Monday, December 19, 2011

Oh, Oh... It's Magic!

My college professors always preached that teaching was equally a science and an art.  I have come to terms with this idea through the last two years and I can say with 100% confidence that teaching ten year olds the week before Christmas is definitely an art.  It's all about survival, ladies and gentlemen!  

Today I decided to try an experiment I saw on Pinterest... and, it's magic.  Everyone likes a little Christmas magic, right?  

Start with a plate of milk.  (Skim milk works best.)  

Drop about four-five drops of food coloring into the center of the milk.  

Then, take a dropper and drop a single drop of dish soap into the center of the dye.  

Annnndddd.. Instantly:  

BAM!  You can only imagine the shrieks that occurred in Room 209 after this.  

Now to make this even more festive, I had each child cut out a coffee filter snowflake and dip it into this magical liquid.  Now our snowflakes turned out a littttle more brown, but here's the jist:  

Now, watch the magic for yourself:  


Saturday, December 17, 2011


I frequently tell my roommate Rosie that I could eat salsa with a spoon.  And.. confession, sometimes I do.  A fellow fifth grade teacher makes THE BEST salsa in the world.  It's delish.  Yesterday, I decided to give it a go.  And let me preface this recipe with the fact I had to text my mother in a frenzy so she could go over the difference between diced, minced, chopped and sliced.  (Her response:  Just cut it all the same!)

12 oz. can sweet yellow corn, drained

15 oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed

1 c. grape tomatoes, sliced
14.5 oz. can Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 red onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large avocado, diced 

1/4 c. lime juice
1/4 c. olive oil

Basically chop everything up and mix together.  

Now, next time I make this.. I promise not to forget chips at the grocery store and cause myself to make an extra trip to the store.  Classic mistake.  

In other news:  Three more days of school and eight days until Christmas!  

Now.. All I need is this wrapping paper to wrap all my gifts!  Ha!! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Techin' it Out

A great resource for all, 
and to all a good night!  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One day!

If I were a baker, I would make this for you Mason.  But since I'm not... Here is a picture:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh Happy Day!

I got my computer back!  After one shot hard drive and one hefty check I got my baby back.  Oh happy day.  Now to catch up with all the blogs, videos, tv shows, and pins.  Woooooo.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tis' the season to be thankful.

I have been blessed with the most thoughtful (thoughtfullest?) family and friends.  Who understand that it's the little things that mean the most, and can have the biggest impact.  Who are there with warm hugs, lasagna dinners, encouraging texts, who let me win in words with friends, send funny videos, and knit cozy socks... even if they don't see the significance.  They are the best.  Today I recieved a very special piece of mail, a simple gift... yet touched my heart. 

"She will watch the old house
where she once lived and wandered,
and the people who loved her inside.
All cats love Heaven,
they know the way there,
they know where the angel cats fly.
They'll run past the stars
and the moon and the sun.. curl up with God in the sky."
-Cynthia Rylant

Love you Phoebie McNoebie Screobie Marie Kazanowski. 
And you too Aunt Vicki.
Thank you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A long time coming.

I intended to blog about this awhile ago, but with parent teacher conferences and the worst cold in the universe, I'm a little behind. 

Before I begin, I owe all of the credit to this project to pinterest and my mother.  She is the crafty one.  I like to think of myself as more of the obnoxious entertainer, who tunes in for the fun parts.. then I somehow get distracted with the piddly boring parts- but nonetheless, my mom has a lot of patience with me.  But look at the scarf we made!

This is probably the most idiot proof DIY project out there.  Basically, get a HUGE t-shirt.  The larger the better.  Cut off small strips from the bottom, and stretch them out as far as possible.  (That was my job.)  Magically, they coil around themselves into little tubes.  Gather five, and attach with a flower.  Double loop and voila!  A scarf!  


In other news: I think it's time to start rehearsing our parts again Mason!
It's getting cold outside!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Guess what I use as a bean bag chair? A raisin.

I have been adding books to my amazon wish list left and right these days.  (Anyone need a Christmas gift idea?)  Through all of the blogs and browsing, I have found a ton of books that I NEED to own.  (Yes mom, NEED). As a celebratory reward for finishing grades today, I let myself parooze at B&N.  Not only did I get my hands on some of the books I had been reading about, but also stumbled upon this gem:

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me

Yes, a picture book about one of my favorite YouTube superstars: Marcel the Shell with Shoes on.  Please if you have not seen this, take the next three minutes of your life to do so:


Hilarious!  And of course, I had to purchase it.  This is just one of those books that makes me happy!  :) 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Day!

Last week, I got wonderful news that I had recieved a grant I had written for books in the classroom.  Of course it was a big production with a lady coming in with a balloon and me turning bright red.  I think the ten year olds dreams were squashed when they realized the money was actually not going to be put towards a pizza party, but I think they will be excited with some of the books our classroom will be recieving in the upcoming weeks. 

Here are a few books that will be gracing the shelves soon:

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans
Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor

The Dust Bowl Through the Lens: How Photography Revealed and Helped Remedy a National Disaster

We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart

Rosa (Caldecott Honor Book)

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover))

Christmas is coming early to Room 209!! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


So this week, we wrapped up our unit on nutrition!  As a way to wrap up/jet on to measurement... I decided to try the fat test with my kids.  This is a lesson I found somewhere out in blogland.  (If someone could tell me where that would be great!) 

Each child brings in a small sample of any kind of snack they want.  Which is basically like the best thing in the world for a ten year old.  And, to make that better, they had to bring it November 1st... the day after Halloween.  So you can imagine the kind of food that rolled in.  I asked the kids what would happen when we put the food on the bags and left it for 24 hours, and heard all sorts of responses:

"It will mold!"
"There will be cockroaches!"
"It will turn brown!"
"but... can we still eat it?!"

We also ranked the foods, whether they were healthy choices or not.  We set out all of our bags, and let the magic happen:

The next day, there was A LOT to look at! 
Yuck!  From here, we had to calculate the amount of grease that was left on the bag.  We had all sorts of measurements going.  Some were using transparencies to outline the stain and calculate the area, others were using a string to measure the perimeter of the stain... which led to great conversation about fat AND measurment.  Viola!

And I don't think I can ever eat a cheese puff again.  WOOF!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Greg Pincus

I’m the squeak upon the stair...
Yet when you look, there’s no one there.
I’m howling winds, groaning floors,
Extinguished lights, slamming doors.
I’m flitting shadows, darkening skies,
Piercing screams, distant cries.
I’m all your fears – heard, felt, or seen.
I’m in your head. I’m Halloween.

I love Halloween!  Now... on to the next holiday:

Pinned Image
Totally making one of these bad boys.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The more you eat...

*Studying Nutrition*

Student:  "Miss K, I have a question."
Me:  "Yes, ma'am?"
Student:  "Well... I've been wondering..."
Long Pause
Student:  "What exactly is in beans that makes you fart?"  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


So I went to the store after a very busy day, to buy all the supplies needed to make these: 

All you need is chocolate, nutter butters and mini chocolate chips.  Melt the chocolate, dip the NB, add the chips and BAM, ghosts.  Seems easy enough huh?  Well, I just burned the chocolate (in the microwave) and now everything is ruined.  Whoops. 

....Maybe I'll shop for books instead. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


We have been studying simple machines in science and how those machines make our lives and the work we do easier.  We have discovered simple and compound machines all around us and have done experiments that investigate the six simple machines.  As a wrap up to the unit, the fifth graders are creating their own infomercial posters that advertise a product that uses a simple machine to make the work we do easier.   Here is our inspiration:

The EZ cracker.  The lever that puts cracking an egg by slamming a fork into it in the past. A genius idea really.. who wants egg shells in their muffins anyways? 

We have all sorts of ideas flying around Room 210, such as: 
The catapult that launches you into a remote island for vacation
An automatic snow shovel for the winter
An escalator for your house (call now and get two for the price of one)

So, watch out world... these kids are planning to make your life even more easy!  Now, who wants to actually buy me the EZ cracker?? 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Future.

Today we had the chance to watch Barak Obama's back to school speech.  You can watch it here.  Now whenever we watch something in fifth grade, it becomes second nature to scan the audience and move around the room to startle kids who are playing with their shoelaces, or who have their heads down, or who might be drawing cartoons in their notebooks.  But today as I scanned the room, I noticed that every set of eyeballs was glued to the SMARTboard.  And more than half of the fifth graders were taking notes.  Not because they had to, or were asked, but because they felt it was important.  In a country that is full of controversy, bias and debate, it was refreshing for me to see and hear their feelings about the speech...even at a young age. 

 "[Teachers] don’t do it for a fancy office.  They don’t -- they sure don’t do it for the big salary.  They do it for you.  They do it because nothing gives them more satisfaction than seeing you learn.  They live for those moments when something clicks; when you amaze them with your intellect or your vocabulary, or they see what kind of person you’re becoming.  And they’re proud of you."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


So, if you have been reading my blog at all, you know that I am mildly obsessed with crayons and all things crayola.  I currently have four large coloring books that I turn to religiously as a stress reliever.  (Just purchased The Lion King one.)  Anyways, I have been DYING to try the craft on Pinterest where you melt crayons using a hair dryer on canvas.  See below: 

Magical.  Anyways, I decided tonight to give it a try.  After purchasing my supplies (and new box of 64 crayons) my roomie and I arranged the crayons.  Actually, she did this whole process.. mathematically calculating the ratios of color.  (I do not have the patience for that.)

Then we got the blow dryer. Note: Make sure you lay out newspaper or plastic bags.  Wax splatters EVERYWHERE. 

As soon as you start blowing, the crayon starts to melt.  The instant gratification is overwhelming.  The wrapper gets a little darker, but still looks sweet.  And if you know me, you can get a chuckle out of the fact that halfway through I realized the blow dryer was sucking my hair into the other end and I had to rip it out.  But besides that, LOOK! 

Awesome, huh? Now I thought about going the whole flower route like the one above, but I think this looks great as is.  Who knew I was such an artist?  Not I!   

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One of those days...

Student:  "Ms. K, is that your real hair?"
Me:  "Sure is."
Student:   "Well, is that it's real color?"
Me:  "Well, I dye it every once an awhile."
Long pause.....
Student:  "Is that cause it's all grey underneath cause you are so old?" 

:)  Never a dull moment. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beautiful Oops...

Happy Sunday!  I found this book this summer and think it is awesome.  Appropriate for all ages to remember.  :)

Also, if you haven't gotten to check this out, there are some clever articles about non-fiction in Choice Literacy's Big Fresh.  Some awesome things about wonderopolis too!  

In other news, I got to travel around a corn maze today.  Although, I didn't get through it all before Mason and I got bored and had to find an exit out.  Whoops! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Better luck next time.

So, it's been a goal of mine, that one day... I will learn to cook. I decided this year to take baby steps with this project.  Every so often, we have faculty food day at school.  Everyone brings some sort of themed food to put in the lounge and we get to snack all day.  Genius idea, really.  So it was my goal that this year, instead of supplying a bag of chips or box of cookies, I'd actually make something to bring to the offering table.  This Friday the theme is "tailgating treats".  Holla! 

So... I tried to make a mango jalapeno dip.. a fairly easy recipe.  Well, I'll apologize to my colleagues in advance who are reading this, because what I just put in the fridge does not look edible.  But it's the thought that counts.  For all my cooking friends, here is the recipe: 

15oz black beans
8oz cream cheese
Mango jalapeno jam
Green Onion
Shredded cheese

Rinse and drain the beans.  Blend cream cheeese and green onion and layer over beans.  Right before serving, layer on the mango jalapeno jam.  Add shredded cheese to the top.  Serve with chips.

If someone makes it correctly, I'd love to help you eat it! 

Monday, September 19, 2011


Check this out! 

Books, books, books!

I just finished writing a grant for some non-fiction and hisotircal fiction books for our classroom.  In the process, I got to do one of my favorite things, book shop.  Here are some books I stumbled upon that I must have: 

One World One Day
This reminds me of this weird documentary Mason made me watch called Babies.  The book is all pictures of kids throughout their day doing simillar tasks, but in totally different ways and different places.  It's one of those books I just want to hold. 

The Chronicles of Harris Burdick
Ohhhh Chris Van Allsburg, the author of The Polar Express to all my friends who are reading this.  Anyways, Chris Van Allsburg wrote the book, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  Which is a baller book of mysterious pictures with short little phrases.  It has always been a fun writing activity to have students write their own stories to go along with the pictures.  In this book, well known authors such as Lois Lowry, Louis Sachar, Kate DiCamillo and Stephen King have written their own stories to go along with the pictures.   Finally!  One more month till this one comes out! 

Team Moon:  How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon

I love outer space, seriously.. I could probably think about it for hours..  It's amazing.  Team Moon tells the story of the people who made the Apollo 11 possible, which is an interesting perpsective.  This book is filled with tons of photographs that document the journey to the moon. 

Now there are plenty of other books, but all my new TV shows started tonight.  I'm off to go park myself on the couch for another hour till bedtime.  Whew! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bad Blogger

I have been a bad blogger lately.. and I apologize.  I am currently not even able to pinterest.  GASP! I'm currently buried under worksheets, reading assessments, word study books, a new literacy program and writing assessment.  I promise I'll find my way out soon.  Until then:  Could someone please pack this for my lunch tomorrow?  But, minus the carrots.  WOOF!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What makes you sneeze?

In an earlier post, I talked about one of my new favorite reads:  A Place for Wonder.  If you haven't checked it out, Georgia Heard talks about the importance of questioning in the classroom.  It is geared for "primary" grades, but much of it can be applied to the upper elementary grades as well.  Here are a few things I've been trying:

The Wonder Square:  At the beginning of the year, when we were first starting our science notebooks, I had each child cut out a paper square.  Like this: 

Each child took their sqaure outside and placed it on the ground.  Their job, was to make observations and describe everything they saw in the box.  Most started by describing the grass, or the flowers.. but then they started noticing a small ant crawl across the frame, or a tiny spiderweb.  After they recorded their observations, they traded notebooks with a peer, and got to draw what was inside their partners square, based on their partners descriptions.  This led to a great conversation about our descriptions as scientists, and what kind of descriptions benefit others. 

Wonder of the Week:  Through the world of teaching blogs, I have stumbled upon an awesome website: Wonderopolis.  Seriously, go check it out.  It asks some of the worlds biggest wonders.  Like,
"Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?" "What makes invisible ink invisible?" and my favorite, "How did dinosaurs get their names?"  Then the website answers them in a kid-friendly way, using technology and videos when possible.  It's awesome.  Anyways, using some of these wonders, we created our own "Wonder of the Week" board.  Anytime throughout the week, students can put their predictions to the question up, then on Friday we check Wonderopolis to find out what the answer is.  Last week, we took a look at the question, "Why do people sneeze?"  I'm sure you can predict their predictions.  :)

Now off to bed, exhausted after a long great weekend! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Where I'm From...

Lately, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on where I'm from and figuring out exactly how to put that place into words.  A fellow educator and amazing friend gave me this idea during my student teaching.  I decided to embark on this idea with my students.  Modeled after the book Mama, Where Are You From? by, Marie Bradby and George Ella Lyon's poem Where I'm From, students reflect on where they are from to create their own poems.  Tonight, I have finally created my poem.  And Mom and Dad, please don't turn this into this years Christmas card. 

Where I’m From:

By Micaela Kazanowski

I’m from a family who couldn’t take ourselves too seriously,
A mom, dad, and two older brothers.

I’m from Downy sheets and fresh laundry
And reading aloud to my stuffed animals.
From The Mouse and the Motorcycle to Pat the Bunny.

I’m from hockey games and skating rinks,
From the rubber-band gun waiting on top of the fridge.
And screaming my brother’s name, while staring at my mom.

I’m from the feel of warm water on my toes,  
Clasping your hands together hoping to find a tadpole inside.
I’m from the waves of Lake Huron and s’mores around the fire.

I’m from long road trips to see family,
Squished in the middle of two forces of protection.
The sound of “He hit me,” and “I have to go to the bathroom,” ringing in my parents ears.

I’m from the Indy 500 around our pool,
And “You can only stay here if you bring me my water.”
I’m from WWF wrestling matches, and winning the tag-team champion paper belt.

I’m from late night dance rehearsals
Where feet blistered, and hair was pulled back.
From, “Mom, I still see a bump.”

I’m from a move filled with tears, loneliness and “Can we go back?”
And my dad making it happen.
I’m from a growing town that turned from small to big overnight.

I’m from a family who couldn’t take ourselves too seriously,
A mom, dad, and two older brothers.
And “I love you” all along the way.

Friday, August 26, 2011

We the People...

It has been a long week in Room 209.  A five day week after summer break, a firedrill, and a lockdown sure took a toll on all of us today.  But this afternoon I got to experience one of those moments that make the long days, the nights of worrying, the revision of lesson plans, and the piles of paper all worth it. 

We started at the beginning of the week thinking about how we wanted our classroom to run over the next nine months.  We started by reading a few books that gave us the opportunitiy to talk about how people treat each other. We charted what we wanted, and didn't want for our room and they got to decide what was most important to them, bringing in their stories and personalities into the conversations.  Today, they had a chance to work with partners to draft this "promise" and together, they created this: 

I am so proud!  :) 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tricked ya!

So for those of you who don't know, I teach science two times each day.. and I love it.  Now, I never pinned myself as much of a science person... manly because I had no clue what was going on in my college science classes.  Sadly, I cannot classify rocks nor do I know the biology of a cockroach.  (Bleh).  But on the fifth grade level, it is pretty stellar.  First of all, I love hearing all their questions (and there are many). But the true reason I love teaching science is that I get to hear all of the "Ohhh!"s  "Woah!"s  "Holy moly!"s and "Did you see that?"s Today.. I heard plenty. 

We've been talking in science about writing observations, and how scientists take something ordinary and describe it in a different way.  So I presented the ten year olds with something ordinary.  Cue, Substance X

Substance X
Now you are probably thinking, well duh Micaela.. that's salt, or sugar, or maybe even baking soda.  And that's what the fifth graders thought.  They also thought: baby powder, yeast, sand, laundry detergent, and one clever soul thought it was powdered cheese.  Well, after we smelled it and felt it, we decided we needed to pour water in it to see if we could make it react. 

So that's what we did: 

And then we watched THIS happen!

Holy moly!  It grew!

 And then.... look at THAT reaction: 


It was an exciting day in room 209.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Raspy voice + tired eyes + sore feet = a successful first day of school. 

Fifth Grade Ms. K

We had a great day! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crayons or Crowns?

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make this craft.  It turned out great, but I overestimated the amount of crayons I needed and had a bunch of left over broken crayon amputees.  So in the midst of my tryingtoaccomplisheverythingonmyto-dolistsbeforeschoolstarts week, I decided to make new crayons, which is oh so exciting, and smells oh so good.  (Yummmmy melted wax smell).  Now, I'm not a very good cook.. and the fire alarm typically goes of when I try to make something edible.. but I had Kate here to supervise and help peel. 

You can find the recipe here.

 Now the unwrapping is pretty tricky.  I'd suggest using an xacto to help. 

Melty melty! 

The finished product.  Can you spot the Mizzou one? 

Now back to those to-do lists. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Christmas in August!

Today has been a fantastic day.  Let me tell you why: 

1. My classroom finally feels finished. It has taken awhile to get the final touches complete, and it's not quite perfect yet. But it's a place that makes me feel happy to walk into. Just ready and waiting for the ten year olds to come, and I hope they are just as happy walking into our room each day. 

I also got to cut out all the book tub labels out of lamination.. fantastic.   

2.  I got to find out my kiddos for next year today.  As a kid I was always excited to see who my teacher was... like, couldn't sleep excited.  Makes me wonder if my teachers were just as excited to get their lists.   

3A.  Melanie (my favorite) won So You Think You Can Dance.  She has been my favorite since her first audition.. I don't wanna say that I typically ALWAYS choose the winner right away.. but, I do.   Look how great she is: 
3B.  I won the SYTYCD bet with Mason.  YES! 

4.  My great friend Kate sent me this picture today:

Yes.. someone loading a RedBox

I was seriously starting to think there was a secret lair of minions under each RedBox who were retrieving my movies.  I have my dad to thank for these misconceptions.  

5.  I get to see this kid tomorrow:

What a great day!  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Beginnings

The beginning of the school year is always an exciting time.  Fresh pencils, a new lunchbox, pointy crayons, and brand new notebooks.  I have always loved this time of the year.  As a teacher, I love it more.  Here is some kindergarten advice for all those embarking on something new. 

Friday, August 5, 2011


I love books.  My Amazon wishlist is about 4 pages long of books that I need to own.  (If you'd like to donate to my collection, let me know.)   I recently got this book, A Place for Wonder by one of my favorite authors:  Georgia Heard. 
A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades

It's a refreshing book that tells about the importance of letting children wonder about their world and ask questions, rather than limit their questions with the answers.  With children being natural questioners, it is crucial to not put out that flame, and for those who have lost it, ignite it again by showing them the power of their wonders. 

This poem from the book has become one of my favorites.

Straight Lines
By: Georgia Heard

All the kindergartners
walk to recess and back
in a perfectly straight line
no words between them.
They must stifle their small voices,
their laughter, they must
stop the little skip in their walk,
they must not dance or hop
or run or exclaim.
They must line up
at the water fountain
straight, and in perfect form,
like the brick wall behind them.
One of their own give the job
of informer--guard of the quiet,
soldier of stillness.
If they talk
or make a sound
they will lose their stars.
Little soldier marching to and from
their hair sweaty
from escaping dinosaurs
their hearts full of loving the world
and all they want to do
is shout it out
at the top of their lungs.
When they walk back to class
they must quietly
fold their pretends into pockets,
must dam the river of words,
ones they're just learning
new words that hold the power
to light the skies, and if they don't
a star is taken away.
One star
by one star
until night grows dark and heavy
while they learn to think carefully
before skipping,
before making a wish.

"We must educate about awe--awe of our universe, awe of our planet and its eighteen-billion-year story, awes of the creatures with whom we share this planet." 

Now.. I personally wonder how new movies get into the Redbox machines.  Seriously, it boggles my mind.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thank you Matt Damon.

I stole this from a friend this morning, but a good outlook he has... and he's not bad to look at, either. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Show her how you roll.

Me and the ten year olds share a similar taste in movies.. anything animated is my cup of tea.  I have not seen Rio yet.  But this preview makes me laugh every time I see it.    Who wants to see it with me? 

Drop it, drop it, drop it low. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shark Week

When I was a little girl, my brother would force me to watch his favorite movie, Jaws (which should NOT be rated PG). It was terrifying!  He would also chase me around the pool making his hand into a fin singing the Jaws theme song which would make me scream bloody murder.  But even amongst the scarring, I do love me some Shark Week....  so in honor of this occasion:

If only I was this savvy with a knife....

AND... check out this shark cam...  live whale feedings at 10am and 3:30pm!  Sure would hate to be one of those little fishies.  Blub Blub Blub...
AND.. here is me as a shark!  Make your own!

Happy sharking!