Creating a Community, Education, PLC, Recipes, Teamwork

Banana Bread Bribery

Teaching is not a solitary sport…it is without a doubt a team effort! Great teachers know that the people around them are ESSENTIAL to their success. One of the 5 C’s of Authentic Teaching (check out “The Basics” tab on menu) is focusing on real collaboration with the people around you.

Another one of the 5 C’s is caring for yourself as an educator. Did you know educators make more decisions per minute than most professions? Teaching is exhausting on its best days. Those of us who feel passionately about teaching are willing to give it our all. BUT, we must take time for self-care. That leads me to Stress Baking. I, am a stress baker, and since I am frequently stressed…I frequently bake!

This is great news for my friends at school, because I like to share my baking with others (predominantly so I don’t eat it all myself). So, I am sharing some of my all time favorite recipes on this blog with easy step by step directions. Hopefully, if you like to bake, you might add this into your kitchen classics! Enjoy! Check out this video on my banana bread bribery thoughts….

THE RECIPE

Imagine the best smell EVER!!!
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 really ripe bananas
  • 1 T of vanilla (not imitation)
  • 2 c. Bisquick
  • 1 c. of chips (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, the new espresso chocolate…wow have to try that)
  • 1/2 c. nuts (pecan, walnut, or almond slivers) (OPTIONAL)

Banana Bread is delicious! I wish you could smell what homemade banana bread smells like…I am pretty sure it is unconditional love! A little dramatic – but seriously amazing. Here are the steps to get this delicious banana bread! Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.

Eggs, sugar, butter…the start to all great things!
  1. Get your softened stick of butter. You can leave it out for a while – or if you are like me and always forget – pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds. Start mixing that with your stand mixer, hand mixer, or if you are really old school a nice strong wooden spoon. Mix for 1 minute or so…
  2. Pour in 1 c. of sugar and cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. This means mix for a long time (around 2 – 3 minutes)!
  3. Add in 2 eggs and keep mixing. Sometimes, I will stop after I add the eggs and scrape down the side and bottom of the mixer if the sugar/butter mix is stuck to the sides. Then, I turn it on high for another 2 – 3 minutes until it is light, fluffy, and a golden yellow color.
  4. Now…this is where you really have to trust me…take a leap… You need 4 VERY RIPE bananas. I have taken a picture of the MINIMUM level of ripeness. Often, when my bananas start to look like this and people are only eating donuts around here – I will put them in the freezer. They turn dark brown/black and look rotten. Thaw these out in the microwave or on the counter and they make the BEST bread. But, if that grosses you out – use bananas that look like this. However, don’t EVER use green, super yellow, beautiful bananas. It messes the bread all up!
  5. While the mixer is running ON HIGH (stand mixer) drop in chunks of the bananas, or stop, put in a banana piece and turn on high, repeat (hand mixer), or with your now extremely strong arms – just keep mixing in the banana pieces in chunks. Do NOT mash your bananas before putting them in. If you use those amazing, frozen, rotten looking bananas, the whole thing will just slide in. Mmmmm….. The goal is to mix the bananas into the mix where it is in tiny pieces and all the good banana juices are in your batter!
Butter yellow…

5. Add in 1 Tablespoon of real vanilla (not imitation).

6. Now, you should have a shiny, smooth (except for banana chunks) batter. Slowly add in 2 c. of bisquick. Stir on high for a short time (1 min. or so) until the bisquick is totally combined with your wet ingredients.

The secret ingredient…

7. Take the bowl and decide on your chip of choice. The all time favorite is, surprisingly, white chocolate chips! But, any kind of chip will do. Put 1 c. of chips into a measuring cup and put about a T of bisquick or flour on top. OVER the bowl of your batter, mix the flour with the chips. Chips and flour will start falling over into your bowl. Once most have mixed – dump the rest out into your bowl. This way the chips will not all fall to the bottom. Fold them in with a rubber scraper/spatula/wooden spoon.

8. Now, you get to choose a pan and for me this is generally based on how much time I have. You can go with the traditional bread loaf pan, a square 9×9 pan, a smaller loaf pan, or the individual loaf pans. Any of these will work fine! The large loaf pans take between 30 – 50 minutes to cook (I know that is a huge range…I’ll explain in a minute), the small loaf pans take between 25-40 min., the 9×9 square pans take 20-30 min., and the mini pans take 15 – 30 min.

9. Once you have selected the perfect pan, spray generously with cooking spray or go old-school and butter/flour the pan. Pour the batter in no more than 3/4 of the pan (trust me…any higher and you are asking for trouble!) Put into the oven ON A SHEET TRAY! I do this because (1) I might occasionally overfill and then have batter spilling all over the oven and (2) you can put in as one group and take out as one group.

10. THIS IS WITHOUT A DOUBT THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP! Set your timer for the lowest amount of minutes I mentioned above. Then, when that timer goes off…start your babying/checking of that bread. ALWAYS UNDERCOOK YOUR BANANA BREAD! Again – like the rotten looking bananas…trust me! Undercooked banana bread is WAAAAAYYYY better than cooked to full term banana bread. So, once the minimum timer goes off, I start checking every 3-5 minutes (don’t forget to reset the timer). Each time I check I am looking for 3 things (1) that beautiful toasty brown color (2) I can touch the bread and not leave a finger indent and of course it is not jiggly and (3) I can put in a toothpick or knife and it comes out SLIGHTLY CRUMBLY – NOT CLEAN!!!

11. Allow the bread to cool on the counter for as long as you can wait (in our house it is rarely more than 5 min.) Don’t panic if the middle sinks a little – in undercooked, super delicious banana bread this is an occupational hazard. Then, you are ready for BANANA BREAD BRIBERY! Take that absolutely delicious banana bread to school. Share it with your colleagues. Use it to never forget that it takes everybody giving, sharing, and being their best with each other to make the amazing moments happen at school and in the lives of our students. Here is the banana bread on a table full of food…my very favorite thing in the world…at a lunch to welcome our newest team member before the school year started! Have fun sharing your stress reliever with your co-workers and bribing people to like you just a little bit more than they might have without it!

Final Note – This recipe is amazing because you can basically make any kind of bread with it. Replace the 4 ripe bananas with about 2 cups of any mushy/liquidy fruit combo. (Ex. peach bread, blueberry/lemon, sweet potato, one time I even made an acorn squash version, etc.) You can add in spices/flavorings. Each time your batter should end at the same basic consistency as the banana bread version. If it is too thick – I add in buttermilk or milk. If it is too thin, I add in more Bisquick.

# Professional Development, Creating a Community, Education

The Art and Science of Teaching

Need a mid year reminder about what kind of teacher you are….check out this post! I have developed a theory that teaching is 50% art and 50% science. (For my math teacher friends – check out that math reference!!). Art is the instinctive, reflective, and creative side of teaching. Science is the skill based, organized, and experienced side of teaching. All teachers are some combination of these two elements. Some teachers are almost 100% art or 100% science while others may be various combinations of art and science. Great teachers are an authentic combination of art and science that yields results. This can look differently for each teacher depending on what is true to them. Ultimately, teachers of all types should strive to find the closest 50/50 balance they can between art and science in their teaching.

Explaining the Art and Science of Teaching

I thought it would be helpful to use my two dogs to show the difference between the art and science sides of teaching. Yes, my two dogs. Hopefully, this will make it abundantly clear what qualities each side of teaching possesses.

The face says it all!

Maui and the ART of teaching –

Maui is ALL art! Maui lives every day to the fullest, is utterly impulsive, and frequently runs head first into chaos. Maui does not like rules or constraints of any kind. He is free with his love, enthusiasm, and affection. He is equally giving with his destruction, irritation, and leaving messes for others to clean up. When we are using our ART side in teaching we can be:

  • Funny
  • Creative
  • Inspiring
  • Out of the Box thinker
  • Loving
  • Passionate
  • Sees the big picture

But, like all things, there is a downside to the teacher who is primarily ART. When teachers operate from this side predominantly these qualities can show up:

  • Unplanned
  • Chaotic
  • Unprepared
  • impacts others plans
  • overly emotional
  • Misses details

Always worrying!

Maisie and SCIENCE of teaching –

Maisie is ALL Science! She is routine based, single minded, and only wants to do what is expected. She is absolutely baffled when a routine changes or a new person arrives. She wants to stay right in line with her leaders and aims to please consistently. However, when she gets overwhelmed, she loses it completely. Often, she simply lacks the tools to pivot! Literally, will run into a wall if her leader moves too quick in a new direction. An actual wall! When we are using our science side in teaching we can be:

  • Organized
  • Structured
  • Clearly focused
  • Solid routines
  • Lots of knowledge
  • Hard Worker
  • Detail oriented

Again, just like the primarily art teacher, the predominantly SCIENCE teacher struggles with these qualities:

  • rigid and inflexible
  • unsure of changes
  • Worried
  • Angry easily
  • Unable to quickly alter course
  • gets lost in the details, missing the purpose

So, which one sounds more familiar to you? How can you determine which way you lean towards and then purposefully balance better? Read on to see what type of teacher you are and how you can balance your art and your science more evenly!

What type of teacher are you?

Check out this link to see the original document of the types of teachers and access links:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/12tTSa4BIuuDIc7Ct7wPt8SKQmxpTD3774IQNh39he6Q/edit?usp=sharing

Behavior Management, Behavior Plan, Creating a Community, Education, Intervention

You won’t get the WOW’s if you don’t know the HOW’s!

Here is an updated version of this post that I launched my blog with. I thought mid-year…on the long haul to Spring Break…it would be a great time to remind all of us the importance of procedures, classroom expectations, and building a community. I would love to hear your WOW success stories or a video detailing a challenge you are asking for support with. I will answer your concerns with advice that may help YOU and ME! All of this will use an amazing program called flipgrid. You simply have to click on this link: https://flipgrid.com/af6a49a4 Password is Athowsandwows You will be prompted to add flipgrid to your computer, phone, or tablet. Once you have added it – you will submit a video that will be part of our community link. Others can see your post and celebrate or provide support. I will approve all video posts before they go live on the site. I hope this will be a great chance to share some wow’s and remind ourselves of some how’s.

Each year, teachers start full of excitement for the amazing year they plan to have. Everything is fresh and new. The possibilities for WOW moments and results seem endless. Unfortunately, no teacher feels this way all year long. Teaching has highs and lows that great teachers learn to manage by self-reflection, student self-reflection, and using data in every area to drive their decisions. Teachers that do this – get those WOW’s! WOW moments are the ones that make it all worthwhile. It’s the moment you realize a reluctant reader loves their first book or a child who entered your room with pain as their companion has found a safe place to be authentic each day. It’s the moment your kids come together to support each other or the test results that show that every kid has grown. Teachers get paid in WOW’s (way more than their check) and get rejuvenated by WOW’s. They make a kid leave your classroom at the end of the year feeling like they had the BEST YEAR EVER!

For new teachers, burned out teachers, stuck in a rut teachers, or just your standard doing their thing teachers; creating a classroom community that fosters a love of learning and a sense of inclusion can be the most challenging part of their jobs. However, this is the absolute, most essential part of great, authentic teaching. Some teachers think classroom community is not their job because they teach a subject (math, reading, science,etc.). Some teachers have no idea how to do it, so they avoid it until the classroom implodes. Some teachers are furious they are being asked to meet their student’s emotional and social needs when there are trained counselors to do that. Some teachers feel all this mumbo jumbo takes away from their instructional time. Whatever the reason teachers avoid crafting this community…. IT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING THEY CAN DO TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS ACADEMICALLY.

I have seen time and again that students must take ACADEMIC RISKS to learn. This means a student must feel safe enough (emotionally, socially, physically) to raise their hand, ask for help, admit they don’t understand a concept, or even work with their peers. If a student thinks they will be made fun of, criticized, mocked, pushed, or any other unsafe behavior; they will not take an academic risk. Without an academic risk, students simply will not grow academically to their full potential.

That leads us to the 5 HOW’s! So, you want to get those WOW moments in your classroom to increase, expand, and just generally happen as often as possible? You need to intentionally create a classroom community that fosters learning by creating a safe atmosphere where students take academic risks. Taking the time BEFORE you start the year to reflect on your day and the procedures and expectations you need to create and teach will be the best gift you can give yourself as a teacher. So, watch each video where I explain the HOW’s and then think through the guiding questions below. On Teachers Pay Teachers, you can download a planning sheet for free to use while you read this article and watch the videos. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Sellers-Im-Following/Add/Authentic-Teaching-By-Kristine-Barberio Please comment on the blog with ideas, suggestions, or questions! Teachers get all their best ideas from watching someone else do it better!

GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS ENTER/START?

  • What is your vision for your morning check-in time with your students?
  • What do you want your students to accomplish during morning check-in time?
  • How do you want students to enter your classroom?
  • What do students do while they are waiting for class to start?
  • What do students do once you started whole class guided practice?
  • How do students enter into workshop groups or start a workshop time?
  • What do students do when they enter the cafeteria?
  • What do students do when they enter special area/elective classes?
  • What do students do at the beginning of a test or assessment?
  • What do students do at the start of an assembly or special program?
  • How do students get their materials/supplies/work when class is starting?
  • Where are you during morning check-in?

GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS EXIT/LEAVE?

  • What do students do when you announce class is done?
  • How do students line up or leave your room?
  • What do students do when you end one subject and start another in your classroom?
  • How do students behave in hallway?
  • Where do students wait or go for next class?
  • What do students do with their materials/supplies/work when class has ended?
  • How do students leave their workshop group and return to whole group?
  • How do students clean up and leave the cafeteria?
  • What do students do at the end of a test/assessment?
  • What do students do at the end of an assembly or special program?
  • How should students be waiting at the end of a special area/elective class?
  • How do students leave your classroom and go to dismissal?
  • Where are you during dismissal?

GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS MOVE?

  • How do students move around your classroom?
  • How do students get supplies/materials in your classroom that are not with them?
  • How do students get in line?
  • How do students walk/behave when they are in the hallways or public spaces?
  • How do students play at recess?
  • How do students behave in P.E. or Sports settings?
  • When can students get out of their seat in your room?
  • How does a student go to the restroom, to get water, or to the nurse?
  • If you need something delivered, how do students go without the teacher? (ex. in pairs to office, groups of 3 to nurse, etc.)
  • How do students move in a fire/tornado/earthquake/lockdown drill?
  • How do students come to the rug/carpet?
  • When/how can a student sharpen a pencil?

GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS WORK?

  • When you are giving direct instruction, what should students be doing?
  • How are you going to teach group work expectations?
  • What system will you use for putting students into groups?
  • How do you teach partner work expectations?
  • What are your expectations during a workshop time? Where will you sit to maintain supervision?
  • Where do students have to sit during work time? What are the expectations for where they sit?
  • Can students work with other students on assignments other than individual assessments?
  • What happens if someone is not working effectively on their own? in a partnership? in a group?
  • Where do students who need extra support sit? Who gives the extra support? How often?
  • Are you going to have a help or answer station for students?
  • How do you help students problem solve first before asking for your help? What systems and/or explicit instruction can you give them to increase their independent learning?
  • What do students do when they are done? (This is a trick question – they should never be done! A classroom rule for me is “If you are doing nothing – you are doing something wrong!” One of my concepts is called 3 OUT. You should always have 3 activities a student will be able to complete if they are done early. These can be pre-made centers, online extension activities, reading with response cards pre-made, etc.)
  • Where do students place their work when done? What are your expectations for how it looks? What is on it?
  • What are students doing their work in or on?
  • What is your procedure for giving students feedback on their work and how can they fix work?
  • Do you give extra credit work?
  • What is your policy on late work?

GUIDING QUESTIONS – HOW DO STUDENTS TREAT/SPEAK TO EACH OTHER?

  • What are your expectations for the ways students talk to each other?
  • What happens if a student teases, name calls, or makes fun of another student?
  • What happens if a student speaks in a rude or unkind tone of voice?
  • How do students solve problems with each other? Peer mediation? Teacher problem box? Classroom Meetings? Morning meetings?
  • What happens if students are horseplaying?
  • What happens if students are doing minor physical actions – pushing, tapping each other, kicking, tripping, pinching, the latest “slap” game, etc?
  • What happens if a student does a major physical action (like hitting, starting a fight, etc.)?
  • What is your system if a student needs a cool down time or space?
  • How does a student let you know of a problem? Can it be in front of the class? Can it be loudly in anger?
  • What is the procedure for tattling vs. reporting a concern?
  • What is your policy for problems that arise from social media activities outside of school hours or jurisdiction?
  • What system do you use in your classroom for management? Is it school-wide? Do you need something additional?
  • How do students learn to intentionally praise each other? (ex. morning meeting or class meeting with compliments, “Fill your bucket” program, etc.)
  • How are students expected to behave with a student who has a behavioral/emotional need? (Sadly, some students with significant behavior or emotional concerns are mistreated by their class often with the unintentional “blessing” of the teacher who feels that they child “deserves” it because of the way they behave in the classroom.)
  • What happens if a student makes fun of another student after they have been redirected/reprimanded by you?
  • Do you have a whole class system for addressing whole class concerns that allows students to generate their own solutions?