Globicate

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Explore Greece

Hi there, I’m Heidi Raki of Raki’s Rad Resources. Heidi Befort has graciously invited me to do a series of posts for you on using research books to explore different countries. Last week, I wrote for you about England. This week, we are exploring Greece. With the Olympics happening this year, many people will be teaching about the Olympics, and since they started in Ancient Greece – why not take a stop there.

Greece Research Book - Free

Here’s a little information about Greece:

- Greece is located on a peninsula in Western Europe. It shares a border with Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia.

- Greece is the original home of the Olympic Games, which began in 776BC.

- Greek is the language now spoken by the majority of Greece’s citizens.

- Greek Orthodox Christianity is the main religion of Greece.

- The capitol city of Greece is Athens.

- Greece is considered the birthplace of Democracy.

Greece Research Book - FreeIf you would like to teach your kids about Greece you can use this Free Research Book that you can download from Google Docs to help them explore some key facts about Greece.

I’ll be back next week as part of this ‘Learning About Countries Through Research Books series” with information about the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the mean time, please feel free to stop by my blog, Raki’s Rad Resources, for more quality teaching tips and resources.

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



Saturday, July 28, 2012

Who Doesn't Love a Sale?



The Lesson Cloud is one of the collaborative blogs that I write for and they are having a big "Back-To-School" Dollar sale on July 29 & 30.  There are over 300 products priced either at $1.00 or $2.00 in grades K-12 on sale through multiple authors.  In addition, you have the chance to win a $75.00 gift card to Really Good Stuff.  So, hurry on over to the site by clicking on the picture because it's only for 2 days.  Hope you have fun stocking up!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Intentional Writing - The Chair!



The rocking chair, a coveted and sacred place in my classroom.  Do you have one in your room?  It may not be a rocking chair, but a comfy big chair, a pillow, a stool, or even your teacher chair.  What's significant about this spot is that it means a student-author gets to share part or all of a writing piece.  The portion to be shared should be agreed upon during your conference with the student and before the student shares. In younger grades the whole piece may be shared, but for older students you may want to share only a portion that you've identified, maybe even one that has a specific lesson or targeted skill.

Once the student-author has read their writing piece to the class, he/she should call on classmates for positive comments and suggestions for improvements.  This whole process should be modeled by you before any student shares, and should be closely monitored during the process to make sure they are following the guidelines. I use the framework of the Six Traits of Writing for positive comments and suggestions for improvement.  The student-author calls alternately on both boys and girls, will take 3 positive and 3 suggestions during their sharing.  A positive comment might look something like this:

"I like how you had a beginning, middle, and ending in your piece!"

A suggestion for improvement might look like this:

"Maybe next time you could have an ending that wraps up your story?"

Students initially have a hard time making suggestions that follow the guidelines, but with modeling and practice they will be proficient in no time.  The final writing piece is now ready to go into their portfolio.  The portfolio is shared during conference times with family. 

The Author's Chair is an effective avenue for students to share their work and to know it has value.  The other added benefit is for the rest of the class who get to share in hearing what others are writing, practicing active listening, sharing comments and questions that are appropriate, not hurtful, and to gather ideas for other writing pieces and skills.  You get the opportunity to possibly teach on the spot lessons and skills, and then evaluate student writing skills.

So, taking 10-15 minutes a couple of times each week or a larger chunk of time once a week will enable you and your students to share positive outcomes, some laughs, maybe some tears, and many impromptu mini-lessons that will shape your writer's workshop forever! Oh, don't forget the chair!






Monday, July 23, 2012

Exploring England

Hi there, I’m Heidi Raki of Raki’s Rad Resources. Heidi Befort has graciously invited me to do a series of posts for you on using research books to explore different countries. Last week, I wrote for you about Spain. This week, we are exploring England. With the Olympics happening in London this year, many people will be gearing up to learn a little more about this country.

England Research for Kids

Here’s a little information about England:

- England is located in South Western Europe. It shares a border with France and Portugal.

- England shares an island with Scotland and Wales

- English is the language now spoken by the majority of England’s citizens.

- Various forms of Christianity are practiced as the main religion of England.

- The capitol city of England is London.

- Although England has a Parliamentary system of government, including a Prime Minister, England also has a Queen, Prince and Princess.England Research for Kids - free book

If you would like to teach your kids about England you can use this Free Research Book that you can download from Google Docs to help them explore some key facts about England.

I’ll be back next week as part of this ‘Learning About Countries Through Research Books series” with information about Greece. In the mean time, please feel free to stop by my blog, Raki’s Rad Resources, for more quality teaching tips and resources.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back-to-School Sale!

Sale, TeachersPayTeachers, TpT, Back to School, Common Core Standards, Teaching Resources

Globicate is having a sale starting today! Check out my TpT store for 20% off all of your favorite resources.  I'll be posting 2 new units for CCSS Organization and Tracking Planner Grades 4th and 5th, Grade 3 is already posted!  I hope you find something for Back-to-School. 

Here is the link:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Heidi-Befort-globicate

Let me know if there is something you'd like to see!  Heidi



Friday, July 13, 2012

Global Literacy Reading Today Online

Reading, International Reading Association, Reading Today Online, Global Literacy, Globicate, Heidi Befort


Much to my surprise and unbeknownst to me, Globicate was featured as part of a series of articles about using technology in literacy education by Michael Putman on the International Reading Associations - Reading Today Online.  Mr. Putman was very complimentary about my blog and my goals for it. I appreciated that he recognizes the importance of literacy and global learning, and was able to identify these concepts within the posts and pages. 

If you've not been to IRA's website lately, you might check it out.  Articles featured along with Globicate focus on book reviews for both children and adults, grants, legislation, and current literacy topics including a focus on the Common Core Standards.  The International Reading Association is a, "nonprofit, global network of individuals and institutions committed to worldwide literacy. More than 70,000 members strong, the Association supports literacy professionals through a wide range of resources, advocacy efforts, volunteerism, and professional development activities. Our members promote high levels of literacy for all by:
Improving the quality of reading instruction
Disseminating research and information about reading
Encouraging the lifetime reading habit"
 
It is with pleasure that I share this with you and hope that you have a good book, eReader, or computer in front of you to read! Make literacy a right and a habit around the world!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Exploring Spain

Hi there, I’m Heidi Raki of Raki’s Rad Resources. Heidi Befort has graciously invited me to do a series of posts for you on using research books to explore different countries. Last week, I wrote for you about Egypt. This week, we are exploring Spain. Spain is the closest European country to me, and so we went up and explored Seville earlier this year – what a beautiful country.  There is a lot of history to teach about in Spain and tons of beautiful culture.  In addition, for many English Language Learners in the United States, it is the home country of their home language – although many are unaware of this.  I once had a student from Mexico, who was amazed that the explorers from Spain spoke Spanish BEFORE they arrived in Mexico!

Plaza del Espana - Sevilla, Spain

Here’s a little information about Spain:

- Spain is located in South Western Europe.  It shares a border with France and Portugal.

- Spain is a part of the Iberian Peninsula.

- Castillian Spanish is the language now spoken by the majority of Spanish citizens, but there are also 3 other types of Spanish spoken in Spain: Basque, Catalan and Galician.

- Roman Catholicism is the main religion of Spain.

- The capitol city of Spain is Madrid.

- Many famous people come from Spain, including: Juan Ponce de Leon, Pablo Picasso, Placido Domingo, Bartolome de Las Cas, and Miguel Servet.

Spain Research Book for Kids - FREEIf you would like to teach your kids about Spain you can use this Free Research Book that you can download from Google Docs to help them explore some key facts about Spain.

I’ll be back next week as part of this ‘Learning About Countries Through Research Books series” with information about England. In the mean time, please feel free to stop by my blog, Raki’s Rad Resources, for more quality teaching tips and resources.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Intentional Writing - Editing; Flabbergasted and Frustrated


writing, writer's workshop, editing, revision, Globicate, Heidi Befort


Trying to convince most students the value in editing, conferencing, and revision sometimes leaves me flabbergasted, and my students frustrated.  It is a slow and meticulous process that should be established when students are young, but I know that the primary teachers I work with are most times pleased to just get students to write at all, so revision gets put on the wayside. Revising for young students is sometimes viewed as a bad thing because they are going back and redoing something. So with this in mind, sometimes letting a writing piece just sit for a day or two will help your students identify and be more willing to revise them.

In my classroom, I love to model and participate in the whole process with my students at the beginning of the year.  We start with our journals or binders, and depending on our topic we approach it through literature, brainstorming, researching, or sketching.  I encourage my students to write on every other line so that when they go to conference with either a partner, or myself there’s plenty of room to write comments.  My student’s write their first draft, and then highlight items that need to be revised such as incorrect spelling, punctuation, sentences, and capitals after reading the piece out loud in a “whisper phone” (a “U” shaped device to listen to oneself made by using pvc pipe from the local hardware store). I also encourage my students to look at who’s speaking and their tenses.  Once they’ve identified areas for correction, they go back and revise. 

The second part of this process entails finding 2 partners to read through their pieces. Each partner needs to use a different color pen and indicate their name at the top of the writing piece to ensure that they’ve conference with someone else. Being a peer conference partner is a serious task, and students are required to participate using valid remarks not just, “I liked your story”.  When their partner has completed this, they will write at least one positive comment and a suggestion for improvement using the 6 Traits of Writing at the end. 

Peer conferencing is a wonderful way for students to see and hear what others are writing about and to gain insight into different writing styles and techniques. It allows them to practice their own editing skills, and helps them to identify learned grammar from lessons during the year.

Check out my free Writer’s Workshop S.H.A.P.E Up! and Writer's Workshop Revising Form to guide your students through the process and help keep them organized.  Check out these sites below for that technology piece that may just pull one or two of your reluctant writer’s into the fold.


Education World's - Everyday Edits
Education World's - Animal A to Z (for primary students)
ESL Writing
Top 9 Writing Apps from Reading Rockets





Friday, July 6, 2012

Rethinking Homework



Every summer when I have a few minutes to sit down and think about my year, I always ask myself what worked and what can I do better.  I find that every year I'm being asked to do more with less time, so I'm constantly looking for ways to get the most bang for my buck.

One area that is a topic of conversation every year with students, parents, teachers, and administrators is homework.  I had a parent last year tell me that she heard I was a "hard teacher".  When I asked her why, she said that I expected too much from my students and gave too much homework.  I chuckled out loud about this because my teaching partner and I plan everything together, even homework, and give exactly the same amount.  I guess it's all perception, but really?

So, I've been rethinking homework and my expectations for my students outside of the classroom.  One thing I do know, is I'm still going to give it because I believe it creates life-long learning skills such as responsibility, time management, and critical thinking.  I do agree that the homework needs to be applicable and connected to what we are learning in the classroom, in addition to quality.  I also believe that students should be given a choice on how they show their learning because we all learn differently, and they should be able to choose when they complete it.  Children and families are pulled in many directions these days, and I personally don't want to add to the chaos that might ensue with an over-abundance of homework.

My solution to my on-going dilemma is a homework grid which addresses learning each week, but offers choice, challenge, and critical thinking.  I'm also doing away with my reading log.  I'm a little nervous about this, but I will still let my students know that I expect them to read every night.  As a teacher, I always know when students aren't reading, so I will address these issues individually as they become evident.

Homework, expectations, Globicate, Heidi Befort, education resources


Here is a picture of my Homework Grid.  I would love to know what you think and if you plan on using it.  Let me know if I can add or change any part of it because like my students I'm still learning and changing each day.  I still learn something new, and I hope that I will always be able to reflect and rethink about my teaching to become better at it.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Explore Egypt

Hi there, I’m Heidi Raki of Raki’s Rad Resources. Heidi Befort has graciously invited me to do a series of posts for you on using research books to explore different countries. Last week, I wrote for you about Morocco, where I currently live.  This week, we are exploring Egypt.  Many classes study Ancient Egypt and we often leave our kids thinking that people in Egypt still write with heiroglyphs.  This year, when my class studied Egypt, we were sure to study Ancient Egypt and present day Egypt, and did a lot of comparing and contrasting the two. 

Ancient Egypt vs. Present Day Egypt - Free Research Book for Elementary School Kids

Here’s a little information about present day Egypt:

- Egypt is located in North East Africa, and it’s land mass is about double what it was during ancient times.

- Egypt is home to the longest river in the world, the Nile River.

- Arabic is the language now spoken by the majority of Moroccan citizens.

- Islam is the main religion of Morocco.

- The capitol city of Egypt is Cairo.

- Many of the large animals (hippos, elephants etc.) that were prevalent during ancient Egyptian times no longer live in Egypt.  Most animals in Egypt today are small animals, with the major exception being domesticated work animals, such as mules, Ancient Egypt vs. Present Day Egypt - Free Research Book for Elementary School Kidsdonkeys and camels.

 

If you would like to teach your kids about Egypt, you can use this Free Research Book that you can download from Google Docs to help them explore some key facts about Egypt.

I’ll be back next week as part of this ‘Learning About Countries Through Research Books series” with information about Spain. In the mean time, please feel free to stop by my blog, Raki’s Rad Resources, for more quality teaching tips and resources.

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



I've Got Your Back!

teaching, education, celebrate, fourth of july, Globicate, Heidi Befort


As a teacher there are many times of the year that I love, the summer is one of them because my job affords me the time to travel and see things I don't get to when I'm putting in 60 hour weeks.  I don't mind though, as I stated frequently this last week to anyone who would listen...I love my job!  I look forward to going to it each morning, I love being there, and to be honest, I have a hard time leaving it some afternoons.

I found it interesting this last week as I was visiting my daughter how prevalent the anti-teacher/anti-education sentiment is.  Here I am, I'm sitting on a boat tour and the guide asks if there are any teachers on board.  I raise my hand as my comrades around me either smile or scrutinize me, and my newest friend, the tour guide,  proceeds to go on about how teachers and education are being blamed for what's wrong in the world today, especially in America. He said he doesn't get it because his wife is a teacher and works hard.  I agree, what's up with our country?

I pondered this statement, and chatted with the guide for a few minutes after the tour, and came to a decision after he said to me, "I've got your back!" Well, I think as teachers, we need to watch each others back.  Think about it; firefighters, policemen, lawyers, doctors, and many other professions around support each other and watch each others backs.  Teachers need to collectively stand up and support each other!  We need to shout from the top of our lungs...WE.ARE.TEACHERS!  We love children, we love education, we love watching our student's faces light up when they understand something or learn something new!  We are what is good in America...we are not corporations trying to make money and prosper.  We are not in it for the money...we love our jobs!

So, tomorrow, on the Fourth of July, be proud to be an American, but be proud to be a teacher also.  Remember why you chose our profession and celebrate it!


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