Saturday, July 22, 2017

IP sped recipes

Hey friends!!

I recently purchased an Instant Pot (I.P.) and have fallen in love with the quick and efficient method of cooking! I can't tell you how many times I've messed up a stove top meal and been so completely frustrated.  I would much rather cook with an oven but in Texas summer heat...I hate to turn it on.

For those of you who don't know, the I.P. is a pressure cooker.  Think of it as a slow cooker on steroids! It cooks perfect food consistently! A whole frozen chicken...BAM! Broth..BAM! Hard boiled eggs...BAM! Cheese cake, yogurt, soup...BAM, BAM, BAM!! You get the picture... It's AMAZING!

After being completely reliant on my I.P. for the first few weeks, I decided to try it during E.S.Y. (extended summer school). We made popcorn and my kids loved it!!! There are quite a few kid friendly recipes out there that are really easy and yummy in the Instant Pot.  I have included a freebie to the Popcorn recipe for you to try with your kiddos!

Free recipe

I would talk with your kiddos before hand and let them know the Instant Pot uses pressure and it is hot, they may hear or see steam and there is nothing to be alarmed about.  The first few times at home, the steam and pressure settings were a little intimidating.

If you don't have one, I purchased mine off Amazon and it comes with 2 spoons and a steam rack. Another tip-before using it at school, you will want to complete a water test and become familiar with the I.P. recipe before taking it to the kids.

 I did not have access to a kitchen area during E.S.Y.  I also do not have a kitchen with my current school to be able to cook with a stove. Therefore I've been pretty creative with our cooking endeavors. I have used the following appliances in the past to make recipes in the classroom:

  • Crockpot: chili, nacho cheese, potatoes
  • Blender: shakes, smoothies
  • Griddle: pancakes, bacon, eggs, sausage
  • Waffle maker: waffles
  • Quesadilla maker: quesadillas with ham or pepperoni
  • Microwaved: 3-2-1 cake

Click on the images below to purchase on Amazon:

**All Amazon links are affiliate links.

What have you used in the past to cook recipes? What are your favorite go to recipes (edible and Non-edible)? I'd love to read in the comments below!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Happy 4th of July!! I hope everyone has an awesome Independence day!

Today I'm going to be sharing my first experience teaching Extended School Year (ESY).  I've never taught ESY before, but it didn't take me long to realize these are the toughest kids in the district because they need the most routine, structure, and support.

What is ESY?

ESY is a federal service for students in special education ages 3-21. ESY services vary per student depending on their needs.  They type of service, amount, and duration are determined by the IEP meeting.  Transportation is provided and services are in the LRE (Least Restricted Environment).

How do they qualify?

Students qualify for ESY based on regression and recoupment of skills based on data collected via evaluations, progress reports, observations, service logs, parent and staff input. What cannot be recouped 'during the first 8 weeks of the next school year?'

Here are 2 Google Drive forms I created.  The first one I created for my (school year) students I sent to ESY.  I created the ESY Information Form, filled it out and sent it with the box of materials for my students.  If you followed the link, you should be able to add to your drive, then modify or fill out to suite your needs.  Here's a screen shot of the download button.

Here's the form live:

Here's a sample of the information once the form is filled out.  I sent a copy of the excel sheet to the ESY teachers (in the student's box).

The second form I created was to include all the items I was sending to ESY. **sorry for the upcoming rant** I get it. You may not want to part ways with YOUR materials, YOUR resources, YOUR laminated task cards, file folders, and visuals.  The truth is....they're actually the STUDENTS' materials and resources too and they need ALL of those activities to be successful in the summer.  If you are going to make new visuals next year, send the old ones to ESY.  Sadly the things you send may not return, or be incredibly damaged...but if it helps your student be successful during ESY, they will be more successful in the fall when they return.  Don't just send 'busy work' and please, please, please, don't send worksheets when the student can barely write! **Anyways...sorry for the soap box! **
Here's the 2nd form. I added photos of all the items sent and attached it to the box so they could keep the student's things together and pack it back up easily. If you followed the link, you can also add this form to your dropbox by clicking the button that is circled below.

Here's what the live form looks like:
Here is a screen shot of my daily communication log. It's similar to my school year log, except it only has M-Th. Our summer school is Am only 4 days a week.

Daily Communication log

Overall, starting ESY has been so much fun!! It is definitely hard, but I'm getting to try new things with some kids I will be getting next year!  I've also made a quick and easy Grab&Go communication and schedule system, thanks to Christeen Reeve's clever Iris box ideas!

Grab & Go communication and schedule box
I'm getting to implement the task boxes from Especially Education.  I have also become pretty fast at playing tag with one of my 95* Texas weather and sliding down a slide! I also found a cool idea when buzzing for a janitor taped to my wall.  I always hate calling for a 'pee cleanup.' This school has codes!!!! Code 1=blood, code 2=vomit, code 3=urnine/poop, code 4=liquid. GENIUS!!!

What are your experiences with ESY? Do you have any suggesions, comments, ideas? Share them below or on social media. #spedESY