Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Make More Of Your Field Trips by Writing a Review

It’s time for the Wednesday Website suggestion!! For two years, I was the Technology Specialist at a scWebsites for the Elementary School Classroomhool in Georgia. During that time, I amassed a large collection of websites that I use with my students. You can download my E-Book of Websites for the Elementary Classroom for free from Teachers Pay Teachers or Smashwords, or, you can check back here each week for the Wednesday Website suggestion.

 

I am in the middle of planning my summer vacation.  We’ll be in the US for 8 weeks, and I want to do a lot of fun things with my kids while I’m there.  One of my favorite websites to use when finding new and interesting places is Trip Advisor.  I love to read the reviews and get a realistic picture of whether I think my family will enjoy the place before we head out.  Download this free zoo animals recording sheet for your next zoo field trip. However, I had never thought of using it with my class, until the other day.  Another teacher mentioned that we could let our kids review their field trips, and I thought – What a great idea! 

Normally, when I take my class on a fieldtrip, I have somDownload this free zoo animals recording sheet for your next zoo field trip.e sort of sheet created to help ensure students stay focused on what I want them to learn about.  This trip was no exception.  We used this Zoo Animal Recording Sheet, which focused on our current science topic of food webs, by asking students to identify the predator, prey and special adaptations of 20 of the animals they saw at the zoo.  (Feel free to download this sheet for free from Google Docs.)

When we got back from the zoo, we went on to Trip Advisor and left a review of our experience.  We wrote our review together, and it was a great time to talk about audience awareness, important details, focus and a bunch of other writing concepts.  Here is the review we left:

Let your students write a review on trip advisor to increase writing and cognition.

If you want to leave a review on Trip Advisor, you must sign up for a free account.  Then, you search your location and click on WRITE A REVIEW.  Once you have submitted your review, it will be reviewed and then published.  This is also a great time to talk with students about the technology concepts:

1.  Anyone can put information on the internet, so we need to read critically

2.  We can use the internet to build community.

3.  We can learn from and add to the internet.

Let your students write a review on trip advisor to increase writing and cognition.

What lessons could you teach using Trip Advisor?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Monday, May 27, 2013

Exposing Our Students to a Variety of Voices

As a teacher, I feel that it’s my responsibility to expose my students to multiple view points and opinions, in order to give them a chance to form their own view points and opinions.  This year, I have worked with my class to begin sharing their view points and opinions – both in writing on their blogs and in movies we have created.  Generally, my students compare their movie clips with the professional movies that they see on t.v. or d.v.d’s.  I have been encouraging them to view YouTube videos as another source of comparison, but this week I get my best opportunity yet.  I have been offered a 3 month free subscription to a great website called Indie Flix, which is a subscription website that shares videos and series created by independent film makers.  My class will be viewing a variety of films from the “Family” channel, as a source of inspiration, as well as simply having new, quality films to add to our curriculum.  One of the favorites that I have watched today is called Wood of Value, about cutting down trees for Christmas celebrations in Norway.  It will surely lend a great conversation to our Forest unit!Watch this video on girl on girl bullying.

In addition, I have enjoyed watching the new film, Finding Kind, about girl on girl bullying.  While the subject is slightly ahead of my particular class, watching it myself has given me a better viewpoint and understanding on the subject.  This viewpoint will help me as I help guide my girls in treating each other nicely.  Even at a young age, we see the mean girl treatment happening, so as educators, it is extremely important to be cognizant of how our students are treating each other and the impacts that this treatment can have.  Finding Kind is streaming on Indie Flix until May 31st, so stop by and check it out.  Previously, this film was only available in special screenings, so it’s great to have it now available.  It is only $6.99 for those without a subscription.  However, the great folks at Indie Flix have also given me 10 FREE 2 month subscriptions to giveaway!  So, if you are interested in one of those subscriptions – here’s what you need to do:

1.)  Follow Raki’s Rad Resources in a new way – here are the many places you can follow us:

Blog

Pinterest

Facebook

Twitter

Teachers Pay Teachers

Teacher’s Notebook

You Tube

Newsletter

3.)  Leave us a comment, telling me: where you are now following us, how you use films and videos with your class and of course your e-mail address.

 

I will e-mail subscription codes to the first 10 people who leave comments.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Do You Check Facebook While Working? So Do Your Students! How do We Teach Kids to Manage their Internet Time Well?

 

Over the last 2 months, I have been “re-delivering” to you my experience from the ECIS Conference.  I have written about Marc Prensky’s presentation on Teaching Digital Natives, Julie Lindsay’s Flat Classroom programHeather Martin’s presentation on Flipped Classrooms,   Chadman Nair’s presentation on Creating Truly Global Citizens, and Calien Hargrave’s presentation on the Importance of Collaboration Skills for our Students’ Future Employability.  In each redelivery post, I have shared a video of the actual speech, all of the keynotes at the conference were recorded and shared on YouTube.  If you haven’t watched any of the other videos, take the next 20 minutes to watch today’s video.  I’ve saved the best for last!

This is Jeff Utecht, and he was my favorite speaker of entire event.  He is a presenter, a consultant, and the author of the book Reach: Building Communities and Networks for Professional Development.  His keynote speech is about the importance of using the internet to create communities.  He also talked about allowing and encouraging students to use the internet to connThe line between work life and social life has blurred. Are we teaching our students to manage their time appropriately?  If you check Facebook and Pinterest when working, why can't your students?ect and create in their own way.  After his keynote, he also did an hour long presentation on using Google with your students, and how to use it better yourself. 

One of the key points he made for me was how important  it is to teach time management skills.  For adults now, there is almost no line between our work life and our social life.  Be honest, how many times do you check personal e-mail or facebook at school?  How often do you flip between facebook and lesson planning?  If we’re doing it, we know that our kids are doing it.  Many schools are using this excuse to BAN facebook, e-mail etc.  Jeff Utecht says that’s the wrong approach.  He says instead of making it taboo, we need to teach our kids how to manage their time correctly online and to encourage positive connections.  When a school he was working with allowed Facebook to be available at school, the first thing the kids did was use it to create a movement asking the store across the street to ban plastic bags – and they succeeded!

I use checklists, and priority lists to help my students manage time in the class during independent work time.  After listening to Jeff’s speech, I have started to incorporate the same strategies into their computer and iPad time.  By knowing what they have to do and checking it off, they are more focused on their task at hand.  I have also added a “Fun Things I Found” section to most of my internet research sheets, because we all know that sometimes we find cool stuff out there that is on our topic, but may not answer the questions we are looking for.

So, my question for today is – are you teaching your students to manage work and play time on the computer successfully?

Here is Jeff Utecht’s speech – it is worth the watch!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Friday, May 24, 2013

ISM Spotlight – REAL Professional Development

This year I am the luckiest teacher in the world. I get to teach at the best school ever – International School of Morocco, with some of the best, most creative, teachers ever. Each time I walk into someone else’s classroom, I get inspired and we just seem to spiral great teaching ideas off of each other. It’s a wonderful place to teach, and since we are all collaborating, it’s a wonderful place for our kids to learn – a teacher’s dream, right? I have tried and tried to convince the other teachers to create blogs of their own to spotlight and share some of their amazing ideas, but everyone is super busy. Instead, they have each agreed to let me spotlight some of their ideas right here on Raki’s Rad Resources. So, each Friday night, I will be posting an ISM Spotlight.

This week, I’m going to talk about the “other side” of ISM, what happens away from the children.  In such a small school,  you would think we would be lacking in the Professional Development area.  However, in reality I have had more quality professional development this year, because it has been geared towards my immediate needs.  Also, because we are so small, we all participate in finding resources for each other, and helping each other out.  Here are some of the ways that the  teachers of ISM have had professional development this year:

- Weekly, collaborative staff meetings where we plan units together, discuss schedules and brainstorm as a whole.

- Traveling to conferences.  We have had 4 different representatives and 4 different conferences of International Schools – hosted by the various groups that we are members of - Mediterranean Association of International Schools, European Council of International Schools and Council of British International Schools.  After each person went to a conference, theReal professional development - using facebook and videos to help with informal professional development.y reported back and shared the important ideas they learned.  (I was lucky enough to go to London for the ECIS conference, which I am sure my regular readers are sick of reading about, as I have written about it A LOT!)

- Informal collaboration online.  We found that we were sharing so many articles and videos with each other via e-mail that our director, Meredith Achlim, created us a Facebook group where we can share the articles we find, the videos (TED and otherwise) with each other, and read at leisure.  These videos and articles are often discussed during our staff meetings, or other informal collaboration sessions.  We are also encouraged to share what we are doing with our parents and community on the ISM Facebook page.

- Online trainings.  This summer and fall, we will all be taking online trainings to get us ready for some of the exciting Real professional development - using facebook and videos to help with informal professional development. upcoming activities.

- Pinterest!  Of course we are all on pinterest and we’re always on the look out for great teaching ideas not only for ourselves, but also for each other.  We share our ideas on our ISM Pinterest board and we add videos and articles to our Pinterest Professional Development board.

What was your best professional development this year?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Are We Preparing Our Students for their Future?

How often do your students work in teams to solve a problem?  A representative from IBM says that this skill is more important than anything else we teach.  Are you preparing your students for their future jobs?At the ECIS Conference, I had the opportunity to see a great variety of speakers.  One of the most unique speakers was Cailean Hargrave, a representative from IBM.  Cailean gave a great keynote speech, which you can find below, but he also participated in a panel discussing curriculum and what we should be teaching students.  At both of these events, he stressed the fact that he was on the other end of a child’s life than us educators.  As educators, we take students and prepare them for their future.  He takes those students coming out of college and gives them a job to begin their adult lives.  One of the things that he said was that more than half of the applicants who come to him are unprepared for the jobs they are applying for.  He also said that the technologies that he sees being taught in high schools and even universities  are ones that will not be helpful to students as they apply for a job, because most of those technologies have been outsourced years ago.  Cailean also said that the most important thing we can teach our students is how to work collaboratively, how to be a leader, and how to be an independent, self starting worker.  He said that these skills are more important than almost any thing else we teach, and will allow our students to get and keep jobs much better than getting a 4.0. 

In this age of standardized testing, one of the leading technology companies says that thinking and collaborating is more important than memorizing facts that can be regurgitated onto a test.  I know that there is a ton of pres sure to teach to the test right now.  Two years ago, I was in the US teaching in that system, and I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to be teaching in a school without high stakes testing.  At the International School of Morocco, I am able to teach skills like communicating, problem solving and collaboration with out the stress of whether my kids will be able to UNRAVEL test questions.  However, every child deserves to learn those skills important to getting a good job, so how do we get the politicians to wake up and realize that thinking and collaborating is more important than bubbling in the right answer?  I’m not sure how to do that, but what I took away from Cailean’s speech was that we need to be preparing our students for their REAL future.  In  that future, they will need to work in a team to solve problems.  How are you working in your classroom to build learners and thinkers who are ready for this type of a job?Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

 

 

 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Student Created Lamps

Designing and making a lamp with students.My class has done a lot of drawn out projects this year, but we’ve finally finished the longest project of all, our lamps.  During our machines unit, which started in February, my students and I looked at a variety of lamps, and talked about how a simple idea, such as a lamp, could be quite complex depending on the design.  Then, I gave my kids a design sheet to help them through the process of designing a lamp.

This has been our ongoing art project since then.  We have worked on our project once a week, during our art time, and this week finally finished it!  Here is my favorite:

Designing and making a lamp with students.

The process has included:

- designing the lamps and thinking through the base and stability

- creating lamps with recycled materials

- adding a prepared lamp kit

- paper macheing

- painting

- adding a light bulb

Designing and making a lamp with students.

The lamps have turned out amazing.  Some are very simple and others are very complex, but what has been the most amazing is the amount of pride the students have taken in their work.  They are very excited to take them home and use them.  Unlike most of what we make in art, this is a useful product that they can use.

If you are interested in this project, it is included in my Get Moving! – Exploring and Designing Machines Unit.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

 

Friday, May 17, 2013

ISM Spotlight–Volcanoes, Rock Museums & Precious Stones

This year I am the luckiest teacher in the world. I get to teach at the best school ever – International School of Morocco, with some of the best, most creative, teachers ever. Each time I walk into someone else’s classroom, I get inspired and we just seem to spiral great teaching ideas off of each other. It’s a wonderful place to teach, and since we are all collaborating, it’s a wonderful place for our kids to learn – a teacher’s dream, right? I have tried and tried to convince the other teachers to create blogs of their own to spotlight and share some of their amazing ideas, but everyone is super busy. Instead, they have each agreed to let me spotlight some of their ideas right here on Raki’s Rad Resources. So, each Friday night, I will be posting an ISM Spotlight.

Today we’re going to take a look at our “Kindergarten” class.  Since we are a British school, the proper name for this class is Reception and Year 1.  In the US, we would say Pre-K and Kindergarten.  Regardless of the terminology, this is a group of 4, 5 and 6 year olds who imageLOVE to learn about the world around them.  Lucky for them, they have a teacher who is willing to do fun, creative activities to help them explore this world.  Olivia Gunning is our Kindergarten teacher, and also an amazing travel writer.  (Check our her writing here.)  For her Land to Hand unit, Ms. Gunning helped her students learn how people take rocks from the earth and use them to make jewelry, art and other useful items.

First, the kids learned about rocks that are formed deep in volcanoes.  They created volcano collage murals with pieces of colored paper, newspaper and magazine.  Ms. Gunning drew the volcano on a large piece of butcher paper, and then the kids glued colored paper to make the layers of lava, rock and grass.  The students even labeled the parts of the volcano.

Making rocks and volcano crafts in the kindergarten class at the International School of Morocco.

Making rocks and volcano crafts in the kindergarten class at the International School of MoroccoThe kids also made volcano hats with green paper hats, and yellow and red crinkled paper lava.  Then, the kids had a great time pretending to be volcanoes and erupting.  They started quiet and dormant, then made small hissing sounds until they erupted loudly.  It was a wonderful drama integration!

 

 

Thanks to the internet, Ms. Gunning was able to connect her class in Morocco with her sister in England, who makes jewelry with precious stones.  The class talked to Ms. Gunning’s sister via Skype.

Photo: As part of their unit on rocks ISM students here in Casablanca learned about colorful and shiny semi-precious stones from a jewelry maker in England by interacting live via Skype.

Making rocks and volcano crafts in the kindergarten class at the International School of MoroccoThen, they made paper mache balls to create their own precious stones. 

To do this, make a paper mache paste of flour and water, dip in ripped up newspaper, and use the web newspaper to make balls.  Let them dry for at least 24 hours, and then paint.

 

They also created sand art by making designs with watered down glue on colored paper and then spreading sand over the top of their design.  After the glue driMaking rocks and volcano crafts in the kindergarten class at the International School of Moroccoed, the students sprinkled off the excess.

 

All through out their unit, the kids collected rocks and used their rocks to create a rock museum.

Making rocks and volcano crafts in the kindergarten class at the International School of Morocco

For their final project, Ms. Gunning collected pebbles, which the kids turned into pebble people with googley eyes.  Then, they put pictures of their pebble people into Puppet Pals and used them to create a puppet show.

Making rocks and volcano crafts in the kindergarten class at the International School of Morocco

Stop by next week to find out what else is going on at ISM.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

 

 

 

 

   

 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Eggy Numbers–App Review

Eggy Numbers iPad App Review - Great number game for preschoolersMy favorite blogging days are when I open my e-mail and someone wants me to try out their products in exchange for spreading the word!  Recently, I got an e-mail from the great people at Reading Eggspress to say that they are releasing a new math game and did I want to try it out?  Of course my answer was yes!  Unfortunately, I currently teach 3rd and 4th graders, so a number recognition app wasn’t, shall we say developmentally appropriate Smile.  Luckily for my school, we have a great Pre-K teacher, Jen Kadiri, who was more than happy to have her kids try it out.  Her kids are on the iPad all the time, so they are a very good audience for trying out new apps, and this one was a winner. 

The app is called Eggy Numbers, and reviews counting, number recognition and number Eggy Numbers iPad App Review - Great number game for preschoolerswriting.  Ms. Kadiri’s kids have played it many times because they were told to, but they also willingly choose this app during free choice time, that’s saying a lot for a 3 year old’s opinion and attention span!

 

Ms. Kadiri told me that the students really love the counting games, but that they also enjoy tracing the letters and writing their own numbers.  Her biggest complaint about the game is that it asks the kids to rate their own numbers.  So, after practicing tracing, and using dot to dot to create their numbers, the students write their own numbers and then compare their own number with a model.  The students check a green checkmark if they did it right and a red x if they didn’t.  While this works great in theory, in practice 3 year olds always think they did it right!

Eggy Numbers iPad App Review - Great number game for preschoolers       Eggy Numbers iPad App Review - Great number game for preschoolers

Eggy Numbers iPad App Review - Great number game for preschoolers        Eggy Numbers iPad App Review - Great number game for preschoolers

Overall, the Pre-K students enjoyed the game and Mrs. Kadiri said it was beneficial to their learning.  She says she recommends it for students 3-5, but that it would work better for those aged 4 and 5 who are learning and perfecting their number skills. 

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Collaborative Prezi Presentations

It’s time for the Wednesday Website suggestion!! For two years, I was the Technology Specialist at a scwebsiteebook242222hool in Georgia. During that time, I amassed a large collection of websites that I use with my students. You can download my E-Book of Websites for the Elementary Classroom for free from Teachers Pay Teachers or Smashwords, or, you can check back here each week for the Wednesday Website suggestion.

Have you missed me?  My internet at home is down (freak out right?), and has been for 2 weeks!  The only internet company in Morocco – Maroc Telecom, keeps telling me that it will be fixed tomorrow, in’shallah (God Willing – in Arabic).  There are some challenges to being stationed in Morocco, lol!  However, this internet hiatus has given me some more planning time for resources I need for next year (Like Problem Solving Path for 2nd and 5th grade – coming soon!)  Anyways, I’m camped out at a cafĂ© while my kids are at gymnastics, so I thought I’d take some of my gloriously appreciated internet time to share my kids’ latest project with you. 

We have just finished up our study on Ancient Rome, which was a glorious 6 weeks, but which went WAY too fast!  (By the way – stop by Global Teacher Connect to see pictures of our field trip to the Ancient Roman ruins in Rabat, Morocco.)  In order to cover so much inFree Ancient Rome Research sheets for jigsawing, collaborative prezi project - from Raki's Rad Resources.formation in such a little time, I decided to have my class “jigsaw” the information.  I broke the class into 5 groups, and assigned each group a topic from Ancient Rome to research:  government, economics, travel, technology and family life.  Feel free to download the research sheets from Google Docs.  Each group had 3-5 question to answer, books and these websites: 

Then, each group went onto Prezi and added to a collaborative presentation that I created.  Here is a look at their work:

If you haven’t used Prezi yet, you have to check it out!  These online presentation tools are so much better than Power Point, giving you a great variety of transitioning tools, fonts, images etc.  Plus there are some added benefits, like:

- cloud storage – every presentation is stored online and is available no matter what device you are on

- easy video streaming – videos can be put in your prezi and used simply, without having to worry about having a video in one location and your Power Point in another

- collaboration – each Prezi can have up to 10 collaborators, each being able to work at the same time as the others.  My students LOVED seeing that studentX was also logged in and what they were doing.

 

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Monday, May 6, 2013

Thanking All Teachers With a Sale and Giveaway!

TpT_TeachersApSale_2013_Medium

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!  Teachers work hard and spend a lot of their own money in their classrooms, so the teachers who provide resources to other teachers at Teachers Pay Teachers are coming together to give you a break for Teacher Appreciation Week.  On May 7th and 8th, everything at Teachers Pay Teachers will be 10% off with the coupon code TAD13.  In addition, my store – and many others will be on sale for another 20% off.  With the two sales together, you can receive up to 28% off.  (My Teacher’s Notebook store will also be on sale during the same time for the same percentage.)  Here is some of what you can get from Raki’s Rad Resources with this sale:

28%off sale at Raki's Rad Resources for Teacher Appreciation Week.

28%off sale at Raki's Rad Resources for Teacher Appreciation Week

28%off sale at Raki's Rad Resources for Teacher Appreciation Week

28%off sale at Raki's Rad Resources for Teacher Appreciation Week

In addition to the sale, I will be having a giveaway too!  I will send each and every teacher who leaves me a comment one of my differentiated vocabulary packets for English Language Learners.  You have 19 to choose from.  (Single packets only please, no group sets.) All you need to do is leave me a comment telling me:

1.) the best part of your job.

2.) the vocabulary packet you are interested in.

3.) the e-mail address where you’d like me to send your packet.

 

This giveaway is open until 11pm EST on Wednesday, May 8, 2013.  It is open to everyone, so please tell your friends to stop by and leave me a comment!

 

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  I hope you feel appreciated this week.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Are You Teaching Global Citizens?

At the ECIS Conference, I had the opportunity to see a great variety of speakers.  One of the most controversial speakers was Chadran Nair.  Chadran Nair is the founder of a think tank called Global Institute for Tomorrow, which helps people understand the impacts – good and bad – of globalization. He spoke for us about some of the issues facing Asia today.  He believes part of the problem facing Asia today is that they send their best and brightest students to US and UK schools, where the students learn an economic system that is not compatible to Asia.

His talk was very interesting.  I’ve embedded it below, so feel free to watch for yourself.  However, the most impactful thing he said (for me) was in the question and answer session, when he asked for us to make our students global citizens.  This got me thinking about what makes a global citizen.  Here is my idea of what a global citizen is.

What makes a global citizen?

In my classroom, I try to enforce these elements of being a global citizen by teaching my students:

- that there is two sides to every story

- that there are things in everyone’s history which we may not be proud of

- that no culture or group is perfect

- that time can change the way we look at history

- that everyone has the right to look at life through their own context

- that all people have the right to choose what they want to believe in

- that people around the globe can come together to help each other

 

I’d love to know – What do you think it means to be a global citizen?  How do we help our students become global citizens?

 Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

 

 

Here is Chadran Nair’s speech from the ECIS Technology Conference: