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Friday, July 10, 2015

Five for Friday (7/10/15) and TpT Seller Challenge #3

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for another addition of Five for Friday!

Spending a week in Costa Rica with Chris was absolutely amazing. We were both so excited to have a nice and relaxing vacation. Although, I had to lecture Chris about taking care of his things though. I'm sure you can guess which passport belongs to him...

We stayed 20 minutes outside of La Fortuna at the Lost Iguana Resort. We made such a great choice with this resort. There were two different hiking trails on their 120-acres in the rainforest that kept us busy in the early mornings. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Here are a few pictures I took from the resort:

There is so much to do in Costa Rica so it was very easy to stay active while having fun. We did a night walk and a day walk through the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, kayaked in the PeƱas Blancas River, hiked over the lava flow of the 1968 Arenal Volcano eruption, and crawled through the tightest spaces amongst bats and crickets in the Venado Caves.

I'm really scared of bats, so the cave tour was really creepy, but turned out to be my favorite activity. The limestone was beautiful and the water was so refreshing because we got so hot and sweaty from all the climbing and crawling around in the cave. We didn't have waterproof cameras (why didn't we buy a Go Pro??) so we only took a before and after picture of the Venado Cave tour.

I am a little late with the 3rd TpT Seller Challenge: Make Your Masterpiece. I worked on it for two days as soon as I got back from Costa Rica. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The CCSS aligned 1st Grade Morning Work for Back-to-School follows the same format as my best-selling summer packets with each day including 5 math and 5 literacy problems.

If you like the 1st Grade Common Core Morning Work for Back-to-School, stay tuned for the back-to-school homework packet. Also, my 1st Grade Morning Work packets currently on TpT is aligned to Minnesota State Standards (we adopted CCSS for Literacy, but not CCSS for Math) but I'm working to revise them so that the packets are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. I'm halfway done with the year-long morning work packets, so you can expect the updated version on TpT by the end of July or the first week of August.

I love going out to eat, so I don't end up cooking too much at home, especially during the summer. However, the few times a do cook during the week, I always avoid using fresh herbs simply because I end up throwing 75% of it away. I try not to be wasteful so I usually end up using dried herbs. I was elated when I saw smaller packages of fresh, organic herbs at the grocery store yesterday and only $1.50! I made crusted pork chops last night and they tasted significantly better with fresh herbs.

Chris is slowly moving into my condo and my closets are exploding! Time to look into a closet storage system!

I finished my 3-credit Minnesota Writing Project Open Institute called "Writing Process and Thematic Inquiry: Writing for Social Justice" at the University of Minnesota right before I left for Costa Rica. I learned how important it is to design lesson plans with social justice themes. Bree Picower (2012) suggests that an elementary social justice curriculum is beneficial to help "students care about and critically understand inequalities in the world around them."

I created a lesson plan with the social justice theme of bullying. Bullying prevention needs to be addressed in schools as early as possible. Jensen, Brisson, Bender, and Williford (2013) found "A considerable proportion of students who bully their classmates in elementary school continue to be perpetrators during middle school." Hopefully my proactive approach will be effective at the elementary level, in turn, hopefully deterring acts of bullying at the secondary level.

I chose this brilliant book called Nobody! A Story About Overcoming Bullying in School by Erin Frankel from Free Spirit Publishing. I created a lesson plan targeted for 3rd grade students, but it could be easily modified for 2nd grade and 4th grade students. You can download the lesson plan for free for use in the classroom. No part of the download can be used in any other way without the prior written consent from me by clicking on the "envelope icon" at the top of the page.


Jenson, J.M., Brisson, D., Bender, K.A. & Williford, A.P. (2013). Effects of the youth matters prevention program on patterns of bullying and victimization in elementary and middle school. Social Work Research, 37, 361-371.
Picower, B. (2012). Using their words: Six elements of social justice curriculum design for the elementary classroom. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 14, 1-15.

Thanks again to Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Have a great weekend!


  1. I'll have to check out that "Nobody!" book! And your "morning work" masterpiece looks great :)

    A Pinch of Kinder

  2. Hi Mai!
    I enjoyed seeing Costa Rica. I have never been before. We started growing herbs in our backyard for the exact reason that you stated. They were always going bad before we could use them all when buying them from the store. And food does taste a lot better with fresh herbs. I am being on the TpT seller challenge too. I am hoping to have week 3 posted before going to bed tonight.
    Pint Sized Learning.

    1. I would love to start growing herbs someday when I actually get a backyard! I don't check blogger as often, so I started following you on Instagram so I can see your "masterpiece" when you have it done.


  3. Mai,
    Your photographs from Costa Rica are just gorgeous!! It looks like you had a fantastic time on vacation. :)
    I enjoy using fresh herbs when I cook and have experienced the same problem you have. Like Theresa, I finally bought a big pot and planted my own small herb garden that sits right outside the kitchen on the back deck. Easy access from the kitchen, I cut only what I need, and its' much cheaper than buying them at the grocery store! If you have a balcony that gets sun, you should try planting your own herb garden.
    Storybook Endings in Second

  4. Hi Mai,
    Love your pictures of Costa Rica. That's a country I've wanted to visit for a long time now; I hope to get there in the next couple of years (only one year left of college tuition payments for our kids! YESSS!)
    Do you know that you can dry (microwave or naturally) or freeze any fresh herbs that you don't use right away? Don't throw them away! Search on the internet for how to do it (I usually microwave them and then just add them to my spice jars.)

  5. Wow! There are many herb-enthusiasts here! I definitely want to grow my own herbs someday like both of you, Tonya and Theresa. I hear they're quite easy to grow, but my patio doesn't get any sunlight. One day when I buy a house, but for now, I'll take Marion's advice and dry the unused ones. Thanks for all of your comments!

  6. Hi Mai!

    How lucky you are to have visited Costa Rica. I hope to travel out of the country sometime. I haven't been to MN except between flights. It's about $800 round trip to MN.. maybe I'll catch you in Vegas next summer? You and Chris are adorable together. <3

    I love to eat out. :D I do have a Cuban? Oregano plant still thriving in my yard. It's low maintenance and it was a gift from a student for Christmas. I haven't used it for anything yet, but it does smell good. Maybe you should invest in a heat lamp.

    Congrats on finishing your course. Kids and adults need to learn to be more proactive and stand up for themselves and their friends. I also think that everyone needs to be educated on what bullying is.

    Talk to you soon!