Monday, December 14, 2009

Toro and the Texans

Another part of our crazy week.....Toro and the Texans came to visit us! Toro and the football players "calling" in talked about to us about proper excercise and eating healthy. The best part was when students from the audience got to dance with Toro! One of our students was able to break it down with Toro!!!
video

Counting Down....

How many days left until Christmas??? The students in my class are looking forward to the Christmas break just as their teacher is!
Last week, our elf Elfina came to watch over us in our classroom! At night, she goes up to speak with Santa to tell him about our behavior. It is SO fun having her! Every morning, we look for her in our classroom to see where she chose to land next. We write her questions and sometimes she even writes us back!

We also read many different versions of the Gingerbread Man last week. Some titles include The Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett, Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett, Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Earnst, and The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt. There are SO many different titles to choose from! After reading the The Gingerbread Man on Monday, our gingerbread man ran away! We went on a week-long hunt throughout our school looking for him! We finally found him our classroom on Friday and he brought us a treat.... gingerbread cookies!

Another busy week....

Last week was a busy week.....
We started off the week with a visit from Casey Curry, a meteorologist from Channel 13 news. She was very nice and informative and certainly kept the students' interest. video

It was also GO Get It week where we concentrated on the importance of higher education. Students decorated pennants at home with their favorite college and sent in to be displayed on our classroom door. We also showed our spirit by wearing a college shirt on Thursday.

Friday was Career Day! We had many parents that graciously volunteered their time to come in and talk with students about their career and the education needed. These parents came in during our PEAMs time, but we also had the opportunity to have a real-live scientist visit our classroom......Dr. Bill! Ava's dad, Mr. Jackson, did many different things with the students including discussing the changes in matter, demonstrating it, and even involving the students! What a treat!
Dr. Bill giving us the scoop...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Video of snow

Our first video....

This is right when the snow began.




video


Our second video.....

This was after lunch when the snow began to stick


video

Snow in Pearland!!



It was a crazy day on Friday when snow began to fall before 8:00am and didn't stop until near 4:00pm! We had an amazing day playing in the snow and even just watching it fall out the window! We decorated our Christmas tree in our classroom during our spare moments and even made hot cocoa! After reading Who'll Pull Santa's Sleigh Tonight by Laura Rader http://www.amazon.com/Wholl-Pull-Santas-Sleigh-Tonight/dp/0060080906/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260158557&sr=8-1, a great story about Santa and Mrs. Claus using hot cocoa to help the reindeer get better, we decided as a class to use our measurement skills to follow the recipe in the back. What great fun!

Our yummy hot cocoa
What was left of our class after early dismissal was announced....




Monday, November 30, 2009

November....It has flown by!



I am sad to say that I have let the month of November go by without posting.....I HAVE got to get better about it! :)

The month started off with our celebration of the 50th day of school with a 50's day celebration. We had a lot of fun during the day doing including different activities, learning more about the time period through a short video and PowerPoint, and a 50's sock hop in the hallway! The children absolutely loved it! They were able to dress the part by rolling up their jeans and shirts, poodle skirts and pearls, and scarves around their necks....of course it had to remain in dress code. :)





We also learned about the usual pilgrims and Native Americans and the story of Thanksgiving during the month of November. We did an in-depth study using online resources, videos from Discovery Education, and different types of literature, fiction and non-fiction.



During this time, we did an investigative unit about corn. We manipulated different types of corn including Indian corn, yellow corn, popcorn, candy corn, kernels, etc. The students worked hard to identify different properties of corn through investigations such as sink or float and comparing the different types using hand lenses and their five senses. We recorded our information on a large corn stalk with the properties listed on corn cobs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spirit Night- Spring Creek BBQ

Tonight was a great night at Spring Creek BBQ in Pearland! Our school had a Spirit Night where a percentage of the proceeds is given to our school PTO. What a great place! Teachers were there working to help greet customers and serve Hot Fresh Bread (not rolls). Everyone there was very kind to us, very helpful! Teachers were given a free apron to wear and take home, a free meal afterwards, and we are supposed to receive a $25 gift card. It was great to see all of the smiling faces hollering "Mrs. Bonner, Mrs. Bonner" out there with their families to support Silverlake Elementary. Thank you Spring Creek BBQ for an awesome night!

Firefighters

BIG Firetruck!
Do I look confident in what I am doing???

Since October is the month to discuss fire safety, we had firefighters visit our school. It was a great group of men that really explained things to the students on their level. They allowed them to view the firetruck, they discussed fire safety, showed the students the gear firefighters wear, and demonstrated stop, drop, and roll with the students. One fun thing they did was dress up a teacher in the firefighters' gear. Guess who that teacher was????? ME! The children enjoyed it and I have a new found respect for firefighters and the job they do. Just getting on that gear is enough. It is heavy, hot, and stinky! To sum it all up, they even brought prizes for all of the students! Thank you Pearland Volunteer Fire Department!

Pumpkins

Our pumpkin patch


So I am going to try to catch up in a couple of different posts.....
Last week, we extended our study of fall with pumpkins. Many of the students brought in different types of pumpkins and gourds. To display these and of course since we learned they grew on vines, the students assisted in making a pumpkin patch in our classroom. During our station time, students in science station had the opportunity to explore the different ones using hand lenses and recorded their data. We also used the different pumpkins to compare and predict weights, order by size, and we will be carving pumpkins this week. That is the fun part!I can't wait. It is an OOOOEYYYY-GOOOOEYYY mess, but they love it! We will decide as a class what geometrical shapes to cut to make faces and also count the seeds by making sets of tens.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Community Helpers/ Fire Safety

This week we have been studying fire safety and looking at the individuals who exhibit good citizenship in our community. The students have enjoyed exploring this through literature and online resources. One site the students enjoyed is http://www.firesafety.gov/kids/flash.shtm. There are different games that the students can play including crosswords, word searches, coloring page, and quizzes. One fun thing we did when talking about was dress up as our chosen occupation and take pictures. We then wrote about what we want to be when we grow up. The children were TOO cute! They used known sight words to write their sentences. I will have to post pictures soon.....
I am ready for some cooler weather. This business in the 80's and 90's is crazy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Exploring Leaves







Today we explored leaves that we found on our fall walk on Tuesday. We made observations and recorded what our leaves looked like. We also measured them using unifix cubes, a non-standard unit. We tested to see how many pennies it took to sink the leaves, and we also counted to see how long it would take for our leaves to fall to the ground. What a great exploration project and the students really enjoyed it!

Apple Tasting

Today we had an apple taste test with many different "apple" things. We tasted red, yellow, and green apples. We also tasted apple pie, apple juice, and our homemade apple sauce. Our homemade apple sauce was made using the different apples brought in by students. Our favorite activity of the day was peeling the apples using an old fashioned apple peeler! WHAT FUN! Here is a video of us peeling one of our apples...
video

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Walk






Today we went on a "Fall Walk" around our campus to see if we could find any signs of fall. We were able to find some leaves changing color and some fallen leaves on the ground. The children had a great time being detectives looking for clues of the season changing. We also found acorns, a feather, and even a bird's nest. The children loved it! We saved all of our findings to add to our Science station in the classroom! Even though not many signs of fall are evident now in Texas, it was still a lot of fun!



video

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BOOK FAIR IS COMING!

So, the first book fair of the year begins on Friday. The students were SO excited to preview it today! They went to the library today and with the help of gracious parent volunteers, made a wish list of books they want! It is such an exciting time to see all of the great books on display and all of the fun fluff, like erasers, pencils, posters, etc. The book fair opens on Friday, Sept. 25th and will continue until Friday, Oct. 2nd. It is also open on Saturday, Sept. 26th! Be sure to come and check it out....LOTS of great books for children and adults TOO!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Almost.....

An excellent book that just came out in May is Almost by Richard Torrey. Children will relate to the main character Jack, almost 6 years old, who can't wait to grow up. The illustrations are fabulous and include family members with siblings and of course, mom. There is simple text that allows students to follow along, with 1 line of text on most pages and 3 lines being the maximum. What a great story that all children can identify with, especially our kindergarteners!

http://www.amazon.com/Almost-Richard-Torrey/dp/0061561665/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253587817&sr=1-2

Waiting for the leaves to start falling




SOOOO...it has been a while since I have posted! I'd like to say that I have been busy, but really have just enjoyed doing nothing! :)
I have put all of my fall decorations out at home and am working on getting it out in my classroom! We have begun studying fall and one of my favorites, apples! Today in class we were learning about the seasons of an apple tree, and it cracked me up to see all of the little perfectionists working on their depiction of the seasons of the apple tree! It was tear art and they were so careful with the tearing!
There is so much more to come! We will soon be tasting different types of apples, homemade applesauce, apple cider, and apple pie! Mmmmmm good!
Can't wait to go on a fall walk too next week and be on the lookout for signs of fall! I'll make sure that I take some videos!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Getting to Know One Another

I keep waiting for the "honeymoon period" to wear off, BUT all in all, I have a great bunch of kids. They all are super sweet and seem to be on top of things. Meet the Teacher is tomorrow night where parents can come and hear about our class and the expectations for the students. I should have a great turnout and can't wait to get to know more of my students' families. We started interviewing students with "King and Queen of the Day" and are finding out lots about our classmates. I have always done student interviews, but added the name to it by making simple crowns out of glittery border. I got this idea from a fellow colleague, Sara Payton, a kindergarten teacher in the district! The kids love it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

School starting

So we are off to a great start this year in kindergarten...... The second day into the school year, we are told we will be losing not one, but two teachers from our Kindergarten team due to the lower number of children. It shook all of us up including teachers, parents, and most importantly the students! Trying to help the two teachers leaving pack up their things and set up their new classrooms in new schools has definitely been a challenge. I have to say though that the students have been incredible in learning the new routines of the class and getting acquainted with everyone. So far it has been a smooth transition for sure!

Amidst all of this chaos, I have stumbled upon a great website I have already started utilizing this year in my classroom. http://www.thekidzpage.com/ It offers free clip art, online games, coloring pages, and much much more!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kindergarten Here We Come

As another school year is about to begin, I have decided to re-purpose this blog to pertain to Early Childhood Education and my Kindergarten classroom. Stay tuned for many things including book reviews, website reviews, thoughts about early childhood resources, and happenings in the classroom!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

23 Things: Sum It All Up!

There were so many favorites that I found along this journey! Some of those include Rollyo, Delicious, Image Generators, and Library Thing. All of these tools are things that I can use personally and professionally. Right now I am still in the classroom and feel that I can utilize these resources now and in the future in the library.
Library2Play has not only assisted in my lifelong learning goals, but also motivated me to explore more things on my own. It has introduced me to new tools and also helped me to become better equipped to work with tools I have worked with before.
I knew going into this program that I would learn a lot and take away with me some great resources to use. I was surprised how easy a lot of the tools were that I worked with. A lot of the things seemed difficult when starting, but once I worked with them, it deemed to be easier than thought.
I was impressed with many of the tools and the set-up of this program. There is not much I would change except for possibly Thing 12: Creating Community Through Commenting. This could actually be part of another thing to make this spot an opportunity to explore other tools, rather than other blogs. This should be taking place anyway.
If there were other programs offered that allowed users to discover new tools, I would definitely participate. My participation in this program was to receive credit for a college course, but it is certainly something that I would take part in!
This discover program has allowed me to become familiar with Web 2.0 Tools in ways that would not have been done in a normal staff development.

Thing #22 Nings

Ning, a social networking tool, is a great way to communicate with colleagues and others in your field. When exploring Teacher Librarian Ning, http://teacherlibrarian.ning.com/, I came across a Book Video Ning, http://bookvideo.ning.com/. This is an excellent resource that shares media related to reading. Nings are great tool that allow users to blog, post photos and videos, and network with others in your field.

Thing #21: Podcasts and Videocasts

Using Photostory was extremely easy for me.... maybe it has to do with the fact that I have used it before....I don't know. It is an excellent tool and is very easy to use. I uploaded my pictures, recorded my voice for each one, and it puts it together for you! I might have done a better job with this if I would have made a script to better know what I was going to say for each picture!Now, I played with adding music, but ended up not doing it for this project. In the past I have not used music in any Photstory that I have created, but I would like to work on adding that in this next school year.
video

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thing #20 YouTube, TeacherTube and Zamzar

There are so many movies available via YouTube and TeacherTube. After searching through YouTube for movies using a keyword search for "librarians" and "library", I found that all types of movies and clips come up. When searching in TeacherTube, I found that the materials were appropriate for education and more specific to what was searched. TeacherTube offers not only movies and clips, but also documents, photos, and audio. I plan to incorporate more technology in my classroom this next year and plan to utilize more of this resource in the future.

Why Let our Students Blog?

Why Let our Students Blog?

Shared via AddThis

Thing #19 Web 2.0 Awards List

Looking over the Web 2.0 Awards List was very interesting. There are so many categories......AND I have to say that I was surprised by some of them. One tool that I checked out was Yahoo Answers www.answers.yahoo.com. This tool allows users to ask questions, answer questions, and even discover how things work by categories. This would be a useful resource for teachers and librarians to assist with research on most any topic. Currently as a teacher, I could see myself using this in my classroom to answer simple questions that are asked by students to find out more.

Thing #18 Online Productivity Tools

Google Docs is an awesome tool that can be utilized by many people! It offers so much to users. Users have online access to word documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, whether it is developed online or a document uploaded from an office suite. Having complete access to a document is a major advantage of using this online tool. Work included can be edited by invited users and shared with others using an assigned link to the document. Google Docs could be used when collaborating with colleagues, sharing documents with friends and family, or even sharing documents with parents.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thing #17 Rollyo

What a great tool! I love Rollyo! This is an excellent resource that allows you to basically build your own search engine. You can choose the websites that you want to search through and make it accessible to all! I developed a searchroll on Kindergarten/Early childhood education. I am constantly looking for new ideas to use in my classroom and find myself going to search through several different websites for certain things. Now I can search for information quickly and more efficiently. This tool could be put to good use by teachers, librarians and staff. Most importantly, it would benefit students as a resource offered by teachers for specific classes and projects!
http://rollyo.com/melissabonner/my_kindergarten_ideas/

Thing #16 Wikis

Wikis can be utilized in so many different ways, especially in the education world. A school can use a wiki to keep parents and the community updated, a classroom teacher can use wikis for assignments and note taking, a librarian can use wikis for book clubs......the options are endless! It is a simple tool that can offer great communication between many. The administrator can monitor who edits and can even limit who comments and edits. I can't really see myself using this with my students as an independent exercise as I teach Kindergarten, BUT it would be a great tool for parent communication from our classroom.

Thing #15 Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the Future of Libraries

The future of libraries is everchanging and librarians must change accordingly to keep up. For so long we have concentrated on developing our collection of print materials. As we have in the past, we must concentrate on our patrons needs. Users want access to information quickly and do not want to be tied down to visiting a particular location to get it. Virtual libraries and offering tools online for users to access information anywhere is extremely important. As librarians, we must keep up with that! Making tools easy to use with minimal assistance is also necessary when the librarian-patron ratio is so high! Staying current with your population along with the developing technology is necessary to have a successful library.

Thing #14 Technorati and How Tags Work

After exploring Technorati and all that it has to offer in detail, I have realized the importance of tagging my posts on my blog. It is an excellent tool to be able to search by tags made in blogs to find needed information by others. I explored the some of the popular blogs on the site also. I found Mashable! http://mashable.com/ that offers updated news about Web 2.0 and social networking. I also came across Consumerist http://consumerist.com/ that offers the latest news and information about consumer reports on different aspects in our lives. After using this tool and seeing what it can offer, I plan to start adding more detailed tags to my blog posts and using this resource more often!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thing #13 Tagging and Discover Delicious

Social bookmarking is a great tool that can be utilized by many. Not only is it an excellent resource for those in the education world, but can be useful for others. Delicious http://www.delicious.com/ is a great site that allows users to access bookmarks from anywhere that Internet access is available. Not only can users save bookmarked sites, but one can also add tags and search for other bookmarked sites by tags. Diigo http://www.diigo.com/ is also an excellent bookmarking tool available for free. This one is really neat because it offers an educational upgrade that allows teachers to create student accounts so the bookmarked sites can be accessed. This tool is a great way to assist with research in the classroom and in the library.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thing #12 Creating Community Through Commenting

It is extremely important to read and make comments on others blogs. Making successful comments is also important. Just adding "I agree" or "Nice comment" is simply not enough. When searching other blogs and articles on the subject, I found some points made in Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/ that interested me. Adding meaningful comments and hyperlinks to my own blog allows fellow bloggers to understand the importance of their thoughts and opinions.
I searched and read through fellow UHCL students' blogs to see what each has to to say on different topics. I also read and commented on two different blogs that pertain to early childhood elementary. I teach Kindergarten and find these interesting.
Kindergarten Tales http://kdgroom102.blogspot.com/
Mr. Kindergarten http://misterkindergarten.blogspot.com/

Thing #11 LibraryThing

Library Thing is too cool! I was able to add titles that I keep in my home to keep up with the collection of books I have. It was very simple. I searched by ISBN to add titles, but one can search by title, author, LCCN, etc. also. Once your titles are added, you can access reviews, see other members that include it in their library, and the tags included for each. This is an excellent resource for teachers to use in their classroom, on a personal basis for your home library, or even for a leveled reader library that is housed separate from a school library catalog.

Thursday, July 23, 2009



What a great islander librarian always needs...I wish!

Thing #10 Online Image Generator

Playing with the different image generators I found was LOADS of fun. I can see myself getting addicted and playing for way too long.......
The ones that I enjoyed the most were Wordle, Big Huge Labs,

At Wordle, one can input words in and it generates a word cloud. I added words that pertain to libraries and information access and produced a word cloud! WAY COOL! You can even change fonts, colors, and the shapes.
http://www.wordle.net/
At Big Huge Labs, I made an ID Badge. It was very easy to make and customize. I also added captions to a photo of mine
http://bighugelabs.com/
Image generators are excellent tools to use in the classroom and library. Designing posters of celebrities and famous Americans with different captions would be a way to use this tool. One could also use photographs to a puzzle, an ID badge as a biography, or even design a comic strip as part of a writing project. The options are limitless!

Thing #9: Useful Library-Related Blogs and News Feeds

Searching for relevant blogs seemed to be easy, but finding the best search engine is the key. I tried out Google Blog Search and found it easy to use. It looks a lot like all of Google's interfaces. I also found Technorati easy to use. It offers an advanced search where one can do a keyword search and limit the blogs being searched in. It also offers a URL search and a tag search. I found Blogline to be confusing for me. It did not give me what I was searching for easily. Some great blogs that I found were Dr. Teri Lesesne's blog, the Goddess of YA Literature and Free Technology for Teachers. I also included a presentation I found on Technology for Teachers about 25 Tools for Learning. 25 Tools : A Toolbox for Learning Professionals

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thing #8: RSS Feeds and Readers

I obtained a Google Reader account and am very impressed at how easy it is to use. I added the URLs of the blogs that I want to follow along with super quick and am able to see all of my blogs listed in the side pane. I like that you are able to see the latest posts on several different blogs in ONE place. You don't have to remember the sights, or even worrying about bookmarking them because they are saved! I know that I will use this even more in the future. I bookmarked several sites that are related to the "library world" along with sites related to Kindergarten (the grade I currently teach). Staying up to date with my professional world is important to me, along with finding out new ideas and about new books. Other educators could also advantage of this tool by finding blogs pertaining to their field or even local news and professional associations. What a great find!

***Oh yeah, I even was amazed with Google's Blog Search! I had no clue that existed!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thing #7 Cool Google Tools

Google has SO many tools to offer..... It is unbelievable!
One tool that I explored was iGoogle. It is a tool that allows you to personalize your homepage to fit your personality. I was able to add different gadgets to my homepage. There were so many to choose from that I finally stopped adding gadgets after page 4 because there were too many on my page. Some gadgets I included are a birthday reminder, to-do list, easy recipes, local weather, and even my e-mail is included.
Another Google tool I explored was Google Docs. This allows users to access documents and presentations online. I was able to upload a PowerPoint presentation and make it accessible online. Users can also produce documents and presentations using Google Docs. Different people can edit and save the documents too. Once it is completed, you can save it as a PDF file or publish as a link to be accessed by anyone.

Published Presentation:

http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dgj3shdv_68fxdgnfdk

Thing #6 Mashups and 3rd Party sites

I wasn't familiar with the term "mashup" before, but have used these sites frequently. It is two different web applications mashed together to form one. There are so many different mashups and 3rd party apps out there to explore and use! One that I think is beneficial is Trip Planner. This site combines applications from Yahoo! Travel and Flickr to provide the user a way to plan trips. One can plan a trip, keep a journal about the trip, and upload pictures using Flickr. It can be shared and viewed by all. I would have liked to use this for the last trip my husband and I went on vacation. This could be a tool used in the library in collaboration with teaching a geography project with classroom teachers.

http://travel.yahoo.com/trip

Thing #5 Flickr


Creative Commons is a COOL site to use to find images that are copyright protected. There are different types of licenses for the images. I like that you can search by those categories of licenses to find images. You can also search all of the categories. I have used this site different times for presentations and lessons in my classroom. I can see myself utilizing this site even more and sharing it with other colleagues. This picture was found by searching with the keyword "kindergarten". There is so much to choose from......

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing #3 Blogs and Avatar

I have set up blogs for other classes and for my classroom, so setting up a blog for this project was simple. I look at blogs quite frequently for work and for school and have commented and interact with those on blogs. I have never made an avatar, so that was pretty interesting. It was simple to make and add to my blog. There were so many things to choose from with the backgrounds, appearances, and clothing! It can take a while to search through what there is to choose from because there are so many options.....

Thing #2 Lifelong Learners

While learning about the different 7-1/2 habits of lifelong learners, it put a lot into perspective for me. One habit that is the easiest for me is teaching and mentoring others. As I have been in classes working towards my degree, it is important to me to share ideas and research I have learned about with colleagues and friends to make them aware of what is out there. One habit that is the hardest for me is viewing problems as challenges. I tend to be pessimistic about problems and worry about them. I need to work on that!

23 Things

While I absolutely LOVE teaching Kindergarten, I began working on Master's Degree in School Library and Information Science in the Fall of 2007. As graduation gets closer, I am in my very last class! It is a media and technology class and is full of great ideas and resources to help me in my future of education. One of the assignments for the class is to explore 23 Things.

http://library2play.blogspot.com/