Saturday, April 27, 2013

Surviving the final months (or weeks) of the school year

I just had to share! I am co-hosting a "School's (Almost) Out Blog Hop and Giveaway" and it has turned out REALLY well!

Our contributing bloggers have written such thoughtful posts including ideas, activities, lots of photos and even some freebies.

There is a giveaway on the go as well, with lots of teacher resources to be won and an Amazon gift card!

I have two months left this school year - finished on June 28th. What about where you teach? What ideas do you have for making it through these last months?

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Let Teachers from Around the World Teach Your Class

At the ECIS Technology conference, I attended a workshop on the flipped classroom and was fully intrigued.  In a flipped classroom, all or some of the homework is a video or online simulation that “teaches” what you would normally teach in class.  Then, in class the kids focus on activities, projects and practice problems that would generally be homework.  This way, there is nobody sitting at home stuck on how to figure out a math problem, or even worse practicing doing it wrong.  Stop by my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources to see how I’m using the flipped classroom model at my class at the International School of Morocco.

One of the things that I  like most about using the flipped classroom model is that I am able to bring in “guest teachers” from around the world to help explain things to my students.  I have the option of creating videos for them (using apps like Explain Everything and Educreations), but there are also SO  many videos already available, that I have found what I need for the rest of this school year without making any myself.  The majority of the videos my students are watching have come from the Khan Academy, which is an online library of over 3,000 videos on tons and tons of subjects.  Other good sources of online videos include: Knowmia, Engvid, Teacher Tube, EDTed, NeoK12, and Math Playground.  Each of these videos is created by someone who might explain it slightly differently than I would.  So, if a student isn’t getting it with my explanation or Khan Academy’s explanation, I have a plethora of other “guest teachers” to lean on and use their explanations to help my students understand.  Here is one the video my students watched for homework on Tuesday:


Division 2: Dividing into larger numbers. Introduction to long division and remainders.

Have you ever thought about flipping your classrooms and allowing “guest teachers” from around the world to help you out?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Earth Day Video Collaborative Project

Hi guys, it’s Heidi Raki of Raki’s Rad Resources and I’m here to explain our newest Global Teacher Connect Collaborative Project.

Earth Day is on April 22nd.  Last year for Earth Day, I hosted a Getting Rid of Plastic Bags Collaborative Project here at Global Teacher Connect.  This year, I am hosting an Earth Day Video Collaborative Project focused on recycling.  Each class (or a group within your class) that is participating will create a video with three parts – each part focused on one of the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle.  Then, the class will upload their video to YouTube or Vimeo and add a link to their video here in the earthdayvideoprojectcomments, with their grade, school and location.  I have created a project sheet that I am going to use with my class, and you are welcome to use that same sheet.  Download it free from my TPT store, or e-mail me at hlraki @ hotmail . com and I’ll send you it directly.  You DO NOT have to use this sheet, it’s just an option to make it easier – Smile.


Project Guidelines:

- Create a video. Videos can be created using any variety or combination of movie making or screencast programs or iPad apps, including, but not limited to: Movie Maker (on PC’s), iMovie (on Macs or iPad), Educreations (on PC, Mac or iPad), Morfo (on iPad), Explain Everything (on iPad), or Jing (on PC)

- Videos may show student faces, but don’t have to (mine won’t!)  If you show student faces, please be sure to have parent permission.

- Upload the video to a site where everyone can access it. (YouTube and Vimeo are easy and free.)

- Post the link here in the comments, along with your class’ grade(s), school, and location.

- Share the other links that have been created with your class.

- Feel free to let your students leave comments for the other classes’ videos.


Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Flat Stanley Writing Project

Connecting with other classrooms has never been easier. With a simple click we can be transported half-way around the world. One project that I do in my classroom that connects classrooms around the world is the Flat Stanley Writing Project.  You can connect directly with the Flat Stanley Website here and search for a partner school.  You will be contacted very quickly (I guarantee) and the collaborative project is born.  I am connecting with a school in NY once again for our FS project.  We created our FS templates, mail them off and waited for our buddies from NY to send theirs. Once received, I assigned each child a FS and they keep a writing journal for 5 days of all their adventures.  I also ask them to take lots of photos of where they have taken their FS. This is also an excellent literacy writing project.

Our Flat Stanleys off to NY!

After our part is complete, we mail back a completed journal and their FS and we, in turn, wait for ours. We culminate the project with a Skype visit so we can see our friends in person and ask each other questions.

If you haven't already done this project, check it out. It really is alot of fun and gives children knowledge of how another student lives in other parts of the world. It is a good idea to read a few of the books beforehand so your children understand the stories.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Blogging as a Writing Format for Students

I feel like I haven't been here in so long! I've missed you GTC!  Where the heck did March go? Anyhow, I thought I'd just check in quickly with something that I've got planned for my class for later on this week.

I know that many of you probably use blogs as a writing format for your students. I've been meaning to get to this all year and it just hasn't happened yet. We have been having some issues with technology at the school on top of everything else (nothing new) but I'm going to give it a shot this week, anyway.

Kidblog is one of the most popular sites that I have found for students to write their own blogs. It is private, easy to manage (from the looks of it) and also has options for classes to blog with other classes.

blogging with middle school students kidblog

In Health, we have been talking about stress and coping with stress. I will be having my students write a blog post about what stresses them (or kids their age) and what techniques they can use to alleviate their stress. It's a simple task, really. However, I'll be having them read and comment on at least 2 or 3 of their classmates' blogs as well. I hope that they'll enjoy the writing format as a change of pace, and perhaps gain some new ways of coping with the various stresses of being a young teenager. I also hope that they will gain even more insight into purpose and audience.

I'll let you know how this little activity goes and how the students enjoy it. I'd love to have my students write for a global audience, but with privacy issues, that can be tricky. However, with the control that Kidblog offers, it would be possible to team up with another class or classes and give a wider audience to our students, rather than just their classmates.

FYI, I teach in Prince Edward Island. Below is a shot of our town (taken last fall, there's a little snow around still). The other 2 photos are also taken in the area where I live and are just for fun! My brother and husband went kayaking a couple of weeks ago on a freakishly warm day (notice the bergs;)

Souris, PEI
Blogging as a Writing Format for Students Kidblog
Such a calm day!
Blogging as a Writing Format for Students Kidblog
Hubby on the left, little brother on the right...


Please, leave a comment if you'd ever be interested in teaming up to allow our students to read each others' Kidblogs. It could be very cool! I'll know by the end of the week, hopefully, if student blogging is something that I wish to do more of, or if our technology (or lack there of) is going to be my reason to say, "Not this year." I'll be sure to share the outcome and my decision, though:)

Do your students blog? What site do you use?

lessons from the middle blogging with students
lessons from the middle blogging with students

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Technology Insights from a Global Community

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend and present at a technology conference hosted by the European Council for International Schools (ECIS).  The conference inspired me in so many ways and has impacted the day to day teaching that I am doing already.  Just being around all those teachers from all over Europe and the Middle East was inspirational.  Then, to hear the speakers and take part in the discussions, it was amazing.  For more specific information on the conference, check out the notes at my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources.  In the meantime, here are five of the biggest ideas I took away from the conference.  Please pin your favorites to get these ideas moving around our global teaching community.











Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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