Saturday, January 23, 2016

So Cal Winter Blog Hop & Giveaway


I am thrilled to be partnering up with Kristen from Easy Teaching Tools and some other "Californiarific" - yeah, I just made that up - bloggers for the So Cal Winter Blog Hop & Giveaway! 

So what are my favorite things about Southern California? Well, I live in San Diego, so you probably expect me to say the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, or Sea World. These are definitely popular places to visit, if you are down in my area. But, I'm going to share the top 5 things I love most about my hometown!

1) Let's get the expected out of the way.... the BEACHES ... of course!  

There are many beautiful beaches in San Diego. But, my favorite beach is behind the famous Hotel Del Coronado. There is really nothing more relaxing than reading a book, and watching your kids have fun on the beach! This beach is extra special because you have "the Del" on one side, and it has a wonderful little tide pool area on the beach side, where little ones can look for crabs and other sea creatures. (If you plan a visit, come at low tide.)

2) Hiking! 

I, like many So Californians, am an outdoorsy kind of person. I love being out in nature, and use it as my gym, as often as I can (which is not often enough). If you ever come to San Diego, you have to walk Torrey Pines. It has beautiful ocean views, and is easy enough for anyone 5+.  

If you are looking for something a little more rigorous, try hiking Iron Mountain! It's about a 1,067 gain in elevation, and is just around 6.5 miles round trip. Afterwards, you can continue up the CA-67 to the town of Julian, where you can have some of their famous apple pie!

Just a sidenote: I have a personal goal to complete the 52 Hike Challenge this year!

3) Little Italy Farmers Market

I love this Saturday tradition. Great vendors, produce, and people! Here you can find the freshest uni and oysters, delicious samosas, juices, flowers, vegetables, and handmade crafts.

Potato and pea samosa with
spicy chutney.
This Saturday, I scored pastured eggs, bitter escarole,
and some beautiful romanesco broccoli.

4) More Food?  Ummmmm....Yes.  I know.  It's shameful.  And I, am absolutely shameless. Move along, friend... ooey, gooey, sweet and sticky things lie ahead.

I am a hopeless foodie! Trying new restaurants, and going to food festivals with my husband, is one of my favorite things to do!

After the farmers market, since you are already in the neighborhood, I would definitely walk the couple of blocks that it would take to get to Extraordinary Desserts. They are beautiful and tasty. I took home some chocolate chip cookies for my kids, and a passionfruit-mango cheesecake (for research purposes only). 

Maple Bacon Donuts from Great Maple Restaurant. Love!
Latin Food Festival 2015
5) Big Bear Mountain

Ok, this is not in San Diego, and I know that the last thing some of you want to see is more snow.  But, just 3 hours from here is some darned good skiing! Look at that view!

Ok, I think I have flaunted enough of just how fabulous a place So Cal is to live, work, and play in.

Moving on! I wanted to share a quick tip with you. My greatest passion as a teacher is literacy! Here is a practical tip that teachers, grades 1-2 and up, can use in their classrooms, to introduce summarizing!

One Word Summaries!

I first learned this simple strategy from Stephanie Harvey in her book, Strategies that Work. (affiliate link below)

All you do is have the students write down one word that represents the most important idea from each paragraph of a text. (Sometimes students' word choices are debatable, and lead to great discussions in the classroom. Ask students to justify their choices! Often, there is more than one correct answer!) Then, the student uses their word list to construct their own oral, or written, summary of the text. This is great for giving students practice with determining importance, and paraphrasing, as well! I've used this technique, very successfully, with articles inside of Scholastic and Time magazines. But, it also works with other multi-paragraph texts, as well.

Want to try it out? I've attached a sample of a "One Word Summary" from my Polar Bear Plunge pack!
Click here to preview this pack.
Grab your freebie, here!
I hope you, and your students, enjoy this activity! 

Thanks for stopping by! Please consider following me on my blog, Pinterest, and on Twitter! 

Now, hop on over to....

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hi Nicole! I'm a San Diego teacher too! I love the Torrey Pines hike too!

  2. I pinned the giveaway here:

    Thanks so much for the blog hop and giveaway ladies! So jealous of your lovely weather!
    I Want to be a Super Teacher

  3. I shared on Twitter here

  4. I love Big Bear too! Winter or summer it is a great place to just get away! Thanks for sharing such a great freebie. I can't wait to use it with my kiddos.

  5. Nicole,
    The bucket of sand crabs took me back to growing up here by the beach. My students talk about digging for sand crabs all the time. I love the book, Strategies That Work. Thank you for the Polar Bear Plunge activity.

  6. Hi Nicole, I loved seeing San Diego area through your lens! I never knew there were tide pools near the Hotel Del! I will have to check them out next time I am there. Your One Word Summaries are brilliant! Great way to help those littles learn to paraphrase! Thank you for sharing!
    Peggy @ Primary Flourish

  7. You sure know how to have fun on the weekends. I love, love, love Extraordinary Desserts as well! Yum!



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