Thursday, May 31, 2012

You're Killin' Me Smalls!

"Want a s'more?"
"S'more of what?"
"No no... do you want a s'more?
"I haven't had anything yet. How can I have something of nothing?"
"You're killin' me smalls!"

How can you not love The Sandlot? Seriously, an amazing movie. Speaking of s'mores, I made a little s'more treat for my weekend visitors. I'm so excited to have company this weekend - I plan on baking all weekend. My guests don't know it (yet), but they are just my guinea pigs in many experimental recipes. Mwaha-ha-ha. I'm only kidding. Sort of.

I found this simple recipe for S'more Bars on Sweat Pea Kitchen. Click HERE for the recipe. I'll show you how I made them through a little photo slideshow.

S'more Bars. Compliments of Sweet Pea Kitchen.

First step: graham crackers.

Sift together your dry ingredients.

Chat with your sous-chef about the weather and the raccoon ransacking your back porch. 

 Cream the butter and sugars.

Toss in those dry ingredients, slowly. Try not to drop the egg shell in either!

Fold in chocolate chips and...

Mini marshmallows. 

Drop a scoop of batter onto the graham crackers. Cook for 5 minutes. 

Press in chocolate bar. Cook for 7 more minutes. 

Cool on a wire rack.

Take an Instagram picture and share with all of your Twitter followers. 

Then enjoy with all of your friends over the weekend! :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I'm Reading

Thanks to Amy at Juice Boxes & Crayolas, I was inspired to post about my current reading selection.

Book Club is prepping to meet next week and I'm so excited to discuss the book we picked. I am positive that a box of Kleenexes will need to be on hand.  It's a book that will truly tug on your heartstrings, your emotions, and make you ask yourself so many questions.

Have you heard of Nie Nie? We're reading her new book, "Heaven is Here". It tells the story of her near fatal airplane crash where 80% of her body was burnt. Honestly, I've never cried while reading a book before. This book got me.

I highly suggest you pick up a copy on Amazon right now!

What are you reading for the summer?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Banana Splits - Texas Sized!

I very rarely save room for dessert. Usually when the waiter swings back toward our table and asks the famous question, "Anyone save room for dessert?" my face begins to shrivel up and I sadly respond, "No..."

I have a new philosophy. Since I never save room for dessert, sometimes it is just necessary to eat dessert first. I believe many people will agree that this is probably the best thing I've ever blogged about.

Let's back track a few months to spring break - hop in your delorean if you will. We took a little trip to Dallas to visit my best friend. It was a spectacular vacation and great to be with good friends. One afternoon before hitting up the pool we went to the most amazing grocery store, Central Market.

For example, they have TEXAS SIZED bananas for everyone: Not just for families ... but singles too!

After staring at the bananas and photographing them for way too long, I selected a bunch and continued on my merry way. I was eager to make a mini banana split and spring break felt like the perfect time to try it out!

Mini Banana Splits
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Sprinkles
  • Cherries
  • Whip topping

Baked Pita Chips Not Included...

Here comes the easy part:
  • Chop your bannas into thirds (or halves) and dip them into melted chocolate. 
  • Roll the warm chocolate in sprinkles and let harden. 
  • Top with whip cream and a cherry!
  • Eat quickly or else the whip cream will melt!

Abby, the food model!

Tasty Treats!

The banana splits were tasty and a huuuuge mess! I'm not sure how food bloggers make their whip cream look so perfect, but ours was a hot mess. We HAD to eat them immediately. Which brings us back to my new philosophy of eating dessert first. Not a bad idea, huh?

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Pirate's Life For Me

Life Lately is just lovely. I'm linking up with Hayley at The Weekend File to give you the scoop on my awesome Friday.

One of the great things about living close to my home town, is being able to hop in the car and be with my family in under two hours. It's a beautiful thing! On Friday, I spent the entire day with my nephew. I named our day, Beckett and JJ's DAY OF FUN! (cue Janis from Friends)

Maybe it's the science teacher in me, but we started our DAY OF FUN with a little science experiment.

We used baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring.  BDE used the dropper and placed vinegar (with food coloring mixed in) on the baking soda. 

He loved it! He kept going and going and going....

...and we made a little mess. We had to have a wardrobe change. The vinegar and baking soda have a chemical reaction with one another. If you listen closely, you can hear the sizzzzzleee.  It was a great start to our rainy Friday morning!

Later that afternoon, we did an art project. We went on a little pirate mission to gather marbles from my Dad's (aka Grandpa's) house. We used a marble, washable paint, and a box.

My summer break has started off with a bang! First, a day of fun with my nephew. Next, a pirate party to celebrate his 3rd birthday, and yesterday I hung out at the Cardinals game! I'm a lucky gal.

Happy Birthday BDE!!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Acting a Little Crazy

Holy moly! It's summer vacation. I know this for SURE because It's 9:00 AM on a Thursday, I'm in my pajamas, and I'm watching Kelly Ripa on TV. Yes .. Yes.. this IS real life.

The last day of school was a roller coaster of emotions. While signing yearbooks, I almost lost it (several times) when one student shouted, "Ms. Furnell.. I've been looking for you EVERYWHERE." Little moments! I am so excited to continue my fun as a teacher in 5th grade next year.

Of course, I'm crazy - and I started planning for next year. It's what I do. I plan, plan, plan, and plan some more. I've even already planned an itinerary for a vacation in two weeks. I can't help it!

Continuing with my crazy planning, I started working on a bulletin board for next year. Next year, I am going to utilize a theme of "Discovery" for my classroom. I'm going to tie everything back to this idea of discovering new knowledge, new information, new frontiers, etc.

So, I invite you to DISCOVER SCIENCE!

The Rocket Was My Favorite Part!

This year, I really struggled with our end of the day routine. It was absolutely bonkers. There was little consistency and I felt like I was going to scream often. I've decided to go with a manageable job system for next year. The students will apply for jobs they want and keep those jobs for a quarter or semester maybe? I haven't thought that far.

Our job chart was inspired by the oh-so-wonderful-and-life-altering-and-life-consuming iPhone.


Once I figure out what I want each job to be, I'll write them on the job chart. Exciting, huh?

Now, I'm off to begin my first day of summer break at the spa. Thanks to a wonderful birthday present, I get to spend my afternoon being pampered!

Happy Thursday! :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Last Day Blues

UPDATE! If you would like a copy of our memory book - please email me: ( I don't always see the comments!!)

The end of the school year is such a bittersweet feeling. I know I'm going to sob like a little baby when my 5th graders leave, but I am so excited for what the summer has in store for me (and others!). Our last day is May 22 - only four and half more days! Absolutely bonkers.

Here are few activities I have tried to wrap up the year with my kids.  These ideas aren't groundbreaking by any means, but a fun way to maintain classroom community throughout the last few days.

Last Day Blues

Have you heard of the popular first day book, First Day Jitters? Well, Last Day Blues it the companion book to read on the last day of school.  It just arrived on my doorstep from Amazon a few days ago, and I can't wait to read it aloud. My last science rotations are tomorrow, so I'll be reading this to two different classes tomorrow. I'll keep a set of tissues on hand. 

Memory Books

I have students fill out memory books describing their height, age, favorite foods, friends, and favorite funny moments from the year. We had fun reminiscing about the year as we completed memory books today. Email me and I'll send you a copy of mine to edit on your own!

Mystery Person

I created a grid with 28 squares. Inside each square I wrote a clue about each student and a few teachers. Then, the students have to figure out which student's name belongs in each box.  This was a fun activity for me, because I got to pick out something unique about each student. Plus, it's remarkably easy because by now I know these kids sooo well! Tomorrow, we will have fun trying to identify who the mystery person in each box is. 

Word Searches

Using the oh-so-wonderful website,, I plugged all of my kid's names into a word search. Today I heard the following sentences SHOUTED across the room:
"WHERE AM I!? I can't find me!"
"Sal, I found you!"
From an outsider's perspective, it sounded like a weird game of paper hide and go seek. Very enjoyable!

What kinds of activities do you do at the end of the year?
Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Authentic Writing!

Once upon a time, I wanted to a be a big wig journalist. Quicky, I realized I wasn't cut out for the field of journalism. I barely made it a semester in college, the only "journalism" aspect that stuck with me was my trusty Mac computer. This weekend, my trusty Mac came to my rescue after movie maker failed me. I'm getting ahead of myself.

As an end of the year writing project, I wanted my students to engage in an authentic writing task. I wanted them to create a product for a purpose. So! That's exactly what we did. My students had the task of creating How To videos for the upcoming 5th graders. These How To videos were to give advice on how to survive 5th grade.

Click here to purchase on TpT!

We started as a whole group and brainstormed what information was necessary at the beginning of 5th grade.  As a group, we came up with several bits of information that is important for 5th graders to know. Over the next couple days, small groups of students worked together to come up with a topic and began brainstorming. Groups were instructed to fill out a template (with supplies and step by step directions) to get the ball rolling for their videos. 

Our topics are:
How to Tackle the MAP Test
How to Organize Your Binder
How to Be a Role Model
How to Survive DARE
How to Survive Fractions

Next, we jumped into storyboards and scripts. This was so fun! The students came up with scripts on their own that included humor, costumes, props, and advice! I did have to guide a few groups in a different direction and encourage them to actually SAY the advice they wrote about. Once we got over that hump, we started practicing practicing practicing. 

Once we practiced a gazillion (yes, that's a word) times, we started filming. This was so fun! I wish I could make a blooper reel of all the funny outtakes. My little actors are made for the stage! Although.. I did have to remind them often, that laughing at their own jokes wasn't necessary. I said this line continuously, "You WROTE the jokes, you know they are funny! Don't laugh at them!!" Nonetheless, we made it through.. several... several..several takes. 

Click here to purchase my How To Writing kit on Teachers Pay Teachers! Or you can email me and I'll send it to you for free! :)

We were on a roll, filming everyday and just as I thought this project was going to be a major success - we ran into a little hiccup or two. Apparently, Windows Movie Maker hates Flip cameras and me. Yes, I'm at the point where I'm taking this personally. Let me break this down for you-
Plan A: Edit the clips in Movie Maker and publish to
Plan B: Edit the clips in Picassa and publish to

......did either of these work? No. Keep chugging along!
Plan C, D, E, F: Install new converting software on my computer and edit the clips

Did this work? ALMOST! But no.

Plan W: Load all of the clips on my home computer and edit them at home and publish to

Did this work? YES! YES! It worked! God Bless iMovie and my trusty 'ol Mac!

All of my students signed a consent form to have their video published online and viola! You have the final products. Enjoy! Try not to learn too much now! Check out the rest on School Tube. Click the title for the link to the video.

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