Foodie Friday~Million Dollar Spaghetti! A Must-Try!!

I have NEVER been a fan of baked spaghetti dishes…UNTIL I tried this recipe! It has since been added to the regular dinner rotation, and is a MUST for every major holiday!

I think it’s the cream cheese and mozzarella (and I’m sure the butter helps a little 😜) that knocks it out of the park. If you looking to cut some of the fat you can use cottage cheese instead, and although I am not a fan and was skeptical at first, I couldn’t even tell the difference when I used it!

If you looking to WOW family or friends, make this and I guarantee it will be a hit. And it’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezyyyy!

Click any picture to get the recipe!!

Hope you love it as much as we do!



How Labels Can Limit Children


At times we are quick to assign a label to the actions and behaviors of children. Whether the label is positive or negative it can have lasting effects on their future. Words like bossy, violent, mean, disruptive, out of control, or attention seeking are thrown around as easily as boy and girl without a thought of how that label could seep into the spirit of a child and create a self-fulfilling prophesy. The tendency then is to focus on the negative labels and begin to look for confirming evidence of it. This can prevent us from seeing any positive qualities in a child (which by the way they ALL have) and limit our expectations of them. I wonder how many CEOs may have been labeled bossy or activists labeled disruptive as children?

Even positive labels like smart, talented, confident or kind could also put children in box that may be difficult to live up to consistently because after all, they ARE children. As they grow and develop their personalities and characteristics may change and they may resent the label even if it is a positive one.

In some cases medical diagnoses are necessary to allow children the support and accommodations they need in order to achieve their best. Be clear, there is a difference between a diagnosis and a label. But in the same way, a diagnosis should not define a child- it’s not “who they are”. A diagnosis only details what is needed for them to achieve. It is the same as being near-sighted, which allows for glasses in order to make up for the medical deficit of blurry vision.

All children deserve the chance to develop into the amazing human being they were created to be. We MUST be careful with our words, labels, expectations, and the overall effect we have on them. Be careful with labels, and only when necessary, label the behavior or deficit…NOT THE CHILD.

Let’s make sure we aren’t killing the spirits of children before they ever get a chance to emerge. We don’t have the right to do that. So to be safe, let’s just not label. When we see a behavior that is counterproductive, let’s teach a skill or behavior to replace the unappealing behavior. That is our job anyway…isn’t it?

SEE the child, don’t stigmatize them!

Food for thought, now you do the dishes! 🙂


The Power of Social Stories!

Social stories are a very effective way to teach and reinforce routines and expected behaviors in the classroom and at home. Children love to read, retell, and listen to stories which makes this an ideal method to teach routines, expectations, and social skills. The story format disarms children since you are not correcting or scolding them, and they can be more receptive to seeing the characters in the stories make mistakes and solve problems. Children can identify with the feelings and behaviors of those characters and are introduced to a new way of responding and reacting in similar situations.

The site below is a great one-stop shop for social stories and explains why, when, and how to use them. The also have TONS of examples of free social stories. Even better, they have an abundance of images you can use to create your own indivualized stories!! Click the link below the picture to check it out!! 



Top 10 Must Have Literacy Books — For The Love of Literacy

I love everything about reading. I love reading, I love teaching reading and I love reading about teaching reading. 🙂 Here are my top 10 books that I believe that every literacy leader should read. I have read most, and I have a couple that are on my summer reading list. 🙂 Teaching with Intention: […]

via Top 10 Must Have Literacy Books — For The Love of Literacy

Sight Words on a Ring II — The ESOL Mentor Teacher

As a follow up to my previous post on sight words on a ring, I have created a PDF of Kindergarten and First Grade Sight Words. If you would like a copy of the PDF, please email me. The yellow cards are for Kindergarten students. The green cards are First Grade students. The combined yellow […]

via Sight Words on a Ring II — The ESOL Mentor Teacher

Student Agency vs. Reading Instruction — Making Good Humans

It is no secret that this year I have been trying to create a classroom culture that respects and supports’ my students’ agency in their journey as learners. One of my biggest challenges this year has been figuring out how traditional approaches to reading instruction can fit within a model designed to help students take back ownership […]

via Student Agency vs. Reading Instruction — Making Good Humans

Reading is Supposed to be Quiet, Right? Wrong! — Sweet Tea and a Live Oak Tree

In our classroom, I utilize a reading workshop model. A mini-lesson followed by independent reading and guided reading. I’ve always wondered how I could make independent reading more robust. I love the “why” of independent reading but there were always a few students who weren’t totally into it. Given that so much time is spent independent reading […]

via Reading is Supposed to be Quiet, Right? Wrong! — Sweet Tea and a Live Oak Tree

Foodie Friday! Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (Cook’s Illustrated) — Chew Out Loud

Touted as Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, these cookies live up to their name. They stay so soft and chewy for days. Browned butter here makes all the difference, creating a toffee-like depth that makes your taste buds oh-so-happy. Happy almost-weekend, All I’m so ready for it, after this whirlwind of a week. That includes today’s incessant…

via Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (Cook’s Illustrated) — Chew Out Loud