Saturday, April 14, 2012

What’s the Weather Like?

Who’s writing this blog? Lots of people – each from a different place and with a different story.

Who’s reading this blog? Lots of people from all around the world.

So, each week, there will be a Getting to Know You question posted so that we can all come together as a Global Community and get to know each other better.

Do you have a question about us you would like answered? Feel free to email you question to us at heidiraki @ gmail . com.


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Teaching English On-Line

Although I have taught ESL for over 20 years as a classroom teacher I have also taught English On-Line for 4 years for a Korean E-Learning Company. After my first year I started writing my own Speaking Lessons which I could upload into the virtual classroom. Since there is a limited amount of time and number of times a week that students study I wanted to insure that students were speaking for at least 70% of the class time. I incorporated Sheltered Instruction Strategies which were very successful in the regular elementary classroom and saw wonderful improvement in student's speaking proficiency with my on-line lessons. Here is a free Beginner Speaking Lesson which is part of a 3 Beginner Speaking Lesson packet. I would love for you to download your free lesson and give me feedback. I haven't added a lot more lessons as there hasn't been a great market for them and hope this Global Teacher community will help all of us demonstrate that good teaching is good teaching. I found that using Sheltered Instruction strategies benefited all my students.
If you like this lesson I hope you will let me know.
Arlene at LMN Tree

 How many of you teach English on-line? What are your greatest challenges?                                        
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

International Day

Each year, my school puts on an International Day.  Each of the elementary classrooms choose a country to study.  The students and/or teacher (depending on the age group) gather information Student Presentations on the Democratic Republic of Congoabout that country: the language, the religion, the food, the animals, the clothes, the flag, the plants etc.  During the week leading up to International Day, the students visit the other classrooms to learn about the countries.  Then, on International Day, parents come in for the big finale.  Students get dressed up in traditional clothes of their country.  There is food to taste from each country, and the students present what they have learned to their parents.  After all of the presentations, the entire school gathers together for Student Created African Masks for Project on the Democratic Republic of Congosongs, skits and dances from the different countries.  Finally, we end it all by singing We are the World.

This year, my class chose the Democratic Republic of Congo for International Day.  One of my students is from this country, and her mom came in to help us out – she let the students interview her, as well as making the costumes and the food!  My students learned about the rainforest, two animals that can’t be found anywhere else, a volcano eruption, and fufu – the national dish of the DRC.  They painted the flag of Congo and made traditional Congolese masks in Art.  They also learned a play Rainforest Classroom Display with the Congo Rivercalled Never Cry Croc – the Congolese version of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.  It was a great learning experience for them!

Does your school do anything to celebrate other countries?


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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How do you practice handwriting?

I recently wrote a post on my blog about one of the ways my students practice their handwriting.  You can read it and grab a freebie page here.

How do you practice handwriting around the world? 

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I Think I Misunderstood You

I love my students.  They continually make me laugh on a daily basis and truly make me love my job. 

Today the students came back from Art class and the first few students ran to their desks and I heard a cacophony of, “I’m first” and “No, I was first.”

I made the general comment to those filtering in after, “You guys are so competitive.”  Once the students were settled, one of my girls raised her hand and asked in a sad voice, “Did you say we were pathetic?”

I was so worried that she misheard what I said and clarified, “No!  I said COMPETITIVE,” I re-enunciated the word, “COMPETITIVE.  Not pathetic.”  Then she sighed a relief and smiled and we all had a good laugh.

I’m so glad she said something to me, though. Can you imagine if she went home and told her parents that I called the kids pathetic?  Phew!

The Resourceful Teacher Blog
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Do You Speak English?

When you live in a country where you don’t speak the language on the street – you get excited to hear English – in any form.  When we first got here, my kids would get so excited over everyone who knew even a few words of English.  Now, they have enough Arabic to play with friends, so English isn’t as exciting, but they still look forward to having over friends who speak English – in whatever form.image

One of the things I have learned in this move is that there are lots and lots of different versions of English.  I work with a few wonderful ladies from England who have helped me learn about the differences between British English and American English – starting with the word rubber, which means eraser in American English.  I have also come in contact with teachers, parents and other ex-pats from: Ireland, the Phillipeans, India, Belgium and Canada.  Each of these people have had different ways of saying words that are very familiar to me.  I kept telling myself that “my” English was the “correct” English.  Then, I sat down with a parent from India who had spoken English his entire life.  During this conference, the parent told me how hard of a time he head understanding me, and let me know that his child may also be having a hard time understanding my English.  This conversation reminded me that my English was only one form of this language.  Many people around the world speak English with their own accent and dialect.  Each form of English is the “correct” form of English for that particular community. 

Being a part of the global English speaking community means knowing and understanding English in all of it’s forms.  What “English” words or phrases have ever made you pause and say in your head – “Are you sure you’re speaking English?”

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Guarding Yourself Against Germs

Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to turn you into a “germaphobe,” (which I don’t think would be a bad thing, I do have some “germaphobic” tendencies myself). Simply these are  tips I use to help myself from getting sick.

Like most teachers, I get sick all the time.  Kids usually have difficulties with sharing, but not when it comes to germs! I have literally had a student sneeze on their paper, and then hand it to me (of course I didn’t collect it until I put on rubber gloves, a mask, and continued to spray it with with Lysol until it was crispy).   So here are some ways to protect yourself against your generous students:
  1. Don’t eat and grade papers simultaneously.  Again, refer back to my comment about the kid sneezing on his paper.  Kids are picking their nose, rubbing their eyes, and spreading their germs all over their work.  If you touch it, then feed yourself, it only makes sense that you are going to catch what they have.
  2. Sanitize EVERYTHING!! Ok, maybe not everything, but pay attention to what your students touch most: door handles, desks, the sink, the classroom phone, computer keyboards, etc.  I love using Clorox Wipes to clean these items, they have been a life-saver (or more appropriately, a health-saver).
  3. Don’t allow kids to take work home when they’re sick.  This will depend on what your school policy is for absent kiddos.  We have a pretty open policy at our school (which I don’t like very much), but if a kid is sick, the parent can come to school to pick up any work they missed.  I usually tell them that I prefer the student wait until they get back to collect the work they missed.  Think about it though: If a kid a sick and they’re completing their missed work from school, they’re getting all their germs all over their work and then turning it into you.  Then you’re going to get sick and probably infect some of your students, so it’s really best for your health if you wait until they return to school.
  4. Keep sanitizer readily available.  I keep red buckets at each desk group filled with items the kids use on a daily basis.  One of these items is hand sanitizer.  The students have access to it whenever they need it, especially right after sneezing or blowing their nose.
  5. Teach your students how to sneeze or cough in their arm.  I like to refer to this as the Dracula method.  Getting them to cover their germs with their arm eliminates the amount of germs on their hands, which means fewer germs you come in contact with.
There you have it.  Stay healthy, teachers!
The Resourceful Teacher Blog
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I tag YOU!

Krista from The Second Grade Super Kids sent me this fun game to know about fellow bloggers. I thought it could be fun tagging all of you (Global Teacher Connect authors). Please visit my blog for more information. And don't feel bad if you don't have the time to follow this game, it's just for doing some blog hopping.
I could not write a comment on all your blogs so I hope you see this. It is a good way to see all our blogs and get to know each other.
Have fun!

Lita Lita
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Monday, April 9, 2012

The Red Buckets

Here’s a quick tip for organizing items your students use on a daily basis  My classroom configuration is set up so that my students are always sitting in groups.  I like to keep one red bucket (shown in the picture) at each group.

Inside the buckets you will find highlighters, hand sanitizer, sticky notes, flashcards, extra pencils and erasers, and homeless pencils (sometimes they find their way back).  These are items we use pretty much every day.  It helps to keep them organized and by using these buckets kids can reach them easily without getting up and distracting other members of the class.

I found these buckets at a teacher’s store where they were a bit costly.  I’ve also seen them at the dollar store for about the same quality, but a lot more cost effective.

To read about how much I love the dollar store, click here and here.

The Resourceful Teacher Blog
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I wonder if anyone else has stumbled upon StumbleUpon? I supposed it is like Pinterest, except we are looking at the actual website rather than a picture from it. It does look like a promising way to get the word out on GTC and our personal blogs.

I signed up yesterday, added their badge to my blog and have already found heaps of fantastic resources like this one: Fun Family Crafts.

The only thing I found a bit odd about is that on their "Interest" tool, they don't have anything like Kindergarten, Preschool, Teaching, Elementary Education, etc. so I have had to categorize my interests under "Kids" or "For Kids".

Any thoughts on this? Is anyone using this site and do you find it worthwhile? I would love to hear your comments.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Getting Creative with Nature...


Look at the portfolio covers in the picture above. Aren't they cute? Especially the coconuts! The students who created these had the option of decorating their portfolios about wetlands in any way they wanted. Some students printed real pictures of a wetland, others drew theirs (which I also liked).  But these students chose to use a mixture of drawing and a few real materials from nature. I have a weakness for craft and creativity. When I saw these finely detailed portfolio covers, I fell in love! (I held back some of my excitement because I wanted the other students to know that I appreciated their efforts as well.)

They explained to me that they used different parts of a palm tree (which is a much smaller cousin of the coconut palm tree) to make the fallen tree branches and the coconuts that you see in the picture. They also used twigs to represent a log, cotton for clouds, stones for rocks, and grass and seaweed to represent marshes and bushes. Of course, all students got the same mark for creativity, no matter how they chose to represent a wetland on their front covers. I do not believe in assessing a child's art work because all children have different levels of artistic ability so it would not be fair for me to do so. But I do enjoy giving them avenues for their creativity to shine.

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Daily Behavior Color Change Chart

Here’s a great method for keeping track of your students’ daily behavior.  I have a color change chart in the back of my classroom.  Here’s how it works.  Every day the kids start on the color green.  If students have trouble following directions, they “change their color.”  Behind the green cards shown in the picture are yellow, orange, purple, and red.  Here is a breakdown of what each color represents (you may want to refer to my blogs about using tickets as a reward system. 

  • Green:  Student had a great day - gain 1 ticket
  • Yellow: Student received a warning - loss of 1 ticket
  • Orange: Student received 2 warnings for either the same or a different infraction - loss of 2 tickets
  • Purple:  Student received 3 warnings for either the same or different infractions - phone call home
  • Red:  Student received 4 warnings for either the same or different infractions - student gets to spend quality time with the principal.
Looking for resources to document student behavior?  Click here

The Resourceful Teacher Blog
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