Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Classroom Tour

What a week!  The first week back is always hectic, right?  At least I keep telling myself that’s why I have come home to exhausted to blog all week!  Anyways, here is a quick look at my classroom – which still does not feel “done” to me.

This year, I am teaching Year 3 & Year 4 (which is 2nd and 3rd grade in the US system) for reading and homeroom.  Then, I am teaching 2 groups of Math and Science.  I will teach my homeroom class early in the day, and in the afternoon, I will teach the Year 5 & Year 6 students (which is 4th and 5th grade in the US system).  My partner teacher will in turn be teaching Writing, Grammar and Social Studies to both groups of kids.

Classroom Tour:

A look into the classroom of Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources.  I teach Year 3 and Year 4 (Grades 2 and 3) at the International School of Morocco in Casablanca.

My math reference wall and Problem Solving Path Bulletin board.  I spent yesterday’s math lesson reviewing my Problem Solving Path expectations, but my students won’t start their actual Problem Solving Path Journals until Monday.

 

 

 

 

A look into the classroom of Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources.  I teach Year 3 and Year 4 (Grades 2 and 3) at the International School of Morocco in Casablanca

My calendar area.  Since I am teaching 4 different grade levels math this year, I have broken down the posters into sections.  Each group of students will complete a different level in their Monthly Calendar Books – although they all have the same cover, so they aren’t very aware of that fact.  Then, each grade level (My grade level groups are small – 6 or less, so this could be done by small groups in a larger classroom.) is responsible for doing a piece of the Calendar Posters.  I have laminated the posters and put them in this pocket chart, for easy management.  The students take out their pieces, answer the questions, and return the pieces on their own.  We worked on this quite a bit over the last two days.

 

A look into the classroom of Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources.  I teach Year 3 and Year 4 (Grades 2 and 3) at the International School of Morocco in Casablanca

My clock.  Time is still a challenging skill for my students, especially the younger ones.  Plus, we use British terminology, as we are a British school.  This terminology is often a bit different for my students, since they are not all British, so having the correct time wording on the clock promotes them and I to use it in our daily language.  In addition to having the words around the clock, I placed our daily schedule, in order to help them remember – and to stop being asked “How much longer until …..?”

 

A look into the classroom of Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources.  I teach Year 3 and Year 4 (Grades 2 and 3) at the International School of Morocco in Casablanca

A view from the back of the room.  Excuse the mess on the front table – we were still cleaning up from our collage self-portraits when I took this picture.  I have 2 iMacs in my room this year.  Last year, they were in a separate room, and we used them quite a bit.  Having them in my room this year, I hope the kids will use them constantly.  I am also lucky enough to have an iPad for my classroom, so between the two different technologies – we make a lot of movies, which is why I developed my Video Making Planning Page and Rubric.

 

 

 

A look into the classroom of Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources.  I teach Year 3 and Year 4 (Grades 2 and 3) at the International School of Morocco in Casablanca

My “organization” area.  The white basket is the turn-in bin, with a small cup of highlighters next to it.  Thanks to Pinterest, I developed the strategy last year of having students highlight or circle their names before turning in papers – such a time and stress saver!  The blue bin has books for our first science unit – the Night Sky.  The water bottle has a pump, and each child has a cup, so there are no messy water bottles on the desk.  The cubbies on the right are for each child’s books and notebooks – no loose papers allowed, everything must be in a notebook or folder.  The cubbies on the left are for organizing classroom supplies and math manipulatives.  BTW – if you like my poster, you can download it free on my Free Resources page.  It’s my class mantra and the way I help students understand the difference between thinking through a math problem and creating a good guess.  (Oh, and check out the heat/ac unit!  A big luxury in Morocco, and super exciting to have in the winter!)

A look into the classroom of Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources.  I teach Year 3 and Year 4 (Grades 2 and 3) at the International School of Morocco in Casablanca

 

Our classroom door, which is not nearly as cute as some of the others in my school – check them all out in yesterday’s ISM Spotlight post.  However, it is a saying I love, and it goes well with our first unit on the Night Sky.  I added the adorable self portrait collages, that my students made the last two days.  They were totally a Pinterest inspired project!  They were also the only big thing we accomplished in our two day week – except organizing our Interactive Math Notebooks, which I forgot to take pictures of – of course.  I’ll take pictures on Monday, though, and be sure to share them with you!

 

 

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Friday, August 30, 2013

ISM Spotlight – Welcoming Doors

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.

ismspotlight

School is officially back in session at ISM, as of Thursday – which is the reason for my extended absence from the blog.  I always forget how much time it takes to get my room and plans in order!  Anyways, when the kids came in on Thursday, they were greeted by the coolest classroom doors around.  Here are the displays that welcomed them:

Year 5 & 6 (Grades 4 & 5)

 

Welcome to School door designs at the International School of Morocco

Year 3 & 4 (Grades 2 & 3)

Welcome to School door designs at the International School of Morocco

Year 1 & 2 (Kindergarten and First Grade)

Welcome to School door designs at the International School of Morocco

Reception (Pre-K) 

Welcome to School door designs at the International School of Morocco

Nursery (Preschool)

 

Welcome to School door designs at the International School of Morocco

We have some great new teachers, who are willing to let me blog about the awesome activities, so I’ll be introducing you to them soon!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How does technology help us meet the criteria of Bloom’s Taxonomy

pdsunday

Recently, I posted about how my school is using Facebook and Pinterest as part of our professional development.  (See the whole post HERE.) I’ve decided to pass on some of the best videos and articles I come across to you each Sunday evening.  Here is this week’s professional development post:

 How does technology help us meet the criteria of Bloom's Taxonomy - professional development Sundays at Raki's Rad Resources

This video, which is actually a Prezi with music, but no speaking, presents some great points about teaching in the 21st Century.  I was especially impressed with the discussion of using technology to meet Bloom’s Taxonomy and of the comparison between entertainment and engagement, which I think is often confused by teachers.

 

If you’re interested in more professional development videos – follow my Professional Development Pinterest board.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Teach Typing from the Start of the School Year

websitesuggestions
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.

Use these websites to teach elementary students keyboarding skills and make your computer center and online projects go smoother - Raki's Rad Resources At the beginning of the school year, I always try to think about what skills my students will need all year long and I build them into my centers and my homework.  Some of the skills I focus on are math facts, reading comprehension strategies and typing skills.  Students today, and my students in particular, need to be familiar with keyboards and how to type on them.  My students complete all of their homework online with Edmodo and complete regular computer based projects.  If it takes them 3 minutes to find the “k” key, they are going to quickly fall behind.  So, at the beginning of the year, I assign these sites for homework and computer time:




Use these websites to teach elementary students keyboarding skills and make your computer center and online projects go smoother - Raki's Rad Resources 1.)  Dance Mat Typing – This is my all time favorite website for teaching typing because the tutorial model exactly what fingers should be used on each key in order to touch type (type without looking).  As a touch typer myself, I find this skill incredibly important, but overwhelming for young children.  Dance Mat makes it fun and amusing.  There are cartoon animals that explain how the typing should be done and then sing and dance and celebrate when the kids get it done.  The entire task of mastering typing is broken down into easy, manageable steps.  Part of the BBC website – this is generally my go-to website for teaching keyboarding.  (Please note that you must have a qwerty keyboard in order to use this site effectively.  Not all of my students have these keyboards at home, and this has caused an issue.  It probably won’t be an issue for you if you are not in an international setting.)




Use these websites to teach elementary students keyboarding skills and make your computer center and online projects go smoother - Raki's Rad Resources 2.)  Typing Master – This site has a variety of games where the students type a letter on the keyboard in order to advance in the game.  The kids love to play pacman or pop the bubbles, and at the same time they are familiarizing themselves with where the letters are on the keyboard.  This site is particularly good for younger students, and is also a great letter practice for preschool students.








Use these websites to teach elementary students keyboarding skills and make your computer center and online projects go smoother - Raki's Rad Resources 3.) Lang Sense - For my students who do not have qwerty keyboards, this is a great option, because it still allows you to choose the keyboard you would like to work on.  However, it is not nearly as fun as DanceMat.  The lessons are a little dry, but they do provide students with a great amount of typing practice in a regular series that is broken into manageable steps. 




Use these websites to teach elementary students keyboarding skills and make your computer center and online projects go smoother - Raki's Rad Resources 4.) Learning the Keyboard Games  - Similar to Typing Master, this site has a variety of games, including stacking cups and the letter factory.  There are also more formal tutorials available for older students.





For more resources to integrate technology into your classroom, check out my Technology Integration Kit.  You can also check out these blog posts:

Top 10 Reading Websites
Top 10 Writing Websites
Top 10 Math Websites
Top 10 Science Websites



Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do Your Students Know the Name of All of Their School Supplies?

Teach important school vocabulary to esl / ell students in the beginning of the year, to ensure success as the year progresses. - Raki's Rad Resource

As a teacher at an International School, many of my students are English Language Learners. Even my native English speakers are living in a non-English speaking country. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. Here is this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

Teach important school vocabulary to esl / ell students in the beginning of the year, to ensure success as the year progresses. - Raki's Rad Resource

In many English speaking classrooms around the world – public and private – there will be students walking into school this Teach important school vocabulary to esl / ell students in the beginning of the year, to ensure success as the year progresses. - Raki's Rad Resources year who do not speak a word of English, or whose English level is so minimal that they don’t know the word for pencil.  Last year, I started with two of those students and two who were not much higher.  For these students, it is imperative to spend time during the first week of school working on the names of the supplies that they need – pencil, notebook, scissors, crayon etc.  Even ESL/ELL students who come in with some English are often missing key school words – like the names of all of those important people in the school, or the names of the subjects they will be learning about.  For this reason, I will start the year  out by teaching ALL of my students, ELL or not, the important school vocabulary.  I do this with my Back to School Vocabulary Packet (which you can download for FREE from my TPT store), and A LOT of modeling.  My packet has 4 levels, so even my “high” students have something new to learn, but the key piece is that I point out all of the different vocabulary words in each lesson during the first few weeks of school, so that I am sure that my kiddos know how to understand and explain the world around them.

How do you help your ESL students get acclimated to the new school year?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Should We Encourage Parents to Speak Languages Other Than English?

Recently, I posted about how my school is using Facebook and Pinterest as part of our professional development.  (See the whole post HERE.) I’ve decided to pass on some of the best videos and articles I come across to you each Sunday evening.  Here is this week’s professional development post:

 Should we preserve the home languages of our English Language Learners?  Professional Development Sundays at Raki's Rad Resources.

This is a great speech from an educator who has lived and worked in the Middle East for over 30 years.  She has seen (as have I in only 2 years) the push from parents and society to adopt “English only” in order to give students what they see as the best opportunities.  However, she has also seen the great importance of having ESL students preserve their home language and have more than one way to think about any situation.  As a parent of trilingual children, I am obviously in favor of this line of thinking.  As a teacher, I am a big proponent for parents (and school programs) helping students to maintain their home language, and not learn English in lieu of the language they speak at home.  Do your ESL students read and write in their home language?  Should they?  I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please enjoy Patricia Ryan’s speech, she’s quite entertaining.

 

If you’re interested in more professional development videos – follow my Professional Development Pinterest board.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Back To School – 2 Day Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale - August 2013

In case you hadn’t heard, the Teachers Pay Teachers’ Back to School Sale is this weekend!  Actually it’s Sunday and Monday.  Our entire Raki’s Rad Resources TPT store, as well as our Raki’s Rad Language Resources TPT store will be on sale for 20% off Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  If you shop on Sunday and Monday, you can also use the promo code: BTS13 to get another 10% off, making a total of 28% with discounts applied on top of discounts.

Here at the beginning of the year, a sale like this means you can buy sets that will last you the entire school year at a fraction of the normal price.  It also means that all my bundled sets – like my Year Long Problem Solving Path Kits for Grade 3 and Grade 4 and my Year Long Genre Based Writing Journals Set, which are already deeply discounted, will be an additional 28% off.  It also means that all those notebooking systems (Did you see my post about starting your year out with structure?) will be discounted, giving you all you need in Reading Response Journals, Science Discovery Journals, Calendar Math Kits and Interactive Math Notebooks will be much cheaper than normal.  Buy now – on a discount, saving you money – Print now – ahead of time, saving you time all year long – Relax later – with a margarita or a glass of wine if you prefer!

Here are some specific deals you can get at the Raki’s Rad Resouces TPT store this weekend:

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale - August 2013

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale - August 2013

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale - August 2013

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale - August 2013

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale - August 2013

What is on your wish list for the Teachers Pay Teachers’ Back to School Sale?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

What I Did This Summer

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

 

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

This summer, I gave my students homework.  One of the joys of teaching at a small school with multiage classes is that when school starts (in two weeks for me), I will know if my students did their homework.  Here is the homework I gave my students:

1.) An Online Book Report on any book they read this summer. 

2.) A poster and a blog post based on our Summer Scavenger Hunt.

3.) Practicing Math facts using internet games.

 

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad ResourcesThe favorite summer homework of my students is usually the Summer Scavenger Hunt, because it encourages them to visit lots of fun places.  In addition, they get to make a poster and a blog post to share their summer with their friends.  It also doesn’t hurt that I offer a No Homework for a Week Pass to whichever students have gone to the most places on the list! 

 

This summer, my sons and I tried to hit a bunch of places on the list too.  I will be sharing these places with my students as well.  We made it to 20 our of 35.  Here are the places we went to:

1.) Library – South Cobb Library, Mableton, GA, USA

2.) Museum – Portland Children’s Museum, Portland, OR, USAPromote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

3.) Ocean – San Francisco Bay, San Francisco, CA, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

4.) Farm – Goat Dairy Farm, Marin County, CA, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

5.) Another State – We visited over 20 states.

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

6.) Another Country – We visited the USA and Canada.  (We live in Morocco.)

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

7.) Concert – Free concert in Mount Tabor Park, Mount Tabor, OR, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

8.) Mountain – Rocky Mountains, Wyoming, USA; Needles Mountain, South Dakota, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

9.) Aquarium – Bay Aquarium, San Francisco, CA, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

10.) Historic House – Angel Island Immigration Center and Army Base – San Francisco, CA, USA

11.) Boat – Paddle Boating, San Francisco Bay, CA, USA; Ferry Boats – Angel Island, San Francisco Bay, USA and 1,000 Islands, New York, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

12.) Airplane – 3 planes back and forth between USA and Morocco

13.) Nature Preserve – Yellowstone National Park, WY, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

14.) Movie – Free Movie in the Park – Jack the Giant Slayer – Portland, OR, USA

15.) State Park – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, USA; Mount Rushmore National Park, SD, USA; Yellowstone National Park, WY, USA; Mount Tabor, OR, USA

 Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

16.) Educational Websites – time spent on www.raz-kids.com and www.storybird.com

17.) River – Missouri River, Mississippi River and Tennessee River

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

18.) Lake – Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, AZ, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources 

19.)  Desert – Grants, New Mexico, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

20.) Historic Home – Boldt Catle, 1,000 Islands, NY, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

A few other places we visited, which didn’t fit into any of the “categories” are:

Niagara Falls – Buffalo, NY, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

Mount Rushmore – South Dakota, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

The Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, CA, USA

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

 

Notre Dame Basilicia – Montreal, Canada

Promote experiential learning with the Summer Scavenger Hunt - Free Download from Raki's Rad Resources

 

I know that a lot of people downloaded my Summer Scavenger Hunt at the end of the school year.  If you did, I’d love to hear about how it went in your classroom, please leave us a comment.  If you didn’t, feel free to grab it from Google Docs for FREE, and have your students check off the things they did during the summer.  It would be a great way to get to know your kids and share what they have been up to.

Are you a homeschooling parent?  Why not download the list and do it during the school year?  The items on the list are definitely available year round!

Where did YOU go this summer?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources