Mac-N-Cheese Please!!

Are you ready to have the greatest mac-n-cheese ever?!? It may come as a surprise but did you know that children's book author and illustrator Todd Parr is also an amazing cook?! Well, he is! Here is Todd's recipe for the the best mac-n-cheese EVER. 

Let’s start with the ingredients

  • 1 box of pasta (if you use elbow macaroni you can talk about different body parts!! Science!!)
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2TBS butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you do.

Boil water and cook macaroni. Set aside.

In a separate pot over medium heat add 2 TBS of butter.

When melted add a small handful of the cheddar cheese.

To the cheese and butter add a full can of condensed milk.

Add remaining cheese and turn the heat on low.

Stir continually until the cheese is completely melted.

Add the cheese to the pasta and stir.

WARNING: This will be hot!

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wanna turn this into a tasty math and science lesson? Here’s how.

Start with the measuring. Have the little ones measure out the butter and cheese. If your child is anything like me make sure to watch them with the cheese (I’m a totally cheese sneeker!) Measuring allows your child to work on quantity, volume, fractions, and one-to-one correspondence.

Boiling the water is a great place to insert some science. You can talk about the properties of water. Ask your little learner what happens when water gets cold and when it gets hot. Ask them to make predictions about what will happen when you add heat. You can even do a time exploration by making predictions about how long they think it will take for the water to boil.

Bring in some more science with the cheese sauce. Discuss how cheese is a solid (another place to insert some science vocabulary). Then ask them what they think will happen when you add the cheese to the heat.

Finally, you can wrap up this mini lesson with setting the table. Have your little one count how many cups, plates, and forks you will need for dinner. Let them set the table and count as they do each place setting.

Sharing a meal is a powerful thing. According to The Family Dinner Project, sharing regular meals with family reduces substance abuse and depression, while promoting higher grade point averages and boosting self-esteem. 

MASSIVE thanks to Todd for sharing his home, his food, and his friendship! Check out Todd Parr for all things Todd! 

                                            -Ms. Giannini


Unity, Kindness, and Peace

We all want what's best for our children. We want them to be safe, kind, loved, the list goes on and on. Events this past year may have you feeling; sad, confused, scared and nervous. Your children may have felt this way too. Dialogue may be difficult and you may be looking for answers and resources. Guess what?  You're not alone. Here are some resources and things to consider.

Links to books and activities which promote unity, kindness, and love

Ideas for kindness

Self-care tips

See an activity which worked well? A book your family shared? Something not on the list, but is a great resource? Insert in the comments below and share.


                                                                                                Mrs. Giannini


The Best-Ever Books for Preschool Rug Time

Reading to children is one of my favorite parts of being a teacher. Nothing is better than 20 captivated little ones listening intensely to a story. When we read to kids amazing things are happening. They learn language, sequencing, comprehension, logical thinking — basically the list goes on and on. However, if the story flops (and we’ve all been there) the kids take nothing away and you are left frustrated. 

To start, a quick video of my top ten favorite rug time books.

And now, after putting out feelers to the teaching community, I offer you more rug time books that are guaranteed to keep our little ones engaged! These are in no particular order. Enjoy!

Little Nino’s Pizzeria - by Karen Barbour

Art and Max - by David Wiesner

13 Words - by Lemony Snicket

Fortunately – by Remy Charlip

The Mixed Up Chameleon – by Eric Carle

The Gruffalo – by Julia Donaldson

Ain’t Gonna Paint No More – by Karen Beaumont

Quick as a Cricket – by Audrey Wood

One Hungry Monster – by Susan Heyboer

A Soup Opera – by Jim Gill

The Jazz Fly – by Matthew Gollub

Please, Mr. Panda – by Steve Antony

The Day the Crayons Quit – by Drew Daywalt

The Very Busy Spider – by Eric Carle

Little Blue Truck – by Alice Schertle

The Dot – by Peter H. Reynolds

Skippyjon Jones – by Judith Schachner

The Paper Bag Princess – by Robert Munsch

And my personal favorite…….. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge – by Mem Fox

Warning: Grab a box of tissues

If I missed your personal favorite don’t forget to include it in the comments below... because amazing rug times are No Small Matter.

Why You Should Try Cross-Curricular Teaching

How does cross curricular teaching work in an early childhood classroom? Students from Columbia College Chicago produced this video at a YMCA preschool exploring how teaching across subjects works for early learners, and why it's important for building school readiness. 

When children learn out in the world, they use all their senses, so why not put all five senses to work in the classroom too? Cross-curricular teaching creates a connection between all subjects through a common theme, giving kids an opportunity to learn multiple subjects without even realizing it.

For example, in a cross-curricular lesson plan, there might be a letter of the week -- let's say, "I" for "insect." Children would count the body parts, legs, and antennae of different insects to learn math skills. For vocabulary, they would learn the names of the body parts. Then for art, they would get creative making their own bugs.

Cross-curricular teaching ties all the subjects together, and makes it easier to learn through repetition. It's one more method for you to try out with your little learners, at home or in the classroom.