Saturday, June 30, 2012

Unfair Science Fair

I wrote this post during the school year, but decided to wait until summer to add it to my blog.  So, here it is, and I hope you enjoy!

I recently posted a blog detailing how to deal with angry parents (find it here if you missed it).  And wouldn’t you know it, I had to deal with a very upset mommy the next day.  (Isn’t it funny how that works sometimes?)

The kids are in the middle of completing their Science Fair projects.  This is the first year they are doing these, so I’ve broken down the project into 4 chunks.  That way the students can get their work checked by me as they’re completing the project, and I can make any corrections along the way if needed.

Well one of my students (let’s call her Jane) was completely unclear about her experiment and left out a lot of detail and I was confused about what her whole experiment was trying to prove.  Another area she missed points on was the section requiring the students to keep a journal of their experiment.  Jane only completed 3 out of the 5 entries required.

So I get this angry email from a mommy telling me that Jane’s father was furious with her, the school, and myself for giving her a bad grade.  She proceeded to tell me that they spent $85 on plants and supplies for the experiment, and it was all for nothing since she got a bad grade (really?  $85 on plants?  What did they buy, palm trees?).  So it was the parents’ understanding that I didn’t give Jane a good grade because they didn’t spend enough money on the Science Fair project.

Really?  I mean come on.  Really?  If that were the case then I would’ve required the parents turn in receipts.  Come on now.

It always amazes me when people expect the worst of me as their child’s teacher.  Like I’m teaching because I enjoy the huge paycheck (I have mentioned before how much I love shopping at the DOLLAR store, right?).

The Resourceful Teacher Blog
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

National Geographic for Kids

Recently, I recommended the National Geographic Kids website for my Wednesday Website Suggestion at Raki’s Rad Resources.

One of the coolest parts of the sections of the site is the Country Information section.  This great section gives kids National Geographic Kids Website - Countriesquick facts, a video, a map and a news article on a ton of different countries around the world.  It would be great for research projects for grades 2-5, and I thought that the readers of Global Teacher Connect would be interested in taking a look at it.  For other important things you can find on this site, check out my Wednesday Website Suggestion at Raki’s Rad Resources.

 How do you teach your students about different countries?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources    Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oso Pardo, Oso Pardo, Qué puedes ver?

June 25th  is  Eric Carle  birthday. Why not celebrating his life and wonderful work with your kids? 

These are some ideas for the Spanish Brown Bear, Brown Bear What can you see? 
"Oso Pardo, Oso Pardo, qué puedes ver?"
Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí?

Some words you can teach in Spanish
Bear: Oso
 I made  Spanish flashcards to review the characters from the story.
You can download the set for free in my blog

Do you want to read more ideas for Eric Carle's books?
Check here
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Songs in the Classroom

I recently did a few posts about the songs I sing in the classroom for student transitions.  You can read my full post here.  These two songs for lining up and going to the carpet are ones that I use quite often.  I've also been known to break out in song when students aren't paying attention and that gets them pretty quickly.  As a grade level team, we have tried to get together once a week for a half hour to sing songs together as a grade.  The students get to learn songs from all of the teachers.  We try to do some that correlate with our curriculum, but also do some just for fun.  What kinds of songs to you sing around the world in your classrooms?
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Developing Student Leaders

“Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves” (The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time (2008), Stephen R. Covey, p. 41).

Hello everyone! I'm Loriana and I blog at Teaching Rocks with my two friends and colleagues, Elita and Lisa.  We teach in Toronto, Canada and we're so glad that we could be a part of this global collaborative blog!

I thought that my first post for Global Teacher Connect would be on the topic of student leadership, as I recently finished reading Stephen R. Covey's book The Leader in Me (2008).  I am interested in developing leadership skills in my students, as I would like them to use these skills to make a positive impact on our school climate.  Now, Stephen R. Covey is famous for “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” so when I saw that he wrote this particular book on student leadership, I was interested in reading about the approach he took. The Leader in Me tells the story of several schools that have incorporated student leadership into their daily curriculum and attempted to make every student a leader by using the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," with some schools achieving tremendous and inspiring results.

Why are schools looking to develop leadership skills in their students?  According to Covey (2008, p. 4), he explains that student leadership:
  • improved student achievement
  • significantly enhanced self-confidence and esteem in students
  • dramatic decreases in discipline problems
  • impressive increases in teachers’ and administrators’ job satisfaction and commitment
  • greatly improved school cultures
  • parents who are delighted and engaged in the process
  • business and community leaders who want to lend support
Right now, we have five committees for our grade 7 and 8 students, in order to help them develop leadership skills while assisting the school community, but I would like to work on our strategies and evolve our model, so I will be further researching this topic and its application.  Check out for more ideas on how to get started.

How do you develop the leadership skills of your students?  What opportunities are they given to showcase their skills and use them for the betterment of the school community?


Teaching Rocks!
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International Surfing Day

Aloha everyone!!  Did you know today is International Surfing Day!? That's right my favorite sport has been given it's own day.


The Surfrider Foundation started this a few years back to make people more aware of how important our oceans are.  Their campaign this year is to Take The Day Off and Surf.  California has declared it an official holiday!  Here in Hawaii my kids and I plan to be out in the water all day! 

Surfing is a huge part of Hawaiian culture.  You see people of all ages out surfing!

But what if you don't surf? What if I am not even near the ocean?  There are so many wonderful books, resources and fun art projects that can bring the surf to you.

OLIVIA Learns to Surf (Olivia TV Tie-In)

Froggy Goes to Hawaii
A Story of Surfing

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Blue Marbles is an amazing site that helps promote ocean awareness.

What about making your own ocean in a bottle?

Or maybe a Coral Reef

Or even your own surf buddy

Photo: Oceanic White-tip Shark

National Geographic has an excellent site all about the ocean.

I hope that no matter where you are today you will stop and reflect on how important our oceans are and ways that you can help educate future generations!

surfin' Through Second

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Staying Connected

Post card exchanges, pen pals, e-mail pals, skype pals – there are so many ways to stay connected with people who live around the globe.  When we decided to move to Morocco, we set my oldest son, Kal, up with a pen pal in Morocco who was the same age as he was.  I can’t tell you how much it helped him to have postcard exchange for kidssomeone on his own wave length to communicate with.  Since arriving, we have also met up with his pen pal, and they became friends, further easing the transition. 

So, I was thinking recently about how to use these types of strategies in my homeschooling ventures and in my classroom next year.  I want to give my children (at home and at school) a real life connection to writing.  I also want to give them a chance to converse with people from all around the world.  Now, I love technology, but I’ve decided that although I love technology and e-mail is great, receiving “real” mail is just too exciting for kids to take this concept totally offline.  So, instead of just sending e-mails, I would like to start up a post card exchange, with anyone, anywhere who would like to be involved. 

Here’s my idea:

I have a 4 year old and an 8 year old who LOVE to write post cards.  If you have a child (or a class full of children) in the 4-9 year old age range, leave an address as a comment – or send your address to my email: , and we’ll send you a post card.  On the post card, will of course be our return address, and we’d LOVE to get a post card in response.  Then, periodically, I’ll post little updates here on Global Teacher Connect about where we’ve received post cards from.  If enough people are interested, perhaps we will eventually work out a web, or a more intricate, plan, but here’s a start.  Who’s interested?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources  Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Freebie - Color by Numbers in French

Life in the countryside of France is so much fun and so slow paced!  I love it here in Normandy.  Finally we are getting a break from the non-stop rain and I am starting to see a hint of spring/summer.  School is still going on for another 2.5 weeks; however, I know most schools in the USA are closed now.  So, why not print out this fun and easy color by number worksheet that you can use in with your own children or if you teach summer school, you can use it there.  Click on the link below to go to my website Mixminder, where you can download it.

Have a great week and don't forget to check out my store on TPT for more language lessons.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

No Zero Policy: What do you think?

A colleague showed me this story in the national news, just the other day. A teacher at a school in Alberta, Canada is being suspended for giving zeros for unsubmitted work, which is against the school's policy. I'm not here to defend either side. The article got me thinking, though. What is the purpose of an assessment? Is that purpose truly served if a zero is entered, when an assignment has not been submitted?

What does one do, though, when students are given ample opportunities to do, re-do and correct assignments and projects and yet still fail to submit them? I know that entering a zero for an unsubmitted assignment gives no useful assessment data, but I am curious what other schools do that have a "no zero policy". What about those students who simply don't "do"? Are partially completed, poorly done assignments better than none at all?

Here's the link to the article: Teacher Suspended for Giving Zeros.

teacher suspended for giving zeros, global teacher connect
Calgary Teacher Suspended
This teacher is not the first, nor will he be the last to give zeros for assignments that simply weren't passed in. When every opportunity has been given to complete work, is the zero eventually warranted? How long should a teacher chase a student for work? Why is it the teacher's responsibility to "chase" students for work at all? What sort of a message and precedent does this set for students? How well does it prepare them for the real world of work? How long would your boss chase you to complete a lesson plan? A sub plan? Submit report cards? There would come a point when you'd simply run out of time and you'd have to face the consequence. How well are we preparing our students for those consequences?

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A Year’s Worth of Teaching in Morocco

Time in MoroccoIt’s officially been one year since my family and I moved to Casablanca, Morocco. During the course of this year, I have been teaching at an International School and this experience has taught me so much about being a teacher. The top things that I have learned are:


1. Kids are kids, all kids want to be silly and play, no matter where in the world you live.

2. Background knowledge is dependent on many variables.  My kids had different background knowledge this year than in previous years, because they live in a distinctly different culture than the ones I left in the States.  This background knowledge is not better or worse, but it needs to be taken into consideration when approaching a lesson.

3. A little language goes a long way – I am far from fluent in either Arabic or French, but what I have learned has helped me inside and outside the classroom.

4. Cultural discussions are a good thing.  I have had great discussions with my kids, which have helped me know them better, and has hopefully taught them a thing or two about other cultures and living with tolerance among others. 

5. I am still learning and growing as a teacher.  Every day of this year made me stronger, and often I was reminded of the saying “The more I know, the more I know that I don’t know.”  Hopefully all that I learned this year will help me for many years in the future.

After only one year of teaching in Morocco, I feel like I have learned and grown so much. I can’t wait to see what I learn over the next year.


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I am back in the states for a few weeks. It is nice to be back, but right before I leave my life is consumed with packing. This time while I was packing I allowed it to inspire an activity for my students.

For many of my students, packing to go home is a natural part of life. So I created an activity that would allow them to think critically about packing while using some math skills. One part of math and science that is difficult for my students is converting measurements to the metric system. Even though many of them have grown up using the metric system I think it is important for them to have a grasp of how things are measured in the United States.

Another thing that I experienced before I left China was packing up my classroom. I never knew that you had to pack-up at the end of each year. My mother works in an elementary school and she always prepares her room for the next year during post-planning. I had to pack up everything. I made a packing list that will definitely help next year when I unpack.

My life is consumed with constantly packing and unpacking. It is fun at times, but not so fun at others. Have you had any interesting packing experiences? What things do you use to help in the classroom?

~ Jessi C in China
   Life on the Fouth Floor
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Aloha From Hawaii

Aloha Everyone!  My name is Corinna Gandara and I am a 2nd grade teacher on the beautiful island of Oahu in Hawaii.  I am very happy to be an author for Global Teacher Connect.

I wanted to share with you today one of my favorite Hawaiian authors, Tammy Yee.  Tammy grew up here on the island of Oahu and began writing and illustrating children's books in 1994.  Her stories and illustrations capture the feel of island living.

A classic story that you will find in most island homes and libraries is Baby Honu's Incredible Journey.

This is a wonderful story about a baby honu (turtle), who faces many challenges on his journey to the sea.  The author uses the Hawaiian names of each of the animals and has a glossary in the back of the book.  After reading this book to my own children over and over growing up, they now refer to turtles as honu (ho-noo) and whales as kohola (koh-ho-lah).

In my class I have several of Tammy Yee's books and the children read them again and again. 

The rich language and beautiful illustrations make these a wonderful addition to any library.

If you are interested in adding some Hawaiian language to your class, I have created this little mini Sea Creature book to help your students learn the Hawaiian names.

This is a printable book that you can print for each student, or just a few copies in class.  You can download it by clicking on the picture or here from Google Docs.

I hope you will check out some of Tammy's books and take a mini trip to Hawaii.

surfin' Through Second
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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Build a Powerful Word Wall

Here’s a video I made to give you guys a glimpse at my word wall, here in Casablanca, Morocco.  After you watch it, scroll down to the bottom for some FREE pieces you can grab YOUR word wall.

Word Wall Pieces from Raki’s Rad Resources:

Phonics Posters – FREE

Alphabet Labels – $3.00

Sight Words – $1.00

Number Words - FREE

Color Words – FREE

Shape Words – $1.00

41 Different Word Families – $12.00  (or buy each separately for 99 cents each.)


Do you use a word wall in your classroom?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources   Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Word attack free posters!

Either in English or Spanish when children are learning to read new words they need strategies to read them.
You can try with these:
  • Look at the pictures
  • Try to sound out the word
  • Look at the beginning of letters
  • Look at the end of letters
  • Skip the letters you don't know and read the end of the word
  • Try to guess
  • Does this word make sense?
  • Go back and read it
  • Look it up in a dictionary
  • Ask a friend or an adult

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Three Book Studies for the Summer...Are You In???

Hey guys!

It's Michelle from Making It As A Middle School Teacher in the United States.

I want to share with you some book studies that I am taking part in over the summer.

I am very excited to be part of these studies as well as hosting chapters on my blog!  This will be a new process for me, but I can't wait to get started!!!

The first book study is taking place on a newly-created blog called We Read, We Blog, We Teach.  This blog will be a place for future book studies as well so you might want to check it out now!

We Read, We Blog, We Teach

We will be going through two books:

The Daily 5


The CAFE Book

both written by "The Sisters", Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.

We will officially begin on July 1st, so you still have lots of time to gather your books or use the Amazon links above.

The other book study starts Monday, June 11th, so you might need to move a little quicker for that one.  Even if you start a few days late, the pace of this book study is a little slower, so you should have no trouble catching up.

We will be reaing:

Guided Math by Laney Sammons.

All three of these books can be used from Kindergarten to 6th or 7th grade...while some of the strategies can apply to even higher grade levels!!

I wanted to share these book studies with you since we are a world-wide audience here at Global Teacher Connect.  I thought it might be interesting to hear some ideas and points of view from those of you in other countries as well.  The more we share and collaborate, the better we all are, in my opinion! :)

So, if you'd like to take part in either or both, gather your books, follow my blog and the We Read, We Teach, We Blog blog, and start reading so the fun can begin!

Enjoy :)

Making It {and smiling},

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