Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summertime Gluten-Free Goodness--Sugar Cones!

I was absolutely thrilled when I found Joy Cone's Gluten-Free Sugar Cones a couple of weeks ago! My mom, grandparents, and I took a day-trip to Lancaster and stopped at the Shady Maple grocery store. They always carry some different GF items so I like to take a look when we go. And that's when I discovered these sugar cones! Yes, there are other gluten-free cones out there. But these are extra-special because, not only are they gluten-free, but they are also potato-free! ( Note--The cones do contain corn and soy.) On top of celiac disease, I have a plethora of food allergies, including potato. If you're gluten-free, too, you know that this is a horrible combination since so many GF products on the market are made with potato flour/starch. (This is why Bradley and I make all of our own baked goods and bread.) These cones are a delicious treat, and they are wonderful with So Delicious frozen desserts! (Yes, dairy is also on my list of allergies.) 

And it never hurts to write and let a company know how much you appreciate their product!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Choice Reading--What Students Say

Back in April, I shared my thoughts on the power ofchoice reading. I’ve now gone through the course evaluations and reflections my English 10 students submitted on the last day of class, and I want to share what they said about choice reading. As part of their year-end reflection, students were asked to reflect on their growth over the course of the school year: “How have you grown as a reader, writer, and presenter? What are your goals for continued growth? How has your view of literature developed over the course of the school year?”  Many students wrote about the Choice Reading program. The comments below are actual student statements about reading. If you’re on the fence about starting a Choice Reading program in your classes, I hope that these student comments will inspire you!

One other thought about Choice Reading before the comments---After my initial Choice Reading post, my IB I students asked why they don’t have Choice Reading time. Some of my students follow me on Twitter and saw the post.  I felt so bad when they came to class the next day and asked this question! One of my goals for this coming school year is to work Choice Reading time into my IB classes, too. I guess I assumed that because they were taking IB English, they loved to read and were, therefore, reading on their own. Not true. So many of my IB students are overwhelmed with school work and other activities; they feel like they don’t have time to read anymore. Choice Reading in class would not only be an escape for these students, but it could also encourage them to find time to read outside of school.

And now, what students have to say about Choice Reading:

·         “If I had to choose my favorite time of the school day, I would probably choose the 15 minutes of choice reading we get. It’s a time where I get to shut out the rest of the world and focus on a different one. I haven’t had a time like this since 5th grade and I’ve missed it. This time has allowed me to read and find books I care about and actually want to read. I find that I’ve started staying up past twelve reading and I love it! I have found a new passion and reading has become a big part of my life this year. The more I read the more I want to read more, and my view on literature has grown greatly.”

·         “I am happy that we got the opportunity to have the fifteen minutes to read in the beginning of class every class. I usually get lazy to read on my own volition, but having this reading time motivates me to read.”

·         “I felt like I grew a lot as a reader throughout the year because I read a lot more than I usually do and I actually sort of enjoyed it.”

·         “At the beginning of the year I enjoyed reading but always put it to the wayside to other things, like video games. Later in the year I found myself picking up a book more and more because I now want to read the book.”

·         “Reading has always been something I had enjoyed until last year when we were beginning to be forced into reading certain books. However, when I opened my mind more to realizing that the books they chose for us were not that bad, I got back into reading. Also, this year I have found my favorite author, Sarah Dessen, and many other authors that I have fallen in love with. I think the choice reading during class has been my favorite part of the year and has in a way saved my love for reading.

·         “I’ve grown as a reader by being able to read the first 15 minutes of every class. I never used to read before and since we started with reading every class, I actually like reading a lot. I read in my free time which I never ever used to do.”

·         “I no longer hate the idea of reading. It’s kind of enjoyable now.”

·         “Before this year I hated to read. No, I mean it. I really hated reading….I wasn’t interested. It changed this year…As this year went on, I found that the books we read in class were a little more interesting. Some of them were relatable to me. Then we also had to read free-choice books. I started picking those the old way—by length. But then I stumbled on a book I really enjoyed…I found that I started to like reading somewhat. I still prefer television and movies but I learned that if a book is well written and the subject is interesting to me then I can find enjoyment in it. This is very different than how I thought of books at the beginning of the school year.”

·         “I used to love reading, but didn’t read often. Now I’ve gotten back to frequently reading not because I have to, but because I want to.”

·         “I learned to appreciate books again. The 15 minutes of quiet reading were sometimes the best fifteen minutes of the day. I would often find myself wishing it was more than 15, and I would really get into the reading.”

·         “I have always been a book worm, but this year I started reading a lot more. Normally I stick to books with romance, or books about teenagers, but I really branched out this year. For example, The Help was the first book I read this year that wasn’t about a love story. I still love Nicholas Sparks, but I really wanted to get some diversity in what I was reading. I also became a much faster reader. I am proud of how many books I read this year.”