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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