GingerSass

adding ginger to your sass

GingerSass - adding ginger to your sass

I’m really bad at saying thank you.

For close to 2 months, I’ve been trying to find the words to say to thank the amazing individuals who sent books my way for my classroom and #Booksgiving.

I’ve literally been trying to write about my reaction to this year’s #Booksgiving for 3 weeks now. Every time I open my phone to upload the pictures I want to use, I come dangerously close to crying. 

Just know that I love each and every one of you who found me through The Bloggess, and I’ve spent a decent amount of time these past few weeks randomly getting teary eyed and showing my wife the HRC and Ms. Marvel and Amy Poehler and Issa Rae and dozens of other books you all have graciously donated to my classroom library.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

I still can’t think of anything that isn’t rambling to say thank you with.

I’m really bad at saying thank you.

So, instead, I’ll share some facts. (I promise they’re not alternative.)

  1. So many books were donated to my classroom this Booksgiving that I actually had to go out and buy another bookshelf for my classroom. (Thanks for the $17 hook up, Walmart.)I then had to put said bookshelf together, WHICH I’VE DONE BEFORE THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Unfortunately, I kind of struggled putting this bookshelf together. My students started calling me “Barbour the Builder” and singing “Can she fix it? No she can’t!” They said this with love, and, much to their surprise, after a week long struggle, I finally got the bookshelf together. Can she fix it? Yes she can!
  2. Two weeks ago, after finally putting together said bookshelf, I started organizing my library. The big shelf the school gave me is for a hodge podge of everything. The one little shelf is for poetry only. The Barbour the Builder Bookshelf is a little different. My students and I had a conversation that went a little bit like this over it:Me: “Okay, I just put star stickers on all my poetry books so put all the starred books in the poetry bookcase when you’re done. These other books were all donated through this thing called #Booksgiving. The new small bookshelf is going to be where they go, the “The World Sucks But You Don’t” bookshelf, or something like that, cuz that’s why I requested all these books for you.”Student: “Ms. B., you have dinosaur stickers, right?”Me: “Yea, why?”

    Student: “Put dinosaurs on those books. We’re tough, but unlike dinosaurs we’re never gonna be extinct.” 

    You bet I got a little teary eyed over that.

  3. I’ve been adamant this year that my students have 2 choices if they finish their work early. They can either write and submit a creative piece for the school literary journal I run, or they can read a book. This has led to students spending more time on their work, students actually engaging in creative writing, and, to my biggest surprise, students actually reading. (In my 4 years of teaching, it’s usually only been a few students that actually are reading.)I’ve also told each of my classes that I’m willing to play matchmaker and set them up on a blind date with a book if they tell me a little bit about what they’re looking for/ what their mood is.It’s been working out really well. I even set up a student in a long-term relationship with Ms. Marvel!

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you to all of you who donated and believe in the literacy of teenagers.

You’re the best.

PS A few people have reached out to me and asked if there’s any way they can donate to my Donor’s Choose project I mentioned in my comment on Jenny’s blog. I actually made a new project. Today is #BestSchoolDay, and any donations made today will be matched by Aspect Ventures. It’s a shot in the dark, but I’m trying to fund 4 ipads for my classroom so that my students can make visual and audio poetry for National Poetry Month. If you can’t donate today, but can in the next 7 days, please use the code “LIFTOFF,” as donations up to $50 will be matched using that.

So. If you’d like my students to make some pretty creative visual and audio poetry for you, please check out iPads for National Poetry Month 2017! Thank you!

Booksgiving

Last year, Jenny (The Bloggess) started this beautiful thing called Booksgiving. It started with her wanting to give away 30 copies of her book, Furiously Happy. All her loyal followers wanted to give away books too, so everyone started sharing Amazon wishlists.

I shared my class library wishlist, not expecting much.

Various strangers sent me 18 books for my library.

EIGHTEEN.

Booksgiving 2016 may have overwhelmed my USPS delivery guy. Sorry.

I was overwhelmed.

This year, I shared my wishlist again. This time, however, it took on a more political tone. I wanted to create a list that will help my students find their worth in our society.

As an English teacher in a district where we don’t always have the money for luxuries like books for a classroom library, I cannot tell you how excited my students were last year to receive new books that they had actual interest in. Booksgiving made a huge difference in my classroom, and it definitely helped my students in ways I didn’t know it could. They’d actually stay after school to look through my library and borrow books. I recently instated a rule where my students must either free-write stories to submit to the literary magazine I run for extra credit or read a book from my class library. The library has gotten a lot of action lately! I always tell my students to tell me what they’re into, or what sort of book they feel like reading. 9 times out of 10 I’m able to match my students with books that they actually enjoy, mostly due to the donations people have been kind enough to make.

Recently, students have been requesting me to find books that help them feel better about themselves, especially since the election. Politics aside, my students are lacking self-worth this year. It’s like they’ve been constantly told they’re not of value, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve been working on an Amazon Wishlist to expand my library with books that can help them find themselves, and see themselves as I see them– as really important, valuable members of not only our classroom, but of society as well.

I shared this on Jenny’s post on the second annual Booksgiving, and didn’t think much of it, hoping to maybe get another book or two to add to my library. My list was ridiculously long, with 65 books, because I’ve been making a huge list to upload to a DonorsChoose project I haven’t gotten around to posting yet.

I just looked at my Wishlist, and it only has 32 books left on it.

That means strangers have purchased 33 books for my class library.

THIRTY-THREE.

I was overwhelmed last year by 18. I can barely process 33. I’m glad we have a snow day today because I need to process this kindness of strangers.

So, if you’re one of those strangers, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I keep switching between crying and smiling. My dog thinks I’m crazy. Maybe I am, but jeez. It’s because I keep thinking of how much of a difference these books are going to make.

Thank you for making this teacher cry/smile, and thank you for giving my students a chance. I am eternally grateful.

THANK YOU.

All my gratitude,

Kailynn

PS To those of you who stumbled upon my site as a result of Booksgiving, if you want to keep in touch/ be internet friends, know that I’ve had writer’s block for about a year. I’m trying to write more on my blog, truly, I am. However, it’s more likely you’ll find me on instagram or Twitter. (I tweet sparingly these days, but that’s something I want to improve on too.)

Potachos

I’m a Jersey girl, through and through. While I initially refused to consider attending Rutgers when I was in high school, I ultimately completed both my undergrad and graduate degrees there. With the New Brunswick Campus came some of the most memorable meals a Rutgers grad could ever experience: fat sandwiches at the Scott Hall bus stop at 1:30am (RIP to both the Grease Trucks and the Scott Hall bus stop!), fishbowls, and, of course, potachos at Stuff Yer Face.

A few weeks ago, I was craving potachos. Yet, despite living only half an hour or so away from New Brunswick, the idea of going out on a Saturday night, finding parking, and dealing with the college crowd (some of which are now my former students–yikes!) really didn’t appeal to me.

So, I Googled “potacho recipe.”

I couldn’t find the right recipe so I made up my own, borrowing bits and pieces from Busy-at-Home and Food.com and tweaking them where I saw fit.

A few of my friends asked for the recipe so here it is. Enjoy! 🙂

Potachos

What you need:

6 russet potatoes, sliced thin (you can use more if you’d like)

a large bowl of salt water (sea salt really adds to it!)

olive oil

8 oz of shredded cheddar cheese

2-3 chopped scallions (or 3 teaspoons of freeze dried chives)

1 small can of sliced black olives

some diced tomato (1 small tomato should be enough)

4-6 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled up

1/4-1/2 cup of sour cream, depending on your taste

ketchup, depending on your taste

salt & pepper for seasoning

You can also add onions, tomatoes, peppers, BBQ sauce, pulled pork, buffalo chicken, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Directions:

  1. After you have sliced the potatoes, put them in a large bowl of salt water to soak for at least 30 minutes. (The longer you soak them, the longer they absorb the salt taste and the crispier they get when you cook them. How much salt you put into the water is up to you.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Drain the slices and pat them dry.
  4. Toss the slices in olive oil. Then salt and pepper them to taste. (Don’t forget they’ve already been soaking in salt water!)
  5. Spread the slices evenly on a large baking sheet.
  6. Bake them for 10 minutes. Then flip them and bake another 10 minutes.
  7. Take them out of the oven. Top them with the cheese, scallions/ dried chives, tomatoes, black olives, and bacon. I find it turns out really well when you put about 2/3 of the cheese on the first layer, then put the rest of the cheese on top of everything else.
  8. Squeeze ketchup on top of all this. (Drizzling is better than glops of ketchup!)
  9. Put this back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so.
  10. Put the sour cream on top and serve.

This should be enough for 4-6 people if you are eating other things, but if you’re doing this in true Rutgers fashion, this will serve 2. 🙂

Here are some pics from a few weeks ago when I first made this. I’m making these again tonight so I’ll update with better pictures. (I didn’t have all the ingredients when I was craving them a few weeks back!)

If you make these, let me know how they turn out, and if you tweaked them at all!! 🙂