Thursday, August 27, 2009
Ever since I learned how to make bread I started making pizza dough. The whole family loves it, including KK which is a big surprise! Do you know KK is the biggest pizza snob? She would only eat Round Table Pizza but now that she has had mine she is eating it all the time! I have to admit I make it at least once or twice a week! Do you know it only costs about $1.00 to make? I buy the cheese and pepperoni in bulk at Costco or Sam's Club. It is really easy to make too. I use my kitchen aide electric mixer and let it do all the work! The cheese is already shredded and for now I have been buying Ragu pizza sauce for the girls. For hubby and I, we use ranch dressing and add almost an entire head of minced garlic! Yummy! Anyway, here is the recipe if you would like it. I personally just stick all the ingredients at once in the bowl, turn the mixer on for 5-10 minutes, let it rise for an hour, roll it out, let it rise for about 15 more minutes, and then add my sauce, cheese and toppings!
Classic-Crust Pizza Dough Recipe
This recipe will make enough pizza dough for two, 12" deluxe pizzas. It's a good place to start if you've never hand-made dough before. It's not too much to work with at one time and requires no special machinery, (except your hands).
1 1/4 oz. - Active dry yeast, (or 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 1/2 cups - Warm water (110°F -115°F)
4 cups - White, all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. - Salt
2 tbsp. - Olive oil
2 tbsp. - Sugar
Extra Olive Oil
Pour the warm water in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and package of yeast. Stir the mixture slowly until yeast and sugar are dissolved. Let sit to allow the mixture to "mature" for about ten minutes or so. The mixture will begin to react; clouding and forming a foamy "head" on the surface of the mixture.
Add the salt and olive oil and stir again to combine and dissolve the ingredients. Add 1 cup of flour and whisk in until dissolved. Add the second cup of flour and whisk it in. Add the 3rd cup of flour and combine. By now the dough mixture should be fairly thick. Add the last cup of flour and, with your hands, begin to combine and knead the dough.
Remove the dough ball to a tabletop to knead it. You may need to add a dusting of flour from time to time to reduce the stickiness of the dough. Be patient, folding the dough ball in half and then quarters, over and over again for about 8 to 10 minutes, (or about 100 "cycles".) Kneading by hand is laborious, but very important. Better to over-knead than under-knead. You'll know you've done well when the ball no longer sticks to your hands. It will become a smoothly-textured ball slightly larger than a large grapefruit.
Coat the dough ball with a thin layer of olive oil, and place it in the bottom of a large mixing bowl which has also been coated on the inside with olive oil. Stretch a piece of kitchen film over the top of the bowl and set it in a warm place such an as un-lit oven, (ambient temperature of 70°F to 80°F). Allow the dough to rise, undisturbed, for 60 to 75 minutes. The dough will have grown to at least twice its original size.
Take the dough out of the bowl and cut in half with a knife. You now have two pizza dough balls, enough to make two (2) 12" deluxe pizzas. Take each raw dough portion and hand-mold them into balls. Press each doughball flat to squeeze and release any air trapped inside. Form the portions back into balls, smoothing the outer surface and tucking each ball "into itself" from underneath, (like folding a sock into itself), before storing or going on with the next step.
Aly drew a dragon this morning while she stays home sick from school. She pointed out to me that she drew patterns, the body is an ABC pattern, the legs are an ABCD pattern, the wings are an ABC pattern, and the spine is an AB pattern...so cute!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It has been three days now since Aly has been in her new class. The first day was a total mess. She was sad the entire day and didn't even play with anyone at recess. Yesterday after I encouraged her to play with her friends went a bit better. Today she actually came home at snack recess sick. She also had a substitute teacher. Guess she is getting used to all kinds of change in just three days!
You know, I am not against combination classes. In fact given the right mix I think they can be a great idea. I taught three years of combination classes. I taught a 2/3, a 3/4, and even a 4/5. My favorite was the 2/3 combination. However, in all of those years of teaching the combination classes, they always had a reasonable mix of students. What I mean is, if it was a 2/3 combination class, I would have 8/12 or 9/11, or 10/10. This would allow for enough in each grade level to have some peers in class that were of the same age.
My problem with Aly's class is that they have 21 second graders and 4 first graders. Two of the first graders they placed in their are the older first graders that actually age wise could be in second grade. One of the boys turned 7 in July and the other one turns 7 in October I believe. Aly on the other hand is on the younger side and just turned 6 in June. She is the youngest person in the class by a huge margin!
Some people may say that age doesn't matter but I would have to say that in some cases it does. Aly's is the tiniest little thing in that class. Plus, they are doing activities that foster competition among the grade levels. So is Aly going to think she is not very smart anymore because everyone else in the class knows more than her? Will this crush her academic confidence? They are already playing addition fact games with the whole class. Aly doesn't like it because she doesn't have any of her math facts memorized. This is making her insecure. Of course I am now working on it at home but it will still take time to learn. Can she understand that she shouldn't feel she needs to know as much as the second graders?
If she was in a straight first grade classroom she wouldn't even have to start memorizing her math facts until the second half of first grade. If they did play Around The World it would be with her peers who are much closer in level with her. This would not crush her confidence.
When I taught fourth and fifth grades do you know how many students would come to me thinking they were stupid? They would measure themselves next to their peers and their own academic beliefs in themselves would continue to lower. Is this what would happen to Aly being in a combination class with 83% of the students being second graders? Will she think she needs to measure up to them?
If she was in a combination class with more first graders I don't think it would be as much of an issue. She would be able to see students higher than her, at her level, and lower than her. Now she is seeing the majority of the class higher than her.
Seriously, how many parents would like this situation? Would the principal put her own child in this class? Would other teachers want their child in this type of combination class? What are your thoughts? Am I over reacting? Voice your opinion whether you agree with me or not. It is good to hear all sides!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
The first thing we found out in the morning is that the students would not be lining up with the other first graders. They would be lining up on the other side of the playground with the second and third graders. Aly was already looking nervous. I walked with her to the classroom and watched her find her cubbie and her desk. BTW she has a big girl desk which I told her was really cool! I think she liked that desk as well! I did take pics but I will have to post those tomorrow.
By the time I left Aly was still looking nervous and was sucking back the tears. I left feeling totally devastated just hoping that all my concerns were wrong and she would have a great day. I thought about her all day. I was happy when the time finally came to pick her up from school.
She was happy to see me and I was so glad to see her. When we got in the car I asked her all about her day. Her favorite part was that she got to have music class. I think music class is typically for second grade and up. Since Aly's class is mostly second graders they get to go. She was thrilled about this and loved it!
The next thing she told me both broke my heart and made me angry. At lunch she was supposed to be allowed to sit with the other first graders at their table. The principal told me she would tell the lunch staff. Just as I thought would happen, she didn't. I was prepared for this as I wrote a note and put it in Aly's lunch box. I told Aly if the cafeteria workers won't let you sit with the other first graders, just give them your note. Aly told me she tried to talk to them and give them her note but they wouldn't even let her talk. They snapped at her and made her sit with her new class' table. Aly was devastated. Here I told her that no matter what, with my note, she would be able to sit with the other first grade class, and they didn't let it happen. I feel so sad, like I let her down.
She also told me that she didn't play with anyone at all three recesses. She just sat on a bench because she was sad. She did say that she talked to two of her friends at lunch recess but they ran off and played. It broke my heart to know that she didn't play with her friends and sat all alone at recess.
Of course the minute we got home I called the principal. Yes, I am probably ruining all of my chances at any future employment but who the heck cares! This is about my daughter and I will put her needs before my own. I was quite shocked that they actually let me talk to the principal. I thought for sure they would put me off. They actually put me right though. I told her about the lunch incident and she apologized saying she hadn't had a chance to talk to them and she would make sure to talk to them tomorrow so it was all set. I also told her that Aly spent all three recess on the bench. You know what she said? She said, well I don't think she was in trouble. I assured her that no, Aly doesn't get in trouble at school. She said, well then she chose to do it. I said yes, she did choose to because she was sad. I told the principal it was all I could do to keep from crying because it made me sad that Aly was all alone and sad at recess.
So, tomorrow I will go to her school at lunch and make sure they let her sit with the other first grade class. Poor Aly can't be an advocate for herself so it is my job to make sure it happens! I am also hoping to see if I can watch her play at recess. I told her tonight that it would make my heart really happy if she could find some friends to play with at recess. I told her it would make her day happy too!
BTW if I have time tomorrow I want to tell you about how she is already being challenged on the first day of class. Wow, if she adjusts o.k. and stays in the class I bet she will learn a ton!
Friday, August 21, 2009
I thought Aly looked really cute. KK wanted to take a picture too. See I still let her look frumpy, maybe I will pay more attention when she starts preschool.
On this day she actually let me put a small trendy braid in the front of her hair from the left side of her bangs down to her ear. It looked so cute and I will probably try to do the same thing for pictures. It is probably hard to see in this picture but I absolutely loved it!
Well hopefully I will be able to keep it up. She stains her clothes rather quickly so hopefully we have enough to last through the year. Too bad for KK it is hard for her to get many hand me downs that are still in good condition.
The first week of school was crazy. All the classes had high numbers. Kindergarten was at 34 and first grade was at 30. I went to the Board Meeting to hear what they would do about the high numbers. They said they would be bringing back a teacher to help lower the class size. I then hear there would be three different options for re-organizing the classroom. They gave us the student enrollment numbers at the Board Meeting so I was able to figure out what two of the options would be. I couldn't for the life of me, figure out what that third option would be. I knew if it was either of the two that I worked out mathematic wise Aly wouldn't be changed to another class. Unfortunately for us, they chose the third option that I couldn't figure out and Aly will have to change classes.
I got the call from the principal yesterday afternoon. My heart sank. I didn't want to loose such a great teacher that we had and have Aly loose all of her friends. They told me they felt it was in the best interest to move Aly to a first/second grade combination class because she was the highest student in her grade level and it would be a disservice to her not to challenge her academically. They told me who her new teacher would be and it was at least a comfort to know she is one of the best teachers at the school.
Honestly, I am not opposed to combination classes for my child if she is in a combination class where it is her grade and the next grade level higher. However, once I got to thinking about it I started wondering how many first graders would be in this combination class? I went to school early to pick up Aly and asked. This is when I got angry. They are only putting four first grade children in the class. The rest of the class will all be second graders. How sad is that for these poor little first graders? They decided to move two boys and two girls. The girl that they are moving Aly doesn't even really know. She was in a different class last year. I am not sure who the two boys are but it isn't her friend Nathan.
Aly was devastated when I told her the news. She was sad to leave her teacher and sad to leave her friend Nathan. Of course as a parent, it makes me sad too. School isn't just about academics. Shouldn't we be considering their social development too? How is this a good placement for these four children socially? Aly doesn't have second grade friends that she plays with.
We will be looking into our options. If they are unwilling to move her back then we will look at moving her to a different school. There are better schools in our area anyway! This is really making me question if I want to stay at such a small school where there are combination classes in every grade level because they don't have extra money. In the meantime we will let her try it and see how she adjusts. Bottom line is, I will always put my child's needs first!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Aly was happy to go to class. Her only fear was wondering where she was supposed to sit at lunch since she wouldn't be sitting at the kindergarten tables anymore. I snuck into the class and took a quick picture of her at carpet time!
The day went much better than I could have anticipated. The kids were more settled and I was even lucky enough to have a parent volunteer for the entire day! I was thrilled. She was awesome too! It was a big help to have her and I was so happy for her help. She was previously an 8th grade teacher so she knew some tricks as well!
The one difficult boy in the class didn't start having any problems until after 10:30. The rest of the day was rough for him and I did have to call the resource teacher to come and help with him. It was nice though to have her help with him when he refused to comply. It takes away learning time from the other students so to be able to have someone come and deal with him was a huge relief!
The day was tiring and I was glad when it was over. All the children were accounted for and safe! That was my primary goal! Let us hope that over the next few weeks they get the numbers figured out and will drop them down to 25. If not it will sure slow down learning in the classroom and I am sure far less will be accomplished!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
So I subbed in a kindergarten class the second day of school. The thought of it isn't too terrifying for me but when I found out there were 33 children in the class, I became very nervous! My biggest concern was keeping all 33 children together, making sure they always knew where they were supposed to be, and that they stayed with me!
I have to admit I had a little trouble sleeping! I knew parents would be unhappy to see a sub and I knew the children would be very confused. I told the parents the situation and let them know the teacher's daughter was extremely ill.
Lucky for me the teacher has a student teacher in her class this year. The student teacher whose name is Sarah, is already very good with the class. I know she will do very well in her program. She volunteered to stay with me for the morning. This was a HUGE help! I was also lucky to have a resource teacher pop in and out and help out with the class as well!
My hardest part of the day ended up being after lunch, the last hour and forty five minutes of the day. I was alone, with all the children, they were tired, and ready to go home. There is also a special needs student in the class and I had a hard time getting him to listen and follow any of my directions. One of the hardest parts of the day was when we went into the classroom from the playground and he refused to come in. In fact he climbed onto the top of the playground equipment and said he would not come into the classroom. At this point all of the other students were in the room and I was standing in the doorway. I couldn't leave the students alone and I couldn't leave him alone either. The phone is located all the way on the other side of the classroom. So after coaxing didn't work I threatened to call the office. He didn't care the first three times I said it but after I stomped my feet and pretended to walk towards the phone he finally came in! So exhausting!
Oh yeah and I forgot to mention we got a new student today putting her numbers at 34 students in one kindergarten class! Crazy if you ask me! I think the Superintendent and principal should each be left alone with the class for an hour and then tell us if they agree with the high numbers!
I found out tonight I will need to return tomorrow to sub again. The teacher did find out her daughter has rosiola but she has to take her back to the doctors for additional tests such as a chest xray to check for pneumonia. Her fever is still ranging around 102 so they want to rule out an additional bacterial infection ontop of the rosiola.
A big thanks to my mother in law for coming to watch KK today and tomorrow while I sub. I know KK has enjoyed the alone time with her and it has really made it easy for me not to worry how KK is doing. She is in great hands!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Lucky for the girls they got to play with their chalk before Daddy discovered it! LOL.... KK loved the glasses! Aly's favorite part were the stencils. She loved tracing the elephant and lizard best!
Here are the dragons Daddy drew! KK helped him with the dragon on the right. She chose the colors to color it in for and colored the inside of the dragon! Aly helped with the orange dragon. She said she made him have a flower tail so he could trick his enemy's who would smell his tail, then he would breathe fire on them!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Here the girls are lined up outside waiting to go in backstage. They are quite hyper outside jumping around making lots of noise. The good news is once they got backstage where it was dark they did a good job being quiet. They loved the glow sticks taped down on the floor to show the girls where to stand.