I moved!

I moved! You can find me at my new online home, KaylaPins.com!

Monday, September 30, 2013

"M" Day for Homecoming Week: Mismatched Mess

Yes, the tights are plaid, too.
Grocery store employee: (As I was purchasing groceries for today's labs) Excuse me, are you a school teacher?
Me: Why yes, I am!
GSE: It must be homecoming week for you!
Me: Why yes, it is! I generally don't dress like this.

*Ha, ha, exchange pleasantries, have a nice day, etc*

Only until later did I question... What if I wasn't a teacher? :)

Some teachers use homecoming week as an excuse to wear sweatpants- I use it as an excuse to wear all of my vintage clothes.  Usually not this many outfits at once. :)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

FACS Portion Sizing Lab Formative Assessment

On the day after the portion sizing lab, students review their math with a formative assessment.

A restaurant offers a 12 oz T-Bone steak.
  • If there are 240 calories per serving of steak, how many calories are in this steak? 
  • How many servings of meat are you consuming? 
You want to order the 5 Cheese Ziti Al Forno from Olive Garden.
  • If there are 1400 calories in this 12 oz dish, how many calories are in one serving? 
  • If you ate this whole dish, how many servings of pasta would you eat? 
This is a way for them to demonstrate their knowledge of pasta and meat serving sizes (4 oz, 3 oz) as well as practice the math they learned from the lab.

Follow my portion sizes Pinterest board!

Monday, September 23, 2013

FACS Portion Sizing Lab

In my classroom "DIET" is always a noun.  It is a normal thing that everyone has.  It can never be a verb: dietING goING on a diet, etc.  I encourage all students to adapt to a healthy diet, and understanding portion sizing is a very important part of that.

Students rotate between each of five stations, recording their portion size at each one.

  • Pasta: I boil a pot of pasta.  Students choose from a variety of plates and bowls to measure their serving by weight.
  • Steak: Using scratch paper, students cut out the size of what a "normal" steak looks like. When we go through the presentation I have the students estimate the size of their portion by tracing a playing card on their paper.
  • Soda: Students choose from a variety of take-out cups to fill with water.  They record their serving in fluid ounces.
  • Cheese: Students choose how many "dice" worth of cheese they would eat.
  • Cereal: Students choose from a variety of bowls to measure popcorn by cups.  I use popcorn instead of cereal because it is easiest to measure.
After all students have recorded their portion sizes we go through the presentation of nutrition labels.  Students record the serving size and calories of each food presented.

Then, using algebra, students calculate how much smaller or larger their portion size was.

For example,

One 12-oz can of soda has 160 calories.  A student measured a 22 oz portion.

160/12 = ?/22
160/12 = 13.33
13.33*22 = 293

So my student found out that their serving of soda had 293 calories!

It's always a big eye-opener for my students and a great reminder for me!

Follow my portion sizes Pinterest board!

Friday, September 20, 2013

DIY 100-Calorie-Packs For Teaching Calorie Density

Today my students made their own 100-calorie snack packs to better understand calorie density.

To set up the labs, I chose four snack foods.  I purchased enough for every kitchen group to have 100 calories. For example, I have 12 kitchen groups.  A bag of pretzels has 15 servings of 110 calories each, so there are 1,650 calories per bag. I needed just one bag. I chose Fruit Loops, pretzels, Reese's peanut butter cups, and peanuts. 

I divided my students into four groups of four students each and sent one group to each kitchen.  By reading the nutrition label, students calculated what 100 calories looks like.

Peanuts and Fruit Loops were calculated by grams.  Reese's and pretzels were calculated by piece.
Students were really bummed that 100 calories of peanuts was less than a handful: Only 16 grams!


28 grams per 160 calories = 28/160 = .16 x 100 calories = 16 grams per 100 calories.

The bulk of their packs was made up of pretzels and Fruit Loops.  The group from the picture above had to return a few peanut butter cups.  Each group only got two!

The groups go to each kitchen collecting 100 calories of each food. The food is then divided into 4 packages so each student gets a 100-calorie package.

Afterwards we discussed how fat is a very concentrated form of energy.  Students can see that you can have a small amount of a high fat food, like peanuts, or a large amount of a high carbohydrate food, like pretzels.

Students who got the Reese's in their bag were consuming half of their calories in just one bite!

I learn so much from what I teach! How many of us have taken a handful (or several) of nuts for a snack? Or ate more than two Reese's peanut butter cups at a time? 

I had my students do this lab for the first time before testing it myself.  I had them re-check their math, because certainly there had to be more Reese's in 100 calories!  The students are always very surprised by this lab and it's a great reminder for me as well. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Small Appliances Demonstration: Microwaved Thanksgiving FACS Lab

After students learned how a microwave oven works with the Peeps Experiment and notes, they demonstrated their skills with a Thanksgiving feast.

The five kitchens each made a recipe and arranged them buffet-style for the other students to try.  This lab is always a hit and the students like to recreate the labs at home.  Teachers and associates frequently ask me to share the recipes.

Would you like the recipes? You can download my Google Doc of the recipes, lab evaluation, and reflection.

Somehow I was able to create this lab for each of my three classes for just $20!

Take advantage of all of the free produce in the teacher's lounge.
I am up to my eyeballs in zucchini this time of year so I was happy to share some with my students.

I also had a few leftovers from our knife skills lab.

Adjusting your labs to use seasonal produce will save your department money. My Food and Nutrition students may can tomatoes in the fall, but in the spring they could try rhubarb jam.  It teaches the same skills!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Peeps Microwave Experiment

Peeps of the World...Unite
Apparently the "Cinnamon Challenge" is (finally) losing its appeal and the new "thing" is to microwave peeps.  What a cool way to demonstrate how a microwave works!

Many people roll their eyes when I talk about teaching high school students to use a microwave.  I think it is very interesting! I have learned a lot from teaching this unit.  I learned that water is polarized and vibrates to move with the microwave radiation. I learned why foil starts fires, why closed containers explode, and why leftover pizza burns you even if the crust is cool. I love to learn the why behind things which is why the microwave unit is so fun.

If you are interested in a similar unit you can access my materials here:
Students perform the experiment of microwaving the peeps before I lecture or do notes.  After they understand more about how microwaves work students use the experiment to explain why their peeps changed in the pattern and way that they did.

We follow this experiment with our Microwaved Thanksgiving lab.  It is a favorite lab that students like to do at home.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

School Straw Bale Gardening

April 14th "Straw Bale"It's true... I've been approved for a classroom food garden! I was offerred a space in the science wing of the building but turned it down so I would be able to supervise students.  Just recently I came across a technique using straw bales. I knew it was the right method for my students.

The bales will be lined along the outside wall of my classroom.  I will be able to supervise students from my windows.  We will be able to run a hose out of the window.

I will be searching for funding in the community.  Straw bales are fairly easy to come by in our area.  I expect that a local greenhouse would be happy to support the seeds and plants in exchange for a generous newspaper article.

I hope that we will have time in the spring to grown salad greens, herbs, and beets for my Culinary Essentials class.  We should have tomatoes ready for Food and Nutrition next fall. They can plant the fall garden for Term 2 Food and Nutrition with cabbage, turnips, radishes, and greens.

Has anyone else tried straw bale gardening or gardening for you classroom? An tips? Tricks?

Small Appliances Demonstration: Chocolate Waffle Cookies

What a delicious way to demonstrate a waffle iron! I made chocolate waffle cookies for my students.  Very few of them have a waffle iron at home, and if they do it is under-utilized.  A waffle iron makes cookies in 90 seconds as opposed to the preheat plus bake time of conventional cookies.
My third block class was ahead of the others and wanted to try ice cream.  I do not have an ice cream maker but use a food processor to make banana soft-serve.  It is just frozen bananas, a scoop of peanut butter, and a dash of milk processed with the "S" blade for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  It was like a banana split when paired with the chocolate waffle cookies!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Calories and Sugar in One Quart of Chocolate Milk

Someone told the football players that chocolate milk was better for them than white milk.  They said it was the perfect snack for them after practice.

So, two of my sophomores showed up drinking quarts of chocolate milk this morning.  I only allow Healthy Kids Act food in my classroom so I took the opportunity to prove why.

First, we figured out how many servings of milk were in 1 quart (4). We multiplied total calories and found that they had already consumed 720 calories that morning.  Then we multiplied total sugars and found that there were 24 teaspoons of sugar in the quart.

I had the "offenders" measure out 24 teaspoons of sugar to make a visual of the sugars in the chocolate milk.  We decided that maybe chocolate milk was a fine snack, but that proper portion sizes must be considered.

I went on to demonstrate the waffle iron with chocolate cookies.  The football players were quick to point out that the cookies had the same amount of sugar as the milk.  I agreed, but the cookies were to feed a whole class, not one student for breakfast!

Check out my Pinterest board for portion sizing

Friday, September 13, 2013

Small Appliances Demonstration: Zucchini Yeast Bread

Zucchini flowerMost gardeners are up to their ears in zucchini this time of year.  That's why this recipe from Taste of Home was such a great way to demonstrate my bread machine.

After demonstrating the bread machine I showed Small Appliances A-Z. I like it because it shows 26 small appliances that I have not the time or resources to show.  It's not bad as far as educational videos go. Students enjoy it much more when they can smell fresh bread baking away!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Innovation Collaborative for Personalized Learning Meeting

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in the Innovative Collaboration for Personalized Learning through my district Area Education Agency.  Rather than participate, I got to hear students discuss what was important to them in education.  We all know that education needs to change, but how? Finally students are getting involved in the discussion.

The introduction the our meeting was this video from Blackboard:
Among other shocking statistics, we learned that by 2019, it is estimated that half of all high school classes will take place online. While I completely disagree that technology can replace the one-on-one interaction with a teacher, I know we need to work hard to keep up with our digital native generation. 

I agreed with the next video, by Colorado's Expanded Learning Opportunities, much more: 
It emphasizes technology as a tool, not a replacement, of teaching.  The message is to get students out of their chairs and doing something relevant. Our education system is not growing and changing like the fast-paced world around us. The students that we are "turning out" are not ready to take on society.

Chaperones and students moved into separate groups. We went to a fantastic classroom and watched this Ted Talks video:
This video was just hilarious and beautiful. It points out the ironies of education and how the current environment contradicts what people need to grow and thrive.  

The chaperones brainstormed questions we would like to ask a student panel. We wanted to know:
  • How do you get engaged in your own learning?
  • How is the current school culture preparing you for the future?
  • What does an ideal school look like to you?
  • Why do students drop out?
  • Do you know your learning goals and why they are important?
  • How do you define collaboration?
When we returned to be with students we rotated around to different groups who listed what an ideal school would be like. Our questions were answered by a panel of 10 student representatives.

And I am so thankful for what I heard!

The students didn't demand laptops, smart boards, or even air conditioning. They didn't want paperless classrooms. The things the students listed as the most important are things that all of us can change today with no funding!

Students want to see real-life connections of learning to life. They want internships, field trips, and guest speakers.  They want to design big projects that they take pride in.  They said they actually enjoy big projects if they get a say in the topic.

They want to get outside. Students understand that field trips are expensive. One student just gave the example of measuring the velocity of cars that drive by.

Most students addressed that they did not want to take high school classes online. They think education should be tailored to each student. Some students don't like technology and learn best hands-on.

Teachers' attitudes are very important to students. They said having a strange teacher made class interesting, even if the material wasn't. They were willing to work harder in the class of a teacher that they respected. So SMILE already! :)

My question for students is...

If I never took attendance or graded a paper, what would keep you coming back? Whether it's frying eggs on the sidewalk or doing the PeptoBismal dance, I am up for anything!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Knife Skills Soup Lab Update

Small Berti Chef's KnifeYet another week of 90+ degree temperatures in Iowa left me with early dismissals on Monday and Tuesday.  I was appreciative to leave my 86 degree classroom but bummed at the effect on the knife skills lab.  With a couple tweeks, everything is back in order.  My layout is now similar to a standard one hour class.

Day 1 (One hour)
  • I demonstrated the cutting skills for the soup
  • Students labeled the parts of a knife with the first five minutes of American Slicer
Day 2 (One hour)
  • Students reviewed cutting skills with the remaining 15 minutes of American Slicer
  • Students cut the vegetables for their soup
Day 3 (Full 85-minute block)
  • Cook soup
  • Utensil identification quiz activity
  • Eat soup
  • Clean up soup

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Knife Skills Soup FACS Lab

Small Berti Chef's KnifeIt's already that time of the term for our Knife Skills Soup lab! I'm always a bit nervous going into it but my students impress me every time. As you check out this activity, remember that I teach in 85 minute blocks.  This could be stretched into a week long activity for shorter class blocks.


  • Students will demonstrate safe knife skills.
  • Student will demonstrate mincing, dicing, cubing, slicing, chopping, and grating.


Day 1

Day 2

  • Students prepare their knife skills soup.
    • The recipe is written so that each kitchen works individually to cut the vegetables but combine their vegetables to make a pot of soup for every two kitchens.
    • Kitchens who are using their time wisely may make the challenge recipe of dumplings for their soup.
  • While the soup is simmering students will create a utensil quiz.
  •  Demonstrate how to cool soup quickly (immerse stock pot in ice water) and save the soup for the next day.

Day 3

  • Reheat soup, eat, and clean up
  • Check utensils quiz

Monday, September 9, 2013

Healthy Recipe Substitutions FACS Lab

Last week students demonstrated an edible way to practice their kitchen math skills.  Math and recipe skills are their least favorite things to follow so I bribe them with food as needed. :)

Students received a basic muffin recipe:
Ms. Pins' Basic Muffin Recipe 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 oz butter, softened
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Add the sugar, milk, vanilla and butter.
  4. Add liquid ingredients to dry.
  5. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups and bake 20 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool before tasting.
Students' first task is to divide the recipe in half.

Next, using their healthy recipe substitutions research, students modify their recipe.

They make a grocery list for their modified recipe.

The next day I demonstrate the basic muffin recipe by making the basic recipe above.  Students make their own recipe. (Remember I teach on a block schedule with 85 minute periods)

Students taste the muffins I prepared and their own.  They evaluate the muffins according to flavor, appearance, color, and texture. This Wordle is a good tool to encourage students to use words besides "Good, bad, gross, ok."
  • What specific substitutions did your group make?
  • Taste and describe the original muffins according to FACT.
  • Taste and describe the healthy muffins according to FACT.
  • Compare and contrast the two muffins.
  • Name a food that your family eats that could be made more healthy.
The next day we continue our math practice with unit pricing.  It is very difficult!  I make it really hard to start and ease up on them later on.  That way they build confidence and know they can do it.

I photocopied the receipts I used to buy the supplies for the lab.
  • What is the cost of each muffin?
  • How does this cost compare to your favorite snack?
  • What other resources should be considered when considering the cost of food preparation?
  • Is a homemade muffin worth the extra work?
Overall the students were very happy with the results.  No one asked for a copy of the original muffins, but many asked for me to evaluate their papers quickly so they could have their recipes back!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Go Casual For Kids

Yesterday was Go Casual For Kids Day at my high school and many other businesses in the area.
I promise my jeans fit much better than they appear in this picture... It was hard to get a picture of my knees! :)
Teachers paid $5 for the opportunity to wear jeans on a non-casual day.  Our school has a pretty lax dress code where we can wear jeans whenever we want, but there was no way I wasn't supporting the Marion Foundation!  Our school has a wonderful foundation that allows teachers to apply for grants.

As I'm sure you know, I am campaigning for a kitchen update, new Kitchen Aid mixers, and some awesome cake decorating supplies. Hopefully my $5 investment will return the big bucks! :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Simple Filing System For Teachers

I begin my terms by introducing myself to my students as an extremely unorganized person.  Although I appear to have it all together and be quite strict, it is because I am deeply connected to specific procedures to keep me on track.  I tell my students that if they tell me something I will forget it, and if they hand me something I will lose it.  I touch absolutely no paper from them.

Everything goes in to the "In" folder and goes out in their personal folder, which is color-coded by class. I keep a stack of bright scrap paper next to my file for students to write notes (Please update a grade, I'll be gone next week, etc.)

When I take papers home, or to an air conditioned room on a day like last week, they are separated into three clips. My clips are large binder clips with typed labels and clear packing tape. 
  • Check: Items that need my feedback.
  • Record: Items that go straight to the grade book, like formatives or bell work, or items that have been checked and need to be recorded.
  • Return: Papers that need to be sorted into student folders.  This is on my task list for students who are not using work time wisely. :)
I find that these three files, in combination with an "In" file for each class and a personal file for each student, keep all of my things in order.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Family and Consumer Sciences Careers Bulletin Board

Too often my students think that a career in foodservice means flipping burgers for the rest of their lives.  What I tell them is that yes, you will start flipping burgers.  But if you demonstrate the skills you learn in your FCS classes and are a hard worker, you will quickly move up the pay scale and career ladder! Assistant managers at McDonalds can make as much as a first-year teacher and have excellent benefits.

There are dozens of other exciting careers for students interested in Family and Consumer Sciences.  One career that I especially endorse is my own! My graduating class at Iowa state had, and has had for several years, a 100% job placement rate.  There are currently 14 openings in Iowa alone! My job is exciting, creative, and different every day.

I collect newspaper articles on my bulletin board for students to explore culinary careers.  Next to each article I make a star with the job title next to it.  I also highlight job shadow experiences in the family and human services field.

You can view the Google document that I used to make the stars for my bulletin board. Download a copy for yourself and change the career titles to fit the articles you find! Google also likes to change my fonts so you can personalize those as well.

Do you have Pinterest? Follow me on Pinterest or check out my Classroom Posters and Organization board.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Recipe Substitutions: A Classroom Project Using Google Presentations

Today students began their Recipe Substitutions presentations.  Each group is assigned a food product to replace or add to a recipe to make it more healthful.  They will use 1-3 slides to answer:
  • What is the purpose of your assigned ingredient in a baked goods recipe?
  • Why would someone want to omit or add your assigned ingredient?
  • What are three different "tricks" for omitting or adding your ingredient?
  • Can your "tricks" be traded with a 1:1 ratio or does the whole recipe need to change?
  • How does each substitution affect the finished product?
Google Presentations was a handy technology tool for this project.  I made a Google Presentation and gave access to everyone in the Marion district with the link to edit. That way I do not have to add each student individually.  The students will have to sign in to edit the presentation so I will be able to monitor their activity. Unfortunately that means I will not be able to let you view it until all of the projects are done.  Expect an update by this Thursday!

Another great source is Pinterest.  It is full of infographics of healthy substitutions. Check out my collection here.

The introductory slide is a list of expectations.  Each table has a slide to add to with their recipe modification.
  • Reduce Fat
  • Replace Eggs
  • Increase Fiber
  • Omit refined sugars
  • Replace Gluten and Casein
    • I like to sneak in special diets to each activity. In the future I may choose vegan recipes, "Paleo" recipes, etc.
Later this week students will receive a basic muffin recipe and decide how to modify it. I will have them divide the recipe in half and figure the unit price of the recipe.  It will be a practical assessment of the unit. And students always enjoy edible assessments! :)

Canning and Preserving

Quite the labor-intensive Labor Day!  I spent it canning nearly 50 pounds of food: Tomatoes, apples, beets, and pickled beets. My parents sent me home with a laundry basket of produce and my garden exploded over the weekend.

I hope you enjoyed your day off, or that you actually took one. ;)