Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another Year of Student Blogging

I posted a Collaborative Project for Student Blogging in the last school year, and I'd love to revive that post now!

Student Blogging is the perfect platform for junior high students, especially, because they love to be the holder of power. Having others read their posts - having a real audience of readers, gives them the power that they desire. Hence, they learn an all important lesson: Words are powerful!
 
With 19 grade seven students this year, I have a variety of writing styles and levels. However, I have a few kids in particular who have really found their voices through their blogs and are even working on extra posts at home. Peers are helping each other edit the posts through the comments section (posts are by no means perfect - but works in progress) and I love seeing this collaboration and feedback in the students' comments to each other. I also enjoy seeing the silly little comments (once in a while) that is proof to me that they are engaging in the process by reading their classmates' blogs and having an online conversation about the content. As with many things, it can go overboard - but it's all part of the process. 

So, if you or any teachers you know are interested in blogging with your students and would like to have another class read and comment on your blogs - please fill in your information into the Collaborative Project document. It's one that I have created for us all to use. If you see a teacher there you'd like to collaborate with - contact them and get the ball rolling. As I said, I teach grade 7 and would love any grade 6-8 classes who are interested in sharing the blogging adventure this year!



Collaborative Project Student Blogging
Mrs. Mills' Mighty Minions - My Class Blog
Collaborative Project Student Blogging
Collaborative Project Student Blogging

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Does Your School Host A Math Night?

This year, our K-7 school decided to host a math night. Math is my favorite subject to teach and so I was super-excited to plan some activities for my students. We sent home notes to all of the students, giving parents the date and general info about what we were doing and asked for the slips to come back with the number of students who would be attending. This way, we had a bit of an idea as to how many kids to prepare for. It was apparent that the parents and students were interested - so off we went planning the activities!

Family Math Night


The whole vision for the night was to build parent engagement, and to try to break down some of the walls with the frustration that can result for everyone around math because the parent was taught one way and the students may be taught a different way. Many times, parents are trying to help by offering a different method, but the students get frustrated because "That's not how we do it in class." There are so many ways to solve a problem! They should be open to all of the possibilities!

We invited in an engaging math consultant to speak to parents about "the new math" that their children are a part of (about 25 minutes). The other 35 minutes was spent with teachers, parents and their children together, taking part in various math activities. I chose to prepare a math scavenger hunt for the 11 grade 7 students who chose to come to Math Night. Eleven out of 38! I was so excited that they came! At this age, you risk it not being "the cool thing to do". Anyhow, they came! For my scavenger hunt, I went around the school the week prior to math night, noting bulletin boards and displays in the corridors and made up little clues. Once students figured out the clue, they had to do some sort of calculation with the number, based on what we've been working on recently in class. For example:

"Fishing can be a job or a hobby,
Locate the digit in the ten thousands place,
If I were you, I'd check the lobby!"

There is a mural in the lobby with a fishing boat...and then students had to perform a calculation with that digit. I had a lot of fun putting it together! And, more importantly, students had a great time doing the scavenger hunt! They were literally sweating by the end because I had them travelling all over the school! It was awesome!

Other classes had SMART Board games or board games in their classrooms. One teacher prepared a handout with math sites for parents to take home with them. And, every child left with a little "grab bag" of math goodies (dice, cards etc.) a cookie and juice box.

Our little town had the best turnout the math consultant had seen and everyone left with smiles on their faces - staff, parents and students. It was simply a great night and I hope we do it again next year!

Have you ever held a Math Night at your school? A Science Night? I'd love to hear more!

Math Night
Math Night
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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ni Hao! I'm the newest GTC author- Andrea Ho

My name is Andrea Ho from Cheers To School and I'm the newest author contributor to GTC.

I am an American working as a Kindergarten teacher in an international school in China.  I just moved to China 2 months ago in early August.  I've been teaching for two years as a substitute teacher, teacher's assistant, and ECC/elementary teacher.
The Yellow star is where I live in China.  Many people say China looks like a chicken, so I guess I live at the base of the Chicken's neck.  
This is my first time teaching in China and overseas.  The student population at my school are mostly Korean (roughly 60-70%), American, Canadian, Japanese, Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and a few from South America, South Africa, and European countries.  Most of the students are business kids, diplomat kids, missionary kids, and staff kids.  Every grade has two classroom teachers.  This year I have a very small class-- 8 students total.

I love my new city (I'm close to Beijing), the people, the culture, and my new school.  I can't wait to share my experiences and ideas with you!

Looking forward to getting to know you and other fellow teachers from all around the world!

Cheers!

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Classroom Tour

This year, I am teaching Year 3 & Year 4 (which is 2nd and 3rd grade in the US system) at the International School of Morocco.  I teach my homeroom for reading. Then, I teach 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.  Here are some pictures of what my classroom looks like. 

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 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 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 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 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 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

For more information on how each of these views work in my classroom, stop by my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Students Love Global Pen Pals!

Interested in setting up a pen pal correspondence for your students in the coming school year?  I've got some free resources for you that I used in my class, as well as some reflections on what worked well and what pitfalls you might avoid in this blog post. We used a combination of emails and traditional paper letters.

Depending on what technology you have available, and your own preferences (as well as administration policies) you can be more snail-mail oriented or include other tech like Skype and Facetime.  This is an experience even my more reticent students have been quite engaged in every year.  I hope your learners enjoy it as well!


In the zip file download I have for you over at Teaching FSL, there's a parental permission form, instruction sheet for students to use with ePals, a peer editing handout I used, and also some tracking tools that will be handy if you teach multiple classes.  I included the PowerPoint presentation that I created for a Professional Development session when sharing my experience with other teachers in my district.

I'd love to hear your students' reactions to this learning experience!


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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Portfolios for International School Students

As a teacher at an international school, I have to realize that my students move and travel more than the average student.  This means 1.)  They can’t always take a portfolio of papers with them to their next stop.  2.)  Their family is often living in a another country or even another continent.  So, when I decided I wanted to do a portfolio project with my kids this year, I decided to make it an online portfolio that can be e-mailed to family and doesn’t create something that will be thrown away in the next move.

|Each of my students created an online portfolio of the work they have done this year using the website www.livebinders.com.  We added links to all of the projects we have done during the school year, storybirds, glogs, prezis, blog posts, even stories they typed in google docs, as well as photos and videos.  These links provide the “evidence” for learning in each subject. 

I can’t share a whole portfolio with you because they contain private pictures and videos, but here are some screen shots of different portfolios.  Feel free to stop by my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources to find out how we have done it, or download my Student Created Online Portfolios Packet from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

 Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders.

Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders 

Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders

 

 Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders

Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders

Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders

Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders

Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders

Create online portfolios with your elementary students using LiveBinders

 

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Summer Homework on Google Maps


View Travel Map - Raki Family in a larger map

 I use Google apps for lots of things, but I’ve never really played with Google Maps until recently.  I made a map with my 8 year old son, charting out all of the places we have traveled (see above).  This summer, we will be traveling around the US and he can’t wait to see where we can add “pins”.  This got me thinking that it would be a great summer homework prSummer Experience Scavenger Hunt - Freeoject.  Have families create a Google Map with at least one pin a week indicating where they have been.  (For students who stay close to home, the pins could be as simple as the supermarket or the library.)  It would go great with the summer scavenger hunt that I usually send home.  (Download the summer scavenger hunt free from my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources.)

For a step by step tutorial on how to use Google Maps, feel free to stop by my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources.

Heidi-Raki-of-Rakis-Rad-Resources_th

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Wednesday, May 8, 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 our schools are not teaching students to be global citizens.  Do you think your school is creating global citizens?  Should they be?  How do we go about creating global citizens?  Let’s start a global discussion about it!

What makes a global citizen?

To see Chadran Nair’s ECIS speech in it’s entirety, stop by my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources. Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

 

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Student Learning Games


I recently had my students create board games.  I gave them my list of Game Board Instructions (you can also download them on my site).  The students worked in groups to create a game about a subject we are currently studying.  I gave each group a different subject, and their job was to create a learning game involving concepts we're covering in class. 
 They were also responsible for coming up with detailed instructions, creating game pieces and game cards, and decorating their game board and box.
I purchased many of my materials from my favorite store, the Dollar store (see my blogs about the dollar store by clicking here and here.). Here's what I bought: small toys that were used as game pieces, pipe cleaner, googly eyes, and stickers for the kids who wanted to make their game pieces, dice, timers, spinners, white gift wrap boxes that the students used to store the game, and small cardboard jewelry boxes to hold the game pieces.
Here's an example of game pieces made with pipe cleaners and stickers.

These are some of the pieces I purchased from the Dollar Store.

One example of a game my students made was called "Fun-Cabulary."  They created a game where the players spin a spinner which tells them to either act out, draw, sculpt, or explain a vocab word.  Then they pick up a vocab card that has the word and definition on it, and the students have to guess the word.  
They had a great time with this activity and the kids love playing each other's games!  Here are some photographs of the kids' creations.




The Resourceful Teacher Blog
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Field Trips Rock!

My students, who attend the International School of Morocco, are very lucky.  They live in an area (Casablanca, Morocco) that provides us with great field trip opportunities.  We are currently studying Ancient Rome, so yesterday we went to see some Roman ruins and artifacts. 

We started at Chellah, the site of the ancient Roman city of Sala Colonia.  The kids were able to see arches, house walls, a nice Roman road, columns, a bath house and water pipes.

The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?    The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?

 

The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?   The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?

They were also able to see and talk about the “layering” that happens with many ancient ruin sites, as there are distinctly Arab buildings built “on top” of this site.  We were able to look at mosques and mosaics and compare and contrast the Roman architecture and the Arab architecture.

The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?   The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?

After Chellah, we went over to the Archaeological Museum and saw specific artifacts, collected from the many Roman sites in Morocco, including Volubilis.  We were able to see pottery, jewelry, statues and a great mosaic.

The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?   The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?

 

The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?     The International School of Morocco took a field trip to see Roman artifacts.  Where has your class taken a field trip to?

What awesome places do you get to take your students on field trips to?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Collaborative Project: Student Blogging

Collaborative Project: Student Blogging
My school - Souris Consolidated (Prince Edward Island, Canada)
I wrote a post last month about how I was just starting to get my students blogging. Since then, we are well on our way in our blogging adventures and most students are really enjoying it. Of course, there are students who don't enjoy writing, and blogging is no different for them. However, they do enjoy the freedom to play around with fonts and add photos to customize their blogs. They also enjoy the interaction with their classmates and feedback from myself, on improving their posts before publishing.

There were quite a few comments on that original post, from other teachers who were like me and wanted to have another class or two to blog with. It's almost like pen-pals, with a technological twist!

So, I've since decided to make this a collaborative project here on GTC. It's quite simple. If you have your students blogging and would like to set up something with another class, simply fill out your info on this spreadsheet Collaborative Project: Student Blogging. Have a look at the other teachers/classes who are seeking fellow students to blog with. If you find a teacher who matches what you are looking for - go ahead and email them and set something up between the two of you. Ta-da!



Here are two popular sites to choose from if you're new to student blogging. You may want to check the spreadsheet to see what most people are using!
Collaborative Project: Student Blogging

Collaborative Project: Student Blogging



Once your students are ready to team up with another class - the sky's the limit!

Collaborative Project: Student Blogging
 

-Students can simply read and comment on students' blogs in the other class

-Students could introduce themselves and get to know those in the other class in a "Get to know you" post - this would work best for us blogging newbies, most likely.

-Students in both classes could be given the same prompt (maybe even somewhat controversial ) to respond to and then read what their classmates/the other class had to say about the topic

-Students could all write about something unique to where they live if the blogging countries are quite different

-Students could also simply write about something of interest to them - everyone may have a different topic, and again, students must read and comment on each other's blogs.

-Students could post a picture symbolizing something important to them and have students comment, guessing what the picture represents

-Students could post a riddle and have students comment, making guesses at the answer

More blogging ideas for you and your students.

So, so many options!


 Feel free to connect with just one teacher or multiple, on the spreadsheet that we're compiling. We already have classes grades 1-8, in four different countries. Also, make a mental note to come back next school year (as it is getting close to the end for most of us) and see who's available to blog at that time. We're starting this LATE in the year. Imagine if we'd started it at the beginning of the school year! So many possibilities.


Even though we're just starting this now, I'm sure that the kids will still make connections, get to know each other and each other's writing voices and styles. They'll also become more comfortable with blogging as a writing format, and stronger writers in general! Writing is different when you know that there is a REAL audience - it just IS! I think that when students see that people are actually reading what they write and are commenting on it, they will be more engaged and inclined to raise the bar for their writing (that's my hope, anyway).

So, without further adieu, let the blogging begin!


If you've done this before, or are new - like me, please voice your comments, questions, concerns or potential blog post ideas below for us all to benefit from! We're here to help each other and to make the classes we teach as engaging for our students as possible. Let's harness our students' love and ever-growing aptitude for technology for our own gains - creating stronger, more purposeful writers!




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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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