When I ask my students what they or their parents typically make for supper, I get a lot of similar responses. Most tell me they make and or eat whatever is easy, comes out of a box, comes out of the freezer, can be made in the microwave or picked up from a fast food restaurant on the way home. It’s so sad that convenience foods are so heavily relied on instead of preparing foods from scratch. This is one of the reasons I like teaching about casseroles! Not only are they easy to make, include a variety of foods and nutrients, but they can be made in advance, put in the freezer for future meals and convenience and because they get us in the kitchen cooking and using a lot of staple ingredients from the pantry. Way to go casseroles!
During my unit titled “Off to College”, we talk about a variety of topics related to college living and dorm life. One of these topics includes the “Freshmen 15”. Students always wonder if it’s true and if so, how does it happen. Since students were curious, I decided to let them figure out the answers by having them research the topic and create a game board that incorporated all of the information they learned in a fun, creative and competitive way. Students took turns playing each others games, providing feedback and learning something about the “Freshman 15”!
My junior high classes rotate every six weeks which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to cover all the material that I need or want to. Because of this, I find myself trying to piggyback multiple concepts and standards into a lesson or activity. So when I teach about how to calculate unit prices and read package labels, both ingredient lists and nutrition facts, it makes sense to combine the two into a hands-on hot cocoa mix taste testing lab. Not only does it get the students into the kitchen, but it ties back to everything we covered so far in the rotation, helping them to review the concepts previously learned. In the lab students determine which product they think tastes the best and then in the follow-up students use the product labels to compare everything from unit price to ingredients to nutrition. Do students know their brands like they think they do? Can they determine the healthiest brand for their dollars? This lesson helps them find out!
What do you do when your custodian has leftover tiles from various school projects? Ask him if you can have them for a class project! That’s what Laurie Hagberg, a FACS teacher from Mankato West High School, Minnesota did. Laurie uses these tiles in a refurbished coaster project in her Interior Design class that not only reinforces the color schemes, but show’s her students how they can recycle items into gifts for their future homes, apartments and/or dorms. Students enjoy this creative, hands-on project and are excited to take them home!
Some of the most cherished gifts our family has received over the years have been made by the hands of the people we love. In fact we look forward to those gifts every year as they’ve kind of become a tradition. Sometimes those gifts made with love were born out of necessity due to limited resources available to go out and purchase store bought gifts, but many times they were made and given out of love for the recipient(s) of the gift. For example, many years ago, very close friends of ours began making us a delicious candy-like treat that can only be described as “Christmas Crack” because once you start eating it, you can’t stop! We love the candy and our friends and look forward to that gift every year! After all, how can you look at, use or consume that wonderful gift without thinking fond thoughts of the talented person/people who took the time to make it for YOU! Why not teach your students how they can use their talents, time and resources to make gifts of love to give to those in their lives that they cherish most during this Christmas and Holiday season?
Teaching about insurance can get a bit intense and to be honest, sometimes boring. In order to make the insurance unit aMayhem.Project.Scene little more exciting and hands on, I had students create 3-D scenarios and scripts as though they were pitching new material for an insurance advertisement similar to All State’s Mayhem commercials. Students created some humorous, yet realistic scenes and then rotated through the stations to apply their insurance knowledge. How do you make teaching insurance more interesting and fun? Share in the comment section below.
Teaching about families in crisis can be difficult especially when you don’t always know what’s going on in the home lives of your students. However, it is important to discuss because every family, at one time or another, will face one or more at some point in their lives. No one is immune. This lesson and video case study is just one of many that could be used in the classroom. I like it because it is a way for students to apply all of the information learned about families as well as explore some crisis themes in more depth.
I find that most students don’t know the difference between dry and moist cooking methods. This lesson and lab help them to understand the difference and explore the various ways that the same food can be prepared using different methods. Students enjoy the interactive activities within the lesson as well as preparing and tasting vegetables as they practice and apply some of the techniques. This lesson also incorporates the vocabulary tool Quizlet which helps students learn their terms in an interactive way. Students actually ask me to use Quizlet on a regular basis to learn and assess terms.
While listening to the news on the radio, it was announced that in Pennsylvania 1 in every 5 children lives below the poverty level. I’m sure this number varies from one state to the next but I thought it to be a rather scary statistic. This lesson and the included activities has students learning about poverty, what causes it, and an engaging simulation to see how easy it could be for some to live in poverty no matter how hard they try to avoid it.