suggested we cancel brunch this morning.  We were planning on supporting a small local restaurant for brunch but the last warning that everyone returning from travel quarantine themselves was the thing that hit home for him (2 other partners at his firm were just returning from vacation).  There are things about this outbreak I will remember but March 13th will definitely be one of them.

So  … I thought I would use this opportunity to start up my blog.  I have lots of plans for these 3 weeks (or however long we are off).  I will share what my children are doing, professional reading and learning, and possibly other things that come along.

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Effective Planning in Mathematics

Part of being an educator is always continuing to be a learner.  This fall I decided to focus on my mathematics instruction in my Kindergarten room and start working towards by Mathematics specialist.  The first course on this path is P/J Mathematics Part 1 which I am currently taking online through ETFO.

As part of the first module I have created a series of blog posts on Effective Planning in Mathematics.  I chose to do this from a Kindergarten perspective.  There are four posts in this series:

Big Ideas in Mathematics

Thoughtful and Clear Planning

Daily, Unit and Long Range Plans

Cross-curricular Planning

I would love to hear perspectives of others.  Please post comments and links in the comment section.

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Cross-curricular planning

Meaningful integration deepens children’s understanding of the skills and concepts in each of the subjects that are involved.  Through meaningful integration, children can be encouraged to generate new connections and to explained their existing understanding.  Integration also helps children see how the knowledge and skills developed in one area can be relevant to other areas.

The Full-Day Early Learning-Kindergarten Program Draft Version 2010-2011 page 17

Throughout this series of blog posts I have talked about how slight changes sometimes need to be made in thinking and planning in order for these structures to be used in Kindergarten.  When it comes to cross-curriculuar planning this is an area that Kindergarten often leads the way!  We integrate everything.  Rarely is anything ever taught in isolation.  To give you an idea of how this looks let me explain some of the things that took place in the past couple of weeks in our classroom.  Since the focus of these posts is mathematics I will start with our math unit on sorting.  We read a number of books to introduce us to sorting:  A Lost Button  chapter in Frog and Toad are FriendsThe Button Box, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, and Sort it Out!  Lots of manipulative were put out in our Loose Parts Centre including big box of buttons.  When students started describing things by colours we started to study the primary colours in the visual arts centre and combine colours to create secondary colours (we also learned these words and added them to our word wall).  In our music lessons we were describing famous pieces of music by tempo – fast and slow, which connected to our movement in PE.  We had some local newspapers delivered and while learning about what a newspaper is (Media Literacy) we cut out picture of pumpkins and faces and sorted them.  Finally in science we cut open those pumpkins and sorted different types of pumpkin seeds, squash seeds and sunflower seeds.  Every different subject in our class was integrated making it more meaningful and engaging for our students!