Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cupcake Club: February

The February Cupcake Club meeting happened to fall on Valentine's Day.  We  baked red velvet cupcakes, and members decorated them with three different designs:

1.  Sweet Heart Cupcakes 
While I don't have a picture to share, there are beautiful examples provided in this link.  The kids were instructed to slice off the top of the cupcake.  They set it on a piece of wax paper at the work station.  We didn't have heart-shaped cookie cutters in the right size, so the kids used a knife to cut a small heart from the center of the top. After discarding (or eating) the heart, they dusted the top with powdered sugar.  They were then asked to spread frosting on the cupcake (the cake in the paper liner) before replacing the top on the cupcake.  Once the cupcake had been reassembled, the pink frosting peeked through the heart.

2.  For the second cupcake, they spread cream cheese frosting on the top and used Wilton sugar hearts in various shades of pink as decorations.  Pretty and simple.

3.  Love Cupcakes 
Prior to the meeting, I melted a bag of dark chocolate candy melts in the microwave.  Once smooth and creamy, I poured the melted candy into a piping bag that was fitted with a small round piping tip.  (Caution: bag was quite warm, and the candy dripped from the tip).  I wrote the word love on a sheet of wax paper I had taped to the kitchen counter.  I then drew hearts and drizzled chocolate through the center. 

If you wish to create beautiful filigree hearts, I would suggest you follow the instructions provided by Martha Stewart here

Before heading over to the school, I filled three piping bags with cream cheese frosting I had tinted pink.  Club members used large round, closed star, and open star tips (Wilton piping tips 2D and 1M) to frost these cupcakes before adding the chocolate embellishments. The Club's faculty advisor and I were impressed with the improvement in their skills!

During each meeting, the kids get to enjoy a cupcake, and they donate the rest.  Last month, one parent suggested we recognize the school district's bus drivers.  After the classroom had been cleaned up, we walked across the parking lot to the bus garage and delivered two trays of holiday cupcakes.  The gesture was greatly appreciated, and I thank Emily for the wonderful idea!

Additional Valentine's Day Party Ideas for Your Troop or Classroom

In the days leading up to yesterday's Valentine's Day party, I had mixed emotions, knowing this was the last time I would get to plan a grade school classroom holiday party.  But as they say, when a chapter ends, a new one begins.  I'm excited to discover what the future has in store.  Since the party was a success, I thought I'd share the agenda.  Please note:  a couple of the activities listed below are also described in a previous Valentine's Day post.

A couple weeks before the party, the students voted to decorate card boxes at home. When the party started, we handed out numbered post-it notes to be placed on the desks by each box.  The kids formed a line and snaked through the desks, recording the number of their favorite box for each category on a small scrap of paper.  There were four categories:  cutest, funniest, prettiest, and most creative.  They were asked not to vote for themselves, and they were allowed to write the same number for multiple categories.  Votes were tallied by an adult while the students began the next activity.

Game:  Find Your Match.   
This game is a variation of the Guess Me Icebreaker Game that we played during our troop Christmas Party in 2013I love this game because it is inexpensive and requires little, if any, preparation.  It's similar to HedBanz in the sense that a piece of paper labeled with the name of a well-known character or person is pinned to the back of each participant.  Players walk around the room, asking other players "yes" or "no" questions to try to determine his or her identity.  Once the player's identity is discovered, the player needs to find his or her match to win the game.  This activity works well with larger groups of participants.  Here are some suggestions of couples (or male and female characters who are often associated together):
      Santa and Mrs. Claus                        Mickey and Minnie Mouse
      Barbie and Ken                                Cinderella and Prince Charming
      Belle and Beast                                Anna and Kristoff
      Donald and Daisy Duck                     Kermit and Miss Piggy
      Mario and Peach                               Superman & Wonder Woman             

      Harry Potter and Hermione

I printed copies of the game instructions--one for each cluster of desks in the classroom.  There were four students in each group, and I let them play for fifteen minutes.  Huge thanks to the creator of this printable game at!  The kids had a blast, and a couple groups played the game twice in the allotted time. 

As students enjoyed their snacks, we allowed small groups of kids to pass out their valentines.  By combining these two activities, we had more time for games.

During the final ten minutes of the party, we played Pictionary (girls versus boys).  I chose a boy and girl with February birthdays to draw.  I gave each team three minutes.  Here are the words I selected from an online list of Valentine-related words:
gift          flowers          candy         kiss         
card        hug               cupid          heart       
jewelry    mailbox         diamond     teddy bear

When I left the party, I headed over to the middle school for the February Cupcake Club meeting.  I invite you to check back soon to see the cupcakes they decorated this month--a perfect snack for your next Valentine's Day party!  Thank you for reading.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

"Cultivating Thoughts" With Your Scouts

My sixth grader and her classmates had to complete a special assignment modeled after Chipotle's "Cultivating Thoughts" essay contest.  In Language Arts, they read Fue Xiong's essay "Two Minutes About Sardines" and were asked to write a narrative story about a time when food created a lasting memory.  The stories and a snack donated by Chipotle will be shared by the students at school tomorrow.  A more detailed description of the assignment can be found on my website.

I love this idea, and I brainstormed ways to incorporate it with Girl Scouts.  As you continue reading this post, I encourage you to consider how these ideas could work within your individual troop, for troops at your school, and for troops in your Service Unit. 
  1. Read Xiong's essay to the girls.
  2. Choose an idea from the list below.
  3. Girls write narratives.  Details can be found here.
  4. Print the essays on brown paper bags (or use a glue stick to adhere printer paper to the bag).
  5. Distribute bags to the girls.
  6. Share a snack.
Thinking Day
After the Thinking Day ceremony, have girls write a narrative about the state or country they chose to represent.  They could choose to write the story from a local person's point of view or from the point of view of a visitor.

Or have them write a narrative as a Girl Scout in the chosen state or country.

Juliette Gordon Low and Girl Scout Birthday
To celebrate the founder of Girl Scouts or organization's birthday, girls could:
  • listen to leaders present facts about Juliette Gordon Low's life
  • read a story about her
  • research the founder of Girl Scouts on their own
Write a narrative.  Consider:
  • writing from Juliette's point of view
  • How has her work with early scouting impacted your life?

Juniors Scribe badge--satisfy a step or two for this badge, depending on your interpretations of the steps.

Service Projects
Ask the girls to choose their favorite service project.  They may wish to consider the following when making a decision:
  • A service project completed this school year
  • Favorite service project completed as a Girl Scout
  • The most enjoyable service project
  • The service project that made the biggest impact (on her or on those served)
Write a narrative about the project.  Again, they can write from a personal point of view or from the point of view of those being served.

These thoughts are the product of a quick brainstorm.  If you have additional ideas, please comment below, and I can update the post.  Thank you for reading!