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Friday, January 31, 2014

Human Sexuality Education Ground Rules

Human sexuality is one of my most favorite topics to teach. I believe it is so important for students to be well-informed and confident in their sexual health. Not surprisingly, my students to not yet see the importance of comprehensive sex education. And with students ranging from freshman to seniors, things can get awkward for them.

To put everyone at ease for our Human Sexuality Education unit, I start with some ground rules.
  1. The students and teacher will not be put in an embarrassing situation by being asked personal questions. I will never do something like "Let's get a show of hands." I expect the students to respect my privacy as well. 
  2. All points of view are worthy of being discussed. No put-downs or "preaching." Many of my students come to class with very strong views about sexuality and that is awesome! But that doesn't make different views "bad." I also mention here that all questions are for seeking knowledge, not to disclose information about that person.  For example, a student saying, "I heard you can gain weight with Depo-Provera," is not to be assumed as, "Should I take Depo-Provera or will it make me gain weight?"
  3. Do not talk about classmates outside of the classroom. We've just gotten off of our Communication Skills unit so we have emphasized the importance of confidentiality in communication.
  4. Speak only for yourself. Use "I-Messages" to state opinions or feelings. It is unfair (and would hurt confidentiality) for students to share the experiences of others. 
  5. If you or someone you know has a complaint about the class, come directly to the teacher about it. I tell my students that I always teach as if a parent and an administrator were present.  However, if I say something offensive, or if I do not address a situation in an appropriate way, please let me know. 
  6. Discuss the issues raised in class with your parents. Parents are sometimes surprised by just how comprehensive our program is. I encourage students to talk to their parents and have them come to me with questions.
  7. Give an accurate account of what the class is about. 
  8. Do not sensationalize. That is to say, don't make a big deal out of things.
  9. It is alright for the teacher to not know all of the answers.  She will find answers for you if she does not know them. I take this chance to emphasize how I will answer every question that is asked. I find that the best way to ward off inappropriate show-off questions is to answer them very truthfully and honestly.
  10. Use the correct term whenever possible. If the correct term is not known, please ask and one will be provided for you. This is important for sexual health! I think knowing the correct terminology is very important.  Sometimes kids ignore or hide severe symptoms because they are too embarrassed to seek help. Remember that "Sex Ed" is not just about sexual relationships, but caring for a person's whole sexuality, including their reproductive anatomy. Men and women have very different but severe diseases and disorders that they should know about and be able to protect themselves from.
What would you add to the list?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What is YOUR Perfect Cookie? Thin, Chewy, or Puffy?

What is YOUR Perfect Cookie? Thin, Chewy, or Puffy?

This is the question that I pose to my Bakery students before watching Good Eats: Three Chips for Sister Martha. They write their answer across the top of their journal.

Three Chips for Sister Martha is a great episode to explain the science behind great cookies. My students are just coming off their basic ingredients understanding so it is nice for them to apply that knowledge right away.

Then, during the video, students take notes about what makes their cookie different from others.  I ask them to compare based on sugar, dry ingredients, fat, and eggs. They compile their results into a table:

Dry Ingredients
Butter has a sharp set point so it will spread quickly
A higher ratio of white sugar to brown sugar makes a crispy cookie
Eggs puff up so replace one egg with ¼ C of milk
All-purpose flour

Increased baking soda increases the set temperature of the cookie
Shortening melts at a higher temperature that butter so it will not spread as far
Use more brown sugar than white sugar for a soft cookie
Use two eggs
Cake flour is fluffier and will rise more

Baking powder is more acidic and will rise quickly
Melted butter will increase gluten
Brown sugar makes a chewy cookie because it is coated in molasses
Use one egg, one egg yolk, and 2 T milk because egg whites dry cookies out
Bread flour has more gluten which is chewy

I use their responses to divide them into kitchen groups for their drop cookie lab. Incidentally, the groups ended up being really great. I may have to use this group strategy for all of my classes. :)

You can view the recipes on Food Network here:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Use MyFitnessPal's Barcode Scanner in Classroom Calorie Calculation

Earlier this school year I wrote about my love for MyFitnessPal.com, especially after the not-so-conveniently timed federal government shutdown.

If you can believe it, I love this app even more today!

My Bakery students are in the throws of their Create Your Own Quickbread project and made their first draft muffin today.  While the muffins baked students were to calculate unit cost, calorie count, and Healthy Kids viability.

One group was short a person so they did not want to leave their oven to go to the media center. Instead they attempted to use MyFitnessPal on their phone. A senior in my class had the app on her cell phone because she has to track her food and activity for a health class. I knew there was a way to enter recipe information on the app but I assumed it would be tedious compared to a computer.

That I was before I knew.... drum roll... that a BAR CODE SCANNER existed. No amount of capital letters and exclamation points can account for the happy dance I did around my classroom.  It made calculating calories so EASY! Instead of searching... and searching... and searching for the closest ingredient, students could scan my ingredients and enter in the exact information.

I am so happy with the bar code scanner that I may be using MyFitnessPal more often in both class activities and in my personal life.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Maturity and Age Activity

This video from CBS Evening news came across my Facebook feed and I just loved it.  I worked it into my Character Development unit when we were discussing characteristics of maturity.

I asked my students how some adults can act so immaturely yet some young adults, like these middle school football players, can behave in such amazing ways. It lead to a great discussion that I hope my kiddos were able to learn from.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"UP" Introduction to Demonstrate Erikson's Later Stages

Balloons (7889858270)Honestly, now, how many of you BALLED your eyes out during the first ten minutes of the movie "Up?"

I did, and I have to work really hard not to cry while I share this video clip (Use the text link as YouTube will not allow me to embed this specific clip) with my students.

But the clip is so worth sharing! It does a great job at demonstrating the later stages in Erikson's theory of development.  After sharing the video with students we discuss:
  • Ellie and Carl could not have children.  How did they still stay happy throughout their middle life?
  • Carl was very lonely without Ellie and is a very cranky man in the remainder of the movie. How do we know that Ellie handled Erikson's stages better than Carl?
  • Have you seen this movie before? What makes Carl a happy person again? How does this support Erikson's theory?
If I do get choked up, I ask students why I take the clip so personally while they don't seem as bothered by it.  Perhaps they just have tougher skin than me, but students always catch on that I have found my life partner and I am looking forward to the middle part of my life.  The students are still concerned with figuring out who they are and finding someone to share their lives with.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Healthy Kids Guidelines for Quick Breads

Today the Bakery students evaluated the nutritive value of yesterday's quick breads according to the Healthy Kids Guidelines. (View my materials HERE) An email from our school lunch director says:
"Here are the limits for Healthy kids Act items:
fat=less than or equal to 35% of calories
trans fat=less than or equal to .5gm/serving
sugar=less than or equal to 35% of calories
must be at least 50% whole grain
I would love more muffin recipes. I only have one that meets these guidelines"
One trouble we ran into is that Cooking Light lists only carbohydrates instead of breaking down into sugar and fiber.  To calculate grams of sugar we multiplied the cups of sugar in the recipe by 200 (grams of sugar in one cup) and divided that number by twelve servings.

Spoiler alert! My students found that each recipe has the potential to meet the guidelines.  The olive bread has a bit too much salt which can easily be eliminated.  Each of the breads needs more whole grains to fit guidelines which is also an easy fix.

Next week we will collaborate with our school lunch director to create quick bread recipes of our own to be served for school breakfast.

"Money Drop" Review Game to Practice Kohlberg's Developmental Stages

Coins (Money)My Teen Insights students are just getting into the swing of Kohlberg's stages of moral development. As homework the students are to list and define each of Kohlberg's stages: Pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. We play a version of "Money Drop" as a formative assessment of how well they understood their homework.

Each student gets a white board or sheet of paper to divide into three columns.  The columns are each labeled with a stage of development. Each student also needs an equal number of "dollars."  We usually play with 25 pinto beans per student but you could up the stakes with 10 nickels, pieces of candy, etc.

This game is the reverse of most review games. You start with all of the "money" you could possibly win and lose it as you go.  All "money" has to be on the board at all times unless it is lost.

Instruct students to place all of their money on the boards. Read a scenario.
"Lizzie gets to put a sticker on the chart every time she uses the big-girl potty."
Most students will "bet" all of their money on pre-conventional. They may put some on conventional or post-conventional, just in case.  Reveal the answer.  All "money" that was on any column other than pre-conventional will be lost.

Continue to give different scenarios without discussing how each stage is defined.  The students should derive the criteria for each stage by listening carefully for buzzwords like reward, punishment, peers, and authority.

The last student with "money" wins.

As a formative assessment, ask students to define Kohlberg's three stages of moral development. Then compare with their homework from the day before.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Quick Breads Lab: Four Healthy Quick Loaf Bread Options

Today my students made different types of bread to complete the blending method portion of their Basic Ingredients/Quick Breads unit.
I found these healthy (ish) recipes from Cooking Light.  
Each recipe has a link back to the collection of other Cooking Light quick bread recipes.  Depending on the season you may wish to choose a different fruit or vegetable for your bread.  I know back in September I was grateful for any excuse to use up zucchini!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Working Relationships Discussion: Why is Zappos such a great company to work for?

Tony Hsieh in 2009 Today, to review concepts of good working relationships, my Teen Insights students watched a Nightline clip about Zappos and its awesome work environment.
I am a long-time fan of Zappos and have been impressed many times over by their amazing customer service. When I saw this news story I was even more happy to shop at Zappos and promote such a great company. This is a great example for my students about working together in groups, motivating others, the impact of a friendly attitude, relating to authority, and most every other objective from our Working Relationships unit.

I prepared the following discussion questions and distributed one to each student before showing the clip.
  1. What is foresight? How does the leader of Zappos demonstrate foresight?
  2. What does motivation mean? How does the leader of Zappos motivate others?
  3. What type of leadership does the leader of Zappos demonstrate? How do you know?
  4. What is diplomacy? How does the leader of Zappos demonstrate diplomacy?
  5. What are the two major tasks of group leaders? How does the leader of Zappos demonstrate these?
  6. What are ways in which people obtain their authority position? How did the leader of Zappos obtain his authority position?
  7. How can teenagers learn to cooperate with authority? How do employees of Zappos work to get along with authority?
After the clip, students shared their answers. The Zappos energy was contagious and my students were excited to discuss. (Seriously. I'm not being cheesy here.) They even added their own points (referencing class concepts, no less) like how the CEO demonstrates humbleness, how the CEO can run a successful business while still taking good care of their employees, and how a friendly disposition is important to a good work environment.

I have a lot of future Zappos employees on my hands.  Surprisingly enough, it isn't even for the free food that Zappos offers their employees everyday.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Offbeat Basic Ingredients Lab: Make Seitan to Demonstrate Stretchy Gluten

We are working through the basic baking ingredients and today we spent time talking about wheat flour.  Wheat is so crucial to baking because of the stretchy structure of gluten and the thickening power of starch.

To demonstrate the stretchy structure of gluten we made seitan.  None of my students had ever heard of it.  It is a vegetarian meat substitute of gluten simmered in a flavored broth.  The resulting product can be flavored to mimic many meat dishes.
I followed this recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen to make a basic setian recipe using vital wheat gluten. While the seitan simmered my students conducted the Great Balls of Gluten experiment.

Each kitchen gets 1 C of flour and mixes in enough water to make a dough.  After kneading the dough for several minutes the starch is rinsed away. The size of the resulting ball of gluten will tell the students what type of flour was used.
L to R: Cake, pastry, all purpose, bread
I panfried the setian to give it a crispy surface.  I used flour and broth to make a brown gravy which demonstrated starch's thickening abilities.
The seitan cutlets look just like pork chops!
The students were really cautious to try it, but said it "wasn't bad."  A few kids even said it was "kinda good." To be sure, the students will not soon forget gluten's springy, spongy texture.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Apple Crumble Bread Pudding

This recipe was definitely an accident, but one worth sharing.

Yesterday, when I was demonstrating the apple muffins for the Bakery Basics Review lab, I forgot the sugar. I also doubled the flour. (I have edited my materials to be more clear.)
I wasn't about to throw away a dozen muffins.  Sure, they were crumbly and bland, but they were not terrible and were still edible.

So, I made bread pudding!

I crumbled the muffins in the bottom of a buttered casserole, drizzled the crumbs with 2 T melted butter, and sprinkled with 1/3 C brown sugar and 1 t cinnamon.
I whisked together 3 eggs, 2 1/2 C milk, 1 t vanilla, and 1/3 C sugar and poured the mixture over top.

Bake at 350 for 75 minutes.
Not only was this edible, it was FANTASTIC! This is a mistake worth making on purpose. ;)
Mmm... Crumbly caramel goodness!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bakery Basics Review Lab: Apple Muffins

Students are back and the new Bakery students are anxious to get to the kitchens.  This Bakery Basics Review Lab: Apple Muffins is a great way to get them there.

Students will convert the recipe to make 12 muffins as bell work.  I will demonstrate proper safety and sanitation, measuring, and preparation. Then students will be dismissed to demonstrate their understanding.

As homework, students will calculate unit price, define vocabulary, and describe proper measurement techniques.

We used to spend several days reviewing concepts from Food and Nutrition, but this is a much quicker and tastier way to teach the same concept. Now on to Ingredient Functions!