Thursday, August 7, 2008

Setting Up Your Class for Less!

At my school, it is almost an on-going joke when the teachers ask me, "Where did you get that?" I respond with, "The Dollar Store."

I love searching for teacher bargains at Dollar Stores but I have to say that Dollar Tree has a nice little "line" devoted to teachers called "The Teaching Tree." In addition to their teaching products for classroom they have a MUST HAVE for every teacher: LABELS!


You can get 15 sheets of 30 labels for a dollar plus tax. The envelopes and labels number is 5160.


They even have clear labels!


I use labels for everything. I label the students' writing boxes, folders, spirals, bins, and turn in boxes.

To make labels even more useful, I like to use different types of fonts, styles of printing. Here are my two favorite places to find fonts.
I have been using FAMOUS and RETRO fonts since the 70's and 80's are coming back. All I have to say to that is ..RAD!


My theme on my door is "Who Wants To Be A Fourth Grader?"

I used my projector to show the image of "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire," edited the image in Paint to put Fourth Grader, and traced the image onto poster board.

I used large replica bills from Dollar Tree and labeled them with my students' names.
What ideas are you playing around with for your bulletin board this year? I would love to hear it. Post a comment!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fruit Machine


Fruit Machine is a great little tool for making groups. You can type in students' names and the Fruit Machine randomly picks students. I have used this with picking student pairs for projects.

I have also opened two fruit machines with one list of students' names and the other list of Texas Heroes. The first machine picks the student name and the other machine picks the Texas Hero. The student then has the name of the Texas Hero for the project.

There is also an option of using a typewriter as well. Both are fun. I have put it on my Language Arts page if you need it during the year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's Thurday! 15 Words or Less Poems

Here is Laura Purdie Salas and her famous 15 words or less poems. This week's picture is of this unique building. Are you thinking angles? What are you thinking? Put it in a poem. Post it on her site or yours!
Here is mine.
Rectangles
Arrays
4 x 6
6 x4
A Kit Kat to top it off.
Poems are great because they can be serious or silly!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Memory Challenge from Susan Taylor Brown

Every Tuesday Susan Taylor Brown encourages bloggers to write from their memories of their past. This week she asks:
What would I find if I followed you down your memory land?
Here is mine.
I had a collection of Strawberry Shortcake Dolls when I was growing up. I used to gather her and all of her BERRY best friends to play outside. I would use the bushes and plants in our front yard to create Berryland. Sometimes, she would have to borrow Barbie's Jeep when Strawberry Shortcake was bringing more friends. :)

I also begged my dad for the Barbie Dream House. On Christmas morning, it was incredible sight. I played with it for hours that first day and then not so much afterwards. The Dream House got moved to the garage because it just took up too much space in my room. My brothers dropped a weight on it and broke part of it off. But really I loved taking my dolls and toys to the great outdoors. My dad was always finding my pricey Barbies stuck in bushes or in the soil of his potted plants.


I also had a small collection of Monchichis. I loved how they could suck their thumbs. Sometimes, I would have them put their thumbs in each other mouths. Man, that seems gross now in the world of Germ-X and Purel! They had this cute little button face.
So what would your memory lane look like?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's Thursday!





Take a moment today to write a poem at Laura Purdie Salas' 15 Words or Less Poem. Here is her picture to help you get a little spark. What do you see? What do you NOT see? Oh, I can see the wheels turning in your head right now.
Here's mine.
Clouds below my feet
Like the whipped top
of frothy coffee
God's view IS awesome

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Poetry Challenge

At The Miss Rumphius Effect, bloggers are challenged with writing a stretch poem using the phrase "loose change" in the poem somewhere. Your poem can be in any form. Give it try! Just try once! Here is mine.

Deep thoughts moves to the back

Dropping off at school
Work working
Driving from ballet
Dish out dinner


Deep thoughts coming back
calling us like
the light jingle of loose change
in our pockets

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Make Your Text Talk!


On Tammy's Technology Tips for Teachers, I was introduced to a neat, little device called vozMe. You can type in text and it will turn into speech. It has a choice of female or male. It does sound a little computer sounding but is fun. VozMe has different languages as well. It is also an iGoogle tool.
I cut and pasted one of my student's writing pieces and we listened to his story. It was great little addition to publishing that piece.

So, try it! Copy and paste one of your blog posting and listen to your own blog!
On Tammy's page, there is Magic Pen. A phyiscs-engineering-G.T.-kind-0f-game.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Poetry Thursdays: Laura Purdie Salas



Every Thursday, Laura Purdie Salas has a great poetry exercise called 15 words or less Poems. She will show you a picture and you simply write a poem. Here are her guidelines if you still not sure! Come on, give it a try! Here is her picture this week.



See, very inspiring! You can do it! Can't wait to see your thoughts in poetry!
Here's mine!
hard staring water
a strange pulling
desiring to jump in
hypnotizing, mind boggling
shake back to senses

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Atherton: House of Power

Atherton By Patrick Carman is an amazing book. It is on Bluebonnet list. After I read it, I sat there for 10 minutes allowing the book's words and ideas rush over me like a waterfall. The book is THAT good!
I found this video on Youtube and it is on his site.

Be prepared to be awed!
Atherton Site

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dogs in Books


Middle of Somewhere is getting better. They have found a dog! He is a stray but very clever. "Leo" managed to stow away on the back of Grandpa's RV (next to his motorcycle). Dogs in books always add a nice comfort to the story. I guess because maybe they are loyal and give unconditional love to you. They greet you at the door and are always happy to see you. Of course, not everyone loves dogs but dogs in literature are so lovely. People who have dogs really seem to be in love with their dogs.


What books with dogs in them stand out to you that you have read?

Wind Farm Sign!


Earlier this year, I decided to take my son to the desert while we were in CA. I booked my Palm Springs trip in February without any clue about what my summer reading list would be. I have been trying to read our Texas Bluebonnet Award List in the summer for my class. I like to share some really good ones that I find (How to Steal A Dog By Barbara O'Connor and Atherton by Patrick Carman are on my top list thus far). I am currently reading Middle of Somewhere by J.B. Cheaney, a corky, little book about a grandpa driving around Kansas in his RV looking for wind (prospecting) with his grand daughter and hyper grandson. What an adventure in confined spaces!
Back to Palm Springs, I am driving on I-10 West when all of a sudden out of no where we run into a Wind Farm! Just what I had read the night before! I was actually on the verge of abandoning the book because the grandson was REALLY getting on my nerves. The author was dragging that frustration out of me. But then, I saw it ...the sign. To see those hundreds of wind turbines, I knew I had to keep reading. I am hoping to gain some compassion for the little guy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New and Improved! Bluebonnet Podcasts

I got a better microphone* and recreated my podcasts. What a difference! I updated the newest edition down Thing #21. Plus here are links to my podcast.

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor

Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins



*I got this AT&T Over-The-Head Headset H220 (High Quality Noise-Canceling Microphone) at this dollar store (Super $1 Plus?) for $1.99! (Beltway~Exit Beechnut~ Go East to Corporate Drive). They are in a box under the sunblock/suncreen display. The only thing is the actual part that goes into the computer is a bit small but works. It comes in an orange and clear container.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This is The End, Beautiful Friend(s) #23


Exit Interview without the Promissory Note!
What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?

My favorite discovery was making the Podcast! I wanted to learn how and got what I asked for. It was not hard at all and I am definitely going to make more with my class. I am going to continue to make more Podcasts with the Bluebonnets this year. So subscribe to my feed if you like to hear them.
I also like starting my Edublog and Livejournal.
I learned a lot about how to comment and thus promotes your own blog.
How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
One of my goals is to be a writer when I grow up. I have been able to find real author blogs and add comments to their pages. One author posted my comments in her blog! I feel like I have increased the level of professionalism in my writing. I feel like I am on the right road to eventually be published (hopefully before I have a cane or walker). Now that I have Google Reader I am able to view all of my favorite author blogs and continue the writing babble going on between us.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

Okay..it was FUN!!! I loved discovering new tools (Wikis, Podcasting) that can help me and my campus. I am eager to share them with my team and anyone else who will lend me their ear! I enjoyed encouraging others to keep going and offer suggestions. I made friends here that I never would have made without this 23 Things ( from other schools and districts).
What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

One thing seemed to have multiple things. Spread them out.
If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate?

Sign me up! How can I help?
How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities?

Enlightening!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thing #22 The Ning


Ning is an okay social network for teachers. Teachers are able to share resources and give ideas on lessons. I also noticed that you can join different specific groups to share lessons. What I do like is the Forums sections. Librarians post questions that where they need professional feedback about what is happening in their schools.

Here are a few forum questions:




But I like social networking for find friends from high school, previous co-workers, friends from CA, and friends from Guam. I also like Askville.com by Amazon. I can post a question and people of that network can answer and further ask questions. I posted this questions several months ago on grammar.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thing #21 How to Steal a Dog Podcast


I created a Podcast with pictures from Flickr and Shelfelf Word Press. I also used Photostory and uploaded it to Switchpod. No Problem.

At Switchpod, I made a site called Basking in Bluebonnets.

Here is my podcast on Barbara O'Connor's How To Steal a Dog.

Enjoy!
Okay, Thanks to Liz and Vaughn for helping posting my podcast. Try these and let me know which one works.


video

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thing #20 Broadcast Yourself (or someone else)

This is an awesome series on "Fast Math Tricks of Calculation" posted by glad2teach at YouTube.


YouTube allows teachers to use online videos to show different and new methods of instruction. Above, I found this math YouTube video that shows “tricks” to multiplication. The learning is instant. I love the fact that I just typed mathematics and I received 100 of hit on my topics. After viewing the video, you are given another list by the same poster about the same topic. It is definitely for teacher usage because videos can be inappropriate as well. YouTube is blocked at Spring Branch though.
Teacher Tube is a WONDERFUL resource to explain blogging, wikis etc. Actually the Common Craft Show in Plain English is incredible. I really enjoyed it the simple animation, too! I saved a lot of them to my del.icio.us page as well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thing #19 I'm Not California Dreamin anymore!

Yes, I have made it to my vacation! Weather is wonderful But back to the blog...
I found a very cool site called .Docstoc that has a data base of professional document you can use and change to your liking. They have field trip forms, invoices, receipts, you name it! It is very useful instead of recreating documents each year. You can host them there and share if you like.
I put it on my del.icio.us as a great resource all on one page.
Web 2.0 Awards is a mini list?? 500 ? There are many lists of top notch search engines and sites to visit. Here is my top mini list:
Bookmarking-del.icio.us
News Reader-Google Reader
Maps-Google Earth
Education Blog-Edublogs
Social Networking-Myspace
Videos-Youtube
Logic Games- Magic Pen
Image Hosting-Snapfish
Image Sharing-Flickr

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thing #18 With Arms Wide Open Office


When we received our new laptops, Texas Techie told me about Open Office. I went and downloaded it to all of my computers. It is a neat, little online document making device. It automatically converts to Microsoft Office if you move your document somewhere else. I have used it a couple of times for fun.
I went to explore Google Docs. It is also a neat, little site as well. What I truly like is that I can create documents and save it there without a SAN drive or disk. I don't have to save it to the desktop and then email it to myself. Since I love to travel (my travel blog), Google Docs is an awesome way for me to work on stuff while away from my home.
I know I should enjoy my vacations but sometimes I get a crazy idea and I have to write it down. If you work with me, you know my creative side is on. Of a bit off, depending on how you look at it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thing #17 Rollyo Down The River


I am proud (Mary) to say that I finally created a Rollyo. Rollyo was a bit confusing at first. I was rereading to look for the purpose and I was just not getting it. So I went forward and made one based on the sites that I always visit: book purchasing sites. Then it hit me that I could create a Rollyo for research for Texas History! I could create one for a specific science concept such as Magnetism and Electricity. Basically, I could narrow the sites and filter out anything that would get in the way of the actual research (like Reliant or Center Point or some one's myspace page). Okay...I see how it can be used useful for student use. Here is my Book Purchasing Rollyo I mentioned.

On another note, "The High Roller" made me laugh. I am thinking Reno, not Vegas.

Thing #16 It's Not Too Late, To Wiki...Wiki Good!

I can see how I can use Wikis for Problem Based Unit planning with my class. Students can plan how to solve our problem based unit called "In the Writer's Mind" with a wiki. Students can brainstorm a list of what makes an effective writer. They could list all of the things a writer needs to be successful for their readers. In Problem Based Learning, all ideas are welcome so I would have to some assign the teams with different font color to see where the idea originated.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Thing #15 Give Me Library or Give Me Death!

What a powerful video! I had to put it on my del.icio.us page as a reminder of how things in our world are changing.

Library 2.0 is a way for all learners, young and old, to keep up with technology. I have heard grumbling from librarians that are not happy about being media specialists instead of librarian. Basically, not happy with the fact of focusing their lessons on not just using the Dewey System looking for a book but on using online resources. I then use that lesson for my own research lessons afterwards. So I do see the benefit of that. I know it is asking more of a librarian but we could use the library so much more.

But, NOTHING can beat read aloud in the library, in the classroom, anywhere, from a book. I believe that the books need to stay. I was talking to another teacher about the articles posted at Thing #15. She expressed how her little boy looks forward to going to the library in search of books. It got me thinking about "laptime," how important that reading with kids in your "lap."It is one of the elements that encourages a life-time reader.
I saw this awesome blog. Click on the picture!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thing #14 Stuck A Feather in His Hat and Called it Technorati!


Technorati was easy enough to navigate through. It seems a bit slow though. Maybe it is my computer's downloads I have recently acquired through this Summer Blogging. :0) What I love about that Technorati video was how they said this Technorati gives the Internet back to the people. I have not really thought about how big business has taken over the Net in the past few years. Technorati gives everyday people a voice through blogging. What are people talking about? What are people searching for ? What are people's candid thoughts on real topics that I want to talk about.
BUT it needs to work on layout, color, and font. Not very inviting for all types of bloggers. I get my FREE fonts from Urban fonts. I like famous category.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thing #13 Tag, You're It!

del.icio.us is another fancy favorites for you! However, instead of Favorites for solely for one computer, del.icio.us allows the favorites to be site hosted. Also, you can create a network where you can share articles or sites that you want others to explore as well.
Tagging allows us to organize your sites. Also, tags help others to find specific interests they might want to research about.
I found this kid friendly search engine that just blows my mind called Redzee. It claims to be G-rated. However, there is a comment from someone who says that it is not. I tested it and it seemed fine to me. Try it! You will love it!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

On the 12th Thing of Christmas...

Comments are essential to create a community of communication. Students desire feedback from the assignments, especially in writing. Comments on blogs are a way for bloggers to create dialogue and feedback for one another. It creates depth in a blog when more than one blogger is "talking" about a topic. It allows those who just want to view encouraged to just drop a line or actually engage in a deep conversation (or lack thereof).
The sites are basically give you etiquette advise for commenting back to the original blogger. They are trying to avoid too much conflict within the blog. Road Rage=Blog Rage!
Ten Commandments were a great resource for proper manners.
Also, contribute to the blog to keep the academic babble going!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thing #11 And I don't want to miss a "Librarything"

Librarything is a nice site for looking and posting about books you love. I truly adore children's literature. This is a great site for sharing your thoughts about a good book with other teachers. If you have a new book, you can check out different comments from other teachers. It is a tripadvisor for book if you will.
Of course, you can buy books from http://www.amazon.com/ while you are there. I have received all of my Bluebonnet Award Winning Books from Amazon for very cheap. Look for the used book section. However, I have received new books from Amazon at used book prices from their vendors.
There are many groups, almost too many to shift through.
Top Five Kids Books Ever: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, Chicken Boy by Frances O'Roark Dowell, Firegirl by Tony Abbot, How To Steal A Dog by Babara O'Connor

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thing #10 Image Generator of the Lost Ark



















This was a ton of fun looking at the different pictures and ideas swirling around my brain and the site. You could do a Texas Heros Trading Card! You could use the www.Comicstripgenerator.com for morning riddles or place one on your ActivBoard with the homework assignment. Like Ultimate Teacher stated in his blog, I wish we could store our creations and thus not recreating it. Yes, we could store in as a .jeg in the SAN folder but now we are spoiled with the image hosting sites like Flickr our "techie stuff." Wait, could we store them there???

http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/deck.php Trading Cards
http://www.comicstripgenerator.com/ Cat

Thing #9 Keep On Pushing My Love Over the "Bloglines"

Bloglines is a wonderful way to search for blogs quickly. Mostly everything that I was interested in was being posted by people, except for CCP and John O. I found great ideas about books I love to read in class by searching the author's name. It was great to find even more ideas for my favorite read alouds.
The most confusing thing seemed to when I click on the RSS button, I wasn't sure if I added it or not. It would show up on Favorites but not on my Google Reader. I had to toggle between pages to somehow add subsbritpion to my Google Reader. Meanwhile, I could have just typed in msn.com and go straight to where I wanted to go! Oh well.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thing #8 R-S-S-P-E-C-T: Find Out What It Means To Me!

I created in my Google reader 5 blogs and one site that I like to visit. I have to say that I did not know what that little RSS symbol was. It was appearing on site all over the Internet but I had no idea what it was. People would say,"Oh, it's a feed," and that was pretty much it. It seems to me to a fancy favorites kind of thing with current update about what topics or sites you visit.
I can see how it saves time from you searching out to the sites. But like this Library2Play, I have to have two windows open to post and view. In the class, I can preset my sites ahead of time for lessons.

Thing #7 You Give Me the "Google"bumps!

I created an igoogle page for my home computers and my computers at school. There is an excellent brain teaser theme tools addition that I use in the classroom. My G.T. kids especially enjoy this feature as well as all kids. Here is a great one.
Help! A Remainder is Chasing Me
I just found a number with an interesting property:

When I divide it by 2, the remainder is 1.
When I divide it by 3, the remainder is 2.
When I divide it by 4, the remainder is 3.
When I divide it by 5, the remainder is 4.
When I divide it by 6, the remainder is 5.
When I divide it by 7, the remainder is 6.
When I divide it by 8, the remainder is 7.
When I divide it by 9, the remainder is 8.
When I divide it by 10, the remainder is 9.
It's not a small number, but it's not really big, either.
Find the smallest number with such property.

Plus random cat pictures, Bejeweled, and National Geographic picture of the day.
I also like Google Earth. Students are able to find our school and their house. We also used it to view our "virtual" vacation we planned in mathematics. Students were given a budget of $5,000 and had to figure in the cost of flight, hotel, car, and attractions. Google Earth allowed students to see their featured destination without having to actually go there. Very Cool Tool!

Thing #6 Who let the Dogs Out?

What a great, wonderful tool! I created a magazine cover with a Bluebonnet Award Winning book. It is a little text heavy for me but I can truly see how the kiddos could do this with their favorite Bluebonnet. Students could make a Famous Texans Magazine Cover or even explore with Tom Romano's Multi-Genre Writing.
What is Multi-Genre Writing? Oh, let me guide you to amazing genres of writing with Tom Romano...

Thing #5 They call him Flickr...Flickr Faster than Lightning...


Flickr is a wonderful image-hosting site. Instead of overloading our SAN folders with videos and images, this is a nice place to find images you might need for ACTIVboard flipcharts and Powerpoints. Sometimes you need an image for a pictorial input or just for inferencing, Flickr is a great quick resource. If you notice on this page, I have a rolling slideshow to the right using Photobucket. Photobucket is another great resource that another teacher (H.G.) introduced me to. Google is good but with copy rights you can be too careful. Our kiddos are very visual and thus Flickr can be an easy resources to help you find images. Click on logo to go to Flickr.

Thing #3 Part 2 Far Out Avatar!

I have been advised that I could change my avatar for our fun adventure in blogging this summer. I shall cut and paste my Yahoo Chat Avatar for all to see.
But, however, I absolutely love the ocean. It is so vast and deep, undiscovered depths that only one could imagine. Have you ever sat on a surf board and bobbed like a cork on top of the sea? How small you feel sitting there! You feel like a "O" in the H20 in a drop of sea water as you gently rock back and forth. Your head spins and you imagine how far deep the ocean is beneath you. You start to imagine the thousands, no millions, of animals swimming under you! WOW!
Yahoo! Avatars

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thing #4

I emailed Vaughan and registered on PDLC. This is so refreshing to learn, play, and post.

Thing #3

Well I already created a blogspot earlier this year because a few friends and teachers wanted to read a book together. So I also created my avatar. I picked my favorite artist, Christian Lassen, surfer and talented artist. A good rep for me!
http://www.lassenart.com/

Thing #1

This is what I have been waiting for online SD. I love this idea. Finally...

Thing #2

I really like habit #2 and 3 "Begin with the End in Mind" and Put First things First." It is important for me to have a personal mission for my class. It guides me in what my goals are for my class and as a growing professional educator. I struggle with habit # 4 "Think Win/Win." I do not seek out professional relationship that are mutually beneficial. If someone needs help, you help them.