#MyFavFriday: Food Fridays

Fridays are food days in my office.  There are 11 teachers in the office and we created a signup sheet with each Friday listed and post it where all can see. We share the sign up and it is so much fun to see what treats will be brought in each Friday, some are homemade (#pinterest), some are store bought, but it doesn’t matter, we have a great time sharing and enjoying the treats.

I had treats this Friday and I scoured my recipe board on #pinterest and my recipe box at home for some good ones to bring in. I wanted to do a dip theme.  I made three different dips and they turned out great!  Here are the recipes for your enjoyment!

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip (WARNING – very addictive! Came from my recipe box)
1 8oz. cream cheese (softened, but not melted)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened, but not melted)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (these were hard to find, you want the itty bitty ones, I used Nestle Mini Morsels)

Mix together the cream cheese and butter.  Then add in the powdered sugar and mix. Add in the brown sugar and vanilla next and mix.  Then add in the chips.  I mixed it all by hand and it came out great.  It will be a little runny looking, but put it in the fridge and it will harden up a bit.  When served it has the consistency of the inside of a cheesecake.

Serve with graham crackers.

*This dip was a HUGE hit! It tastes exactly like cheesecake, maybe even better and is SO easy to eat.  I recommend not making this recipe anywhere near “that time of the month” or you may find that you have eaten it all by yourself. 🙂

Pickle Dip (similar to the wrap my mom use to make, came from my mom)

1 Package Buddig Beef – chopped (I could NOT find it at my Wal-mart, so I purchased the Wal-mart smoked ham slices in a bin with a blue top and just cut it up and added to taste)
1 8oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped dill pickles (I prefer Claussen brand)
1/8 garlic powder (didn’t have it, but had a garlic dip mix, so I used that to taste)

Mix together and refrigerate. Serve with Townhouse Flip pretzel crackers.

Cheddar Bacon Dip (a.k.a Crack) (Came from #pinterest)

16 oz sour cream
1 packet Ranch dressing mix (I thought it was too ranchy, I would use less next time)
3 oz bacon bits (in the bag not jar)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together and refrigerate 24 hours. Serve with chips and/or veggies.

Have a great Friday & weekend!

#MsSunFun: My Slightly over the top Sub folder

Sub plans…the bane of every teacher’s existance.  In most cases, I would rather drag my sick self through school than spend hours writing sub plans to find the sub wasn’t comfortable with math (even though they do SEE what subjects I teach before choosing the job), my students were naughty and half of what was supposed to be done was completed (usually due to the students being naughty). My school pushes us to not stop curriculum when we are out; they do not want us leaving busy work.  But they do require that we have a set of Emergency Plans in the main office…just in case. I still have not put my Emergency plans in the office.

To be honest, I am overly anal with my subs plans and the organization of the information & work provided to the sub. The main reason is that more often than not, the sub who picks up my absence is not comfortable with math and I teach Pre-Algebra and Algebra (& a section of US History).  OR no sub picks up my absence and they have to internal sub, which usually means a different teacher each period. Therefore, I find the more detailed I am the better chance things will get accomplished. I wish we could find good math subs! 

In the past few years the 8th grade have been naughty naughty students with their every day teachers and about ten times worse with subs.  We drafted a letter that parents and students sign at the start of the year in regards to sub behavior.  I won’t post it here, but if you want to see it, I will send the link. I also have a slip that I have needed to give to students AFTER a sub visit that requires them to write an apology to the sub and to write me a letter about what happened the day before.  After 13 years of teaching, I still do not understand why the students are so much more naughty when I am not there.  I rarely see the same behaviors they exibit for subs…I do not get it!

Here it is…my slightly over the top sub folder outline:

The best part about my sub folder is the actual folder I use to put it all together; it is an 8-pocket plastic wire bound folder purchased from Target years ago. I LOVE these folders! If you click on the picture, it will take you to Amazon, where I purchased them from once I started using them for everything since Target stopped selling them. I also use this same style folder for my tardies & classroom behavior and absence work; I even have some I haven’t used yet…I kind of hoard them. 🙂  I like them because the front cover of the folder has a pocket where a sheet has been inserted that clearly identifies the folder as my sub folder. The cover also contains the Regular and Wednesday bell schedules. And I love it because it is a VERY durable poly plastic cover and has enough inside folder pages so each class period gets it’s own folder page.

  • The interior 6 clear pockets are organized with one pocket for each period.
    • Each pocket contains:
      • seating chart with student pictures printed in color (visible in the pockets)
      • alphabetical class list
      • Substitute Attendance Form (we have to take electronic attendance each period, subs can’t do that so they have to send something to the office…I created this to make it easier)
      • Class behavior report
    • The pockets are labeled with peel and stick file labels. And I used my label maker to label the file labels with each period.
  • The first pocket contains the following: (listed on an index card taped to the pocket)
    • Welcome letter to the sub outlining expectations, attendance and behavior policys
    • Substitute teacher helpful information (bell schedules, teachers to go to, helpful students, copy machine directions, technology log-in information, smartboard directions, textbook locations, etc)
    • That day’s lesson plans with checkboxes, papercliped together
    • Overall report from the day form
    • Map of school, with my rooms highlighted (& cafeteria, office, library, computer labs & nearest bathrooms)
    • Building Evacuation procedure, with roster
    • Calvin & Hobbes Substitute teacher comics 🙂
    • Pre-Algebra/Algebra helpful reference sheet
    • 8th grade class requirements/policies
    • My math class syllabus
  • The last pocket contains the following: (listed on an index card taped to the pocket)
    • Extra pad of Hall Passes
    • Extra hallway & washroom passes
    • Tardy/Unprepared & Warning Passes
    • Detentions
    • Referrals
    • Hard lock down/soft lock down procedures

I place the folder on top of any papers/copies necessary for each class.  They are paperclipped together and labeled.  Subs have reported they love the folder and always have what they need.  Except when I change seating charts and forget to update the folder…it’s so hard to remember to do that!

Happy Sunday Funday!

#MyFavFriday: Count Off

I love the #MsSunFun, #Made4Math & #MyFavFriday because they keep me blogging and looking for something worthwhile to contribute.  I had some extra time during Advisory today and we played this game, it’s not really math related but it’s a great filler.  Our 8th grade students do a huge team building unit during Advisory through October, but we also continue it throughout the year.  This is part of our Team Building Activity Binder that I put together for the grade level teachers many many years ago. As we were playing I thought “This would be a great #MyFavFriday post!”.  I almost couldn’t wait for the day to be over so I could blog about it. 🙂  Enjoy!

Activity Type:
Communication and Trust

Benchmark: Communicates clearly; Working in groups: Utilizes interpersonal skills to work cooperatively in diverse groups to accomplish common goals.

Group Size: Any

Materials: None

Time: 5-15 minutes; it is a great filler activity.  You will find that the kids will want to play it for as long as possible.


  1. Have the students sit in desks with their heads down & eyes closed. (It helps to keep the communication levels down, which is necessary.)
  2. Explain that you are going to test their counting skills.  They will need to count as a group as high as they can, hopefully through all students in the class.
  3. The rules are each student must have a chance to say ONE number, and once a student has said a number, they can not say another number.
  4. If two people say the same number simultaneously, the group must start back at one.  (This is the key to the game. This is also where they will get the loudest, when they have to start over.)
  5. It works best if the teacher is the one who says “One”.
  6. IMPORTANT: Students cannot pre-plan who is going to say each number…don’t tell them they can’t, but try not to allow it either.

If they can count through all the students in class, have them count backwards, by two’s, etc.


  1. Discuss the challenges the group went through.
  2. How were the challenges finally solved?
  3. How did you feel when you had to start all over again?
  4. What was it like not starting out with a plan of action?

#Made4Math: Sticky Ball Review Game


I am so excited to have something for #Made4Math Monday and that I am actually posting it on the right day.

Sticky Ball I play this game quite often during the year, I tend to use it in my better behaved classes, which usually helps the classes that aren’t the best improve their behavior enough to play. Regardless it is a fun game. The date the powerpoint was created was in 2006, so I have been using it for a while. Being honest, I know I created a few of the slides, but I am not sure if it was originally found online.

This game involves brain, skills and luck. By answering questions correctly, students get the opportunity to throw a sticky ball at a target and earn points for their team.

game board slides, Individual whiteboards for each student, markers & erasers and STICKY BALLS! These came in a pack, I believe from a party store, but it’s been so long I can’t remember.
**You do need to use a regular whiteboard to project the game board on, not a smartboard…the balls won’t stick. I usually use a projector connected to a laptop to display the targets on the side board. And I use my smartboard to display the questions to solve.

1: Compile a list of questions. Can use as a review game or practice

2: Divide the class into two teams, or you can use multiple groups of 4…really whatever works for your classroom. I use groups of 4 and the quietest team will get the first question to answer, BUT all students and all teams should be solving each problem on their board because they can steal points if the question is missed. I continue choosing the quietest team for each question, but to keep in mind which groups have been called on.

3: Put one of the problems on the board to solve. ALL students in the room should be solving on their whiteboard because they don’t know which student I will call on from their group to answer.
If they answer correctly, they get a turn to throw the sticky ball at the target and earn points for their team.
If the ball ticks to the target, assign the corresponding points. If the ball misses or doesn’t stick, no points are awarded.

I tend to change the target AFTER they have solved a question and answered it. I have found if they see the target ahead of time and think it’s too hard, they won’t work to solve the problem.

Check first what is happening on the other side of your whiteboard! Depending on your set up, this game can create an annoying thumping sound in another classroom. (Unfortunately I know this from experience, it sounds even louder when the class next door is taking a test)

This game is a lot of fun and has the tendency to become loud and boisterous. I do remove points from the louder teams as necessary.

If you are unable to find a sticky ball, use another toy that will stick to your white board. If noise is an issue, use a pom-pom or other soft object to throw.
Consider adding “no-go” areas where a poor/ill-considered toss can result in a loss of points (e.g. hitting another student or anything other than the whiteboard).