Saturday, September 29, 2012

Size Matters!

     There has been a lot of political debate lately about class size.  Many people want to convince the public that in doesn’t matter how many kids we put in a classroom, they will all learn.  In a recent discussion amongst teachers on Facebook, there were teachers who had class sizes of 32 Kindergarteners and 40 Fourth Graders.  When I hear this, I am always blown away!  I’ll be honest, I’m a lucky teacher.  I’ve never had a class bigger than 24, although when I left Georgia almost 2 years ago, they had raised the class size of 4th and 5th grade to 28, and that was a lot of bodies in the computer lab! 

     I’ve talked a lot about the new school I’ve been blessed to land in this year (The International School of Morocco), but one thing I haven’t mentioned is my extremely small class size.  I guess part of me feels guilty to have a class of 8 when I know there are teachers around with classes of 32 and 40.  Yes, you read that right, I have 8 students right now, 4 third graders and 4 fourth graders.  We are hoping for more students as the year moves on and more people learn about the school, but the school has a permanent classroom maximum of 18 per class (and 9 per grade level within a class, to keep a multi-age classroom proportionally balanced).  In the mean time, I have simply feeling blessed to have the experience to teach such a small class.  I’ve never taught such a small DSCF3156class, and I’m telling you there are so many benefits to a class this size.  So here is one teacher’s real life testimonial on why a small class is better for everyone involved.

     First of all, we spend less than 10 minutes a day on “management”.  In fact, I have no reward/discipline system besides taking time away from recess.  I have taught one quiet symbol, but I rarely need to use it, and simply use it to help students recognize transitions.  Now, I don’t have angels at all, but with only 8, there’s no time or place of students to not do what they are supposed to.  If someone is off task, it is instantly obvious, and very easy to get them back where they need to be.  There’s very little wait time, as I don’t have 12 other students to attend to, so this also eliminates that “down time” that often gives students an opportunity to act up. In addition, with only 8 of them, I speak to most of the parents daily or weekly and it’s not overwhelming at all.  This communication enhances behavior and spirals into one nice, calm, productive classroom.

    All of this calmness was actually discerning to me the first few weeks of school.  So was how quickly we got through activities.  After 7 years of teaching, I’m pretty good at judging how long an activity will take.  However, when there’s only 8 students, there’s less explaining, less transitions etc. and so we simply get through activities faster.  For my students, this of Keeping Kids Engaged is Easier with a Small Classcourse means that we cover more content than we would cover in a class of 20.  When I taught 3rd grade in the past, it generally took me about 2 months to cover the “beginning” parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, conjunction) well enough that they could all effectively diagram sentences.  I have covered this same amount of information in 3 weeks this year, and all of my students, including my ESL students, can effectively diagram sentences.

     This extra time allows me a chance to do activities I would never even have considered doing.  For example, this week, my class learned Geometry through Art.  We found information on four abstract artists and created paintings, including splatter paint!  We also have time Teaching Geometry Through Abastract Artduring class for all students to work with all other students, and because of this we’ve built a great little community in our class.

   I know some of you are right now going, well you just have 8 good kids, that’s all.  I do have good kids, but they aren’t without their challenges.  For 4 of my 8 students, this is their first year of English.  Some of my other students have specific learning challenges, and two of my students are way ahead of their grade level expectations and need a serious push.  It sounds challenging, but with such a small group, I really get a chance to sit and work in a small group or one on one setting with EACH child EVERY DAY, which is something I’ve never been able to do before.  Teaching has always been about prioritizing my time, giving the most to those who need the most and finding independent activities that stretch those who don’t need me as much.  This year, it’s all about focusing on each and every child. 

If I didn’t believe before that class size matters, this year has convinced me that in a smaller class, students succeed, teachers are less stressed, and parents receive more communication.

Dare I ask, how many kids are in your class this year?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Singing in Class

It’s time for the Wednesday Website suggestion!! For two years, I was the Technology Specialist at a school in Georgia. During that time, I amassed a large collection of websites that I use with my students. If you want to search through some of them, you can check out my IKeepBookmarks site. Or, you can check back here each week for the Wednesday Website suggestion.

I absolutely LOVE using music in my classroom.  There are so many ways to use music as a teaching tool, but sometimes it is hard to find the right song.  Recently, I have stumbled on a few sites that have great FREE music that you can use in your classroom, and I decided to pass those sites along to you in this week’s Wednesday Website suggestion.

Free Songs for Kids - Songs for the Classroom1.  Free Songs for Kids – This site has lots of classic songs, as well as finger plays and a few songs that are directed to specific science and social studies topics, like seasons, weather and US patriotic songs.

Kids Know It - Kids Songs for the Classroom2.  Kids Know It Songs – I’ve suggested this site before, but the songs section is great, with songs for a variety of science, social studies, language arts and math topics.

These two links allow you to play the music directly on your computer, so it’s super easy to click on a song and play it right there during your class.


Music Room - Kids Songs3.  Music Room – This site gives you the lyrics and a link or name of a song to suggest the rhythm, but does not have an audio track.  The songs, however are awesome, and on a ton of great topics, so I had to add this one in.

How do you use music in your classroom?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Sunday, September 23, 2012

And the winner is……..

K5 - Online program for Math and Literacy Skills  - Recommended by Raki's Rad ResourceThank you to all those who entered to win the K-5 Learning FREE 3-month subscription. excited. As a working mom, I know how hard it is to find enough time to build in that supplemental time, and K5 Learning has really given me some of that time for my sons. I’m excited to pass that on to one lucky winner…………………………………………………………Danielle!!  Luckily only one Danielle entered, so if it was you – be sure to check your E-mail.  Thanks again to all who entered!



K5 - Online program for Math and Literacy Skills  - Recommended by Raki's Rad ResourcesK5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Holy Math Standards, Batman!

Holy smokes, what a busy week!  In addition to regular teaching and family duties, my husband and I have been extra busy with two great events and one unexpected one.  First, we had Open House on Thursday.  Now that my husband has started teaching at the International School of Morocco with me – he is the Arabic teacher, we both needed to be in attendance, making for an extra long evening.  In addition to Open House, my Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resourceshusband began his Master’s classes on Thursday.  His program is an online program from the US, and so it is very, very important for him to have a good computer and quality internet access.  Of course, his computer chose Thursday to catch a virus!  Yikes!  Anyways, I’m telling you guys all this a way of saying, no, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the earth (or this blog), but I may be posting slightly less until his computer gets fixed, as it is more important for him to write his papers than for me to write my blog posts – Sad smile.  He’s finished for now, though, so let me tell you about my week!


This week was all about math in my classroom. My school uses standards from the UK and so I am still adjusting to the difference in expectations.  Some of the differences from the US standards that my fellow teachers and I have noticed are: 

- students are expected to have a good amount of automaticity in multiplication facts by the end of 2nd grade

- students are expected to do more mental math and less working out the problems with steps and computation

- students have more time spent discussing multiples, Use Addition to Make Subtracting Across Zeros Easy - Free Printablenumber patterns and number combinations.

Many of my students were not in UK programs last year, so they are having to do some “catching up” in these areas.  This week, we worked on making number pairs to 100, 10 (using decimals) and 1,000.  Then, we connected how we could use these number pairs to subtract across zeros without subtracting.  For example: 400 – 138 = ____ becomes 138 + _____ = 400, which is then broken down into counting up to the next ten and next hundred (138 + ____ = 140; 140 + ____= 200; 200 + ____ = 400).  To help reinforce this for my students, I made this simple sheet, which you can feel free to grab from Google Docs.


Grab all the pieces of this Problem Solving Place Bulletin Board FREE from Raki's Rad Resources' Teachers Pay Teachers Store.In preparation for Open House, my kids helped me finish our Problem Solving Place Bulletin Board.  I don’t do a lot of cute bulletin boards, but I like how this one turned out.  You can grab all the pieces free in the Problem Solving Place Bulletin Board Kit I recently uploaded to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  My students are making good progress on this first month’s problems.  (You can also grab those free at my TPT Store – both 3rd grade and 4th grade.  Now, I need to Use these Multiplication Tiling Puzzles to challenge early finishers.get month 2’s done before October first, lol!)  One of my students has already finished her entire journal, prompting me to print out my Multiplication Tiling Puzzle Packet for her – she’s one of those who always needs an additional plan to keep her busy, so I’m going to be pulling back into lots of things I have to keep her productive and happy!  These puzzles are also available at my TPT store.

One other math activity we started this week was our 1 minute quizzes.  Since my kids didn’t have exposure to the UK curriculum last year, they don’t all have that “automaticity” in their multiplication and division I use these suns to help motivate my students when they are taking 1 minute fact quizzes.  Grab them free from my Raki's Rad Resources Teachers Pay Teachers store.facts that is expected.  To help them with that, we started taking a 1 minute/20 question multiplication quiz each morning.  As students get 100 percent on their quiz, they get to color in a sun, add it to our door and move on to the next level.  Here’s a picture of our door right now (sorry about the glare!)  You can grab the suns from my Basic Fact Reward Kit for FREE at my TPT store, and you can grab the multiplication quizzes (as well as addition quizzes and subtraction quizzes) too. 


Holy math batman!  What is your class doing in math right now?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Monday, September 17, 2012

Explaining Plagiarism to Elementary Students

Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce you to this week’s guest blogger: Emilia of She’s going to explain the importance of teaching young students about plagiarism.  I know this is a topic I have discussed with students as young as 2nd grade, especially when beginning to look at research projects. If you like what she has to say, please take a minute to stop by her website and check out her blog and the services offered.signature_thumb1



Plagiarism has always been a serious problem in education. One may think that children in elementary school have not yet been infected by this debilitating disease that continuously plagues our society in this modern age of technology. Think again.

Perhaps the best way to avoid this is by teaching children as early as elementary aged students the meaning of plagiarism and how to avoid it when doing their homework.

Plagiarism is stealing

Plagiarism is using someone else’s work and passing it off as your own. In simple terms, it is theft in broad daylight. Teachers should explain that plagiarism is stealing; some young students may think that they are just “borrowing” someone’s words or ideas, and therefore it is not wrong. While others may think, everyone is doing it, it must be okay then. No it isn’t. Plagiarism is a serious offence, in some instances, punishable by law. Students who have become serial plagiarists continue to do their wrong-doing simply because they’ve done it so often, it actually feels normal for them to keep doing it and since they haven’t been caught, they somehow feel that they are invincible.

Why We Should Teach Young Students About PlagerismWhy students Plagiarize

When younger students plagiarize, often times it is unintentional and done out of ignorance. They forget to credit their sources, put quotes when needed, or paraphrase correctly. When they are young, these mistakes if not corrected early on may very well stay with them until they reach university, or worse, even into adulthood.

However for older students, it is just plain laziness, especially when they copy paste and directly lift a whole paragraph from the internet, some even forget to change the fonts! As for college or university students who buy essays online or hire someone else to do their school work for them, it’s done because of pure indolence.

End Result

Students should be aware of the serious consequences of plagiarism. However, each schools deal with plagiarism differently. For the younger ones, they can be expelled or given a failing grade with a letter for their parents. For older students though, it is much worse than that. If proven guilty they can lose the chance of earning their degree and graduating, all those years of studying and hard work can be gone in just a flash. For worse case scenarios, legal action can be taken against them.

Keeping your students off the road to plagiarism

1. Keep reminding them that plagiarism is stealing.

2. Explain to your students that even if they “forget” to name a source, even if it’s just an illustration or a drawing, they can still be accused of plagiarism. Keep nagging them to double check if they have absolutely named every single source they’ve used on their report or essays.

3. Use scare tactics: Do a research on people who have been caught plagiarizing other people’s work, especially those who have been slapped with a serious lawsuit, have lost their jobs or suffered extreme humiliation because of their plagiarized work. Search for them online, you’ll find many.

4. After giving your homework to your students, give a short recap on the following: how to use quotation marks when using paragraphs taken from a book, the importance of using citations, and lastly, making a list of every source they’ve used on their homework.

5. Making a check-list guide for your students will also help them avoid the mistake of plagiarism. Ask them questions likes: Did they keep track of where all the information came from in their homework? When they summarized or used ideas in their own words, did they mention where the original source is?

6. Teach them to use anti-plagiarism software found on line. There are many free plagiarism checkers like to check if their work is plagiarism-free.

7. And lastly, tell your students not to be afraid to approach you and to ask questions if they are still not sure of what they are doing.

While plagiarism is a serious topic, teachers should also be very careful not to put off their students from being creative and using different kinds of sources for their homework and as long as they correctly name their sources, they will never be accused of plagiarism.


1. Value Options,



- Emilia logo

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Win a 3 Month FREE Subscription to K5 Learning

Many of you know that in addition to being a teacher, I am also a mother to 3 young sons – ages 8, 5Providing Homeschool Activities in English While My Sons Learn French and Arabic at Home and 1. During the past school year, they started going to school in French & Arabic, and while we did some English “homework”, we really didn’t spend a lot of time working on enhancing our English skills. This summer, I decided we needed to spend some time focusing on some of those English skills, so I signed up for a free trial of K5 Learning, and fell in love. (See my full review HERE).

So, when K-5 Learning offered me a FREE 3-month subscription to give away, I was just over the moon K5 - Online program for Math and Literacy Skills  - Recommended by Raki's Rad Resourceexcited. As a working mom, I know how hard it is to find enough time to build in that supplemental time, and K5 Learning has really given me some of that time for my sons. I’d love to pass that on to you! Unfortunately, I only have 1 subscription to giveaway, so it’ll have to be in the form of a contest.

So, here are the ways to enter the contest.  As it’s the beginning of the school year, I’m all into simplicity, so I’ll keep it as easy as possible.

You have 4 ways to enter:

1.  Follow K5 Learning’s Blog

2. Follow my blog

3. Spread the Word about this contest (via your blog, FB, Twitter or other Social Media Outlet)

4.  Leave a Comment here telling Why you are interested in using K5 Learning with your children.

Fill out the form below once for each way you have entered, and in exactly one week, on Sunday, September 23rd, I will announce a winner, who will receive a 3 month FREE subscription to K5 Learning for a family of up to 2 children.

*Note, you don’t have to be an educator to benefit from this program, so if you know other moms who would be interested, but may not regularly follow a blog like mine, please let them know about the contest (and of course sign yourself up for an extra entry for spreading the word!)




K5 - Online program for Math and Literacy Skills  - Recommended by Raki's Rad ResourcesK5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekly Accomplishments

It’s Saturday!!!  No School!! My class does a “happy dance” when we do calendar and we say “Tomorrow is Saturday.” – because we know that on Saturday we get to sleep in!

Little does my class know, that even if I sleep in, I spend a good part of my Saturday preparing for the next week!  This week I preparing an “Important Differentiated Vocabulary Packet to Teach Body Parts to Your English Language LearnersVerbs” Vocabulary packet, since the Body Parts Vocabulary packet went so well this week.  I a.1m also trying to get all of the questions and answers to my first month’s Problem Solving Path posted on the blog I’ve created for that purpose, so that my students can begin checking their answers with the QR codes on the posters.

Well, Saturday is also a day to look back on what went well during the week.  Here’s our list of “accomplishments” for this week:

Shared Writing with a Real Life Publishing Purpose - Have Students Write an Article for the School or Class Newsletter1.) Our class created a shared writing piece for the school newsletter, “The Scoop” to tell the parents about how we created our Vokis last week.  (Please ignore my terrible handwriting!)

2.)  My guided reading groups each finished their first leveled readers and were excited to have accomplished something.

3.)  We went swimming in PE and I got to join my class!

4.)  We learned about the 4 different kinds of money we deal with: Moroccan Dirhams, American Dollars, Euros and English Pounds.  The kids had a blast playing with the fake money.Brainstorming Ideas for Narrative Writing Pieces

5.)  We moved on to our second Narrative Writing piece in our Writing Journals, and the kids had a much clearer understanding of what was needed in the brainstorming phase.


What happened in your classroom this week?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rocks & Fossils at the Smithsonian

It’s time for the Wednesday Website suggestion!! For two years, I was the Technology Specialist at a school in Georgia. During that time, I amassed a large collection of websites that I use with my students. If you want to search through some of them, you can check out my IKeepBookmarks site. Or, you can check back here each week for the Wednesday Website suggestion.

My students’ next unit of study is on Rocks, Fossils and Soils.  In my search for great activities and websites to use with them, I stumbled on this week’s Website of the Week – Smithsonian for Kids. 

I love, love, love the Smithsonian museums.  If you are lucky enough to live or travel close enough – they are totally worth the visit.  Of course, I don’t reside close enough (an entire ocean is in the way), but this website gives you access to lots of cool stuff provided by the Smithsonian Museums.  The website focuses on the topics that are covered in the museums: art, science, history, and cultures. 

There is tons to be found on this website, but here are the places of the site that I will be using:

Interactive Multimedia Presenation Teaches kids how rocks are formedThe Dynamic Earth – This interactive multimedia presentation talks to kids about how rocks are formed and changed, presenting amazing images along the way.


Fossil Game teaches kids about pre-historic climate changePre-Historic Climate Change – This kid-friendly game brings about an approach to climate change that allows kids to see how fossils give us information, while connecting climate change today with climate change long ago.


Virtual Scientist Visits - Videos of Scientists Talking About their Jobs in Kid-Friendly TermsScientist Features – These videos have scientists talking about their jobs in a kid-friendly manner.  The videos include videos and great explanations, and each one is only about 3 minutes long.  My kids will be watching the videos of the two paleontologists – labeled Dinosaur Hunter and Fossil Hunter.


How could you use this site in your classroom?


Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TESOL Teaching Tip#38 - Are There Gaps in Your Students’ Learning?

As a teacher at an International School, many of my students are English Language Learners. Even my native English speakers are living in a non-English speaking country. Due to my unique teaching position, I have had some readers ask for tips on teaching English Language Learners. Here is this week’s Tuesday TESOL Teaching Tip:

TESOL Teaching Tiip #38 - Expect gaps in your students' learning. ESL or ELL students often have gaps in their learning from focusing on figuring out the English rather than the content. This blog post at Raki's Rad Resources will give you some strategies to help fill in those gaps for your students.

ELL Teaching Tip #38: Expect Gaps

While I’m reading a story to my class, I am aware that half of my class is only understanding bits and pieces of the story.  My English Language Learners may understand the main idea of the story (especially if I have been modeling a think aloud with my read aloud), but they will miss at least some of the details, and much of the vocabulary.  This is not because they are not paying attention.  In fact, many of them pay closer attention than my native English speakers, listening like they are straining to hear me.  However, because they do not understand every word I speak when I speak slowly, understanding every word I speak when I am speaking quickly, reading a book to model fluent reading – they miss even more words.  This is also true when I am teaching lessons, or even showing educational videos.

Most students in our classes are learning English at the same time they are learning all of their other subjects.  They are doing twice the learning as the other students around them, and some of what they are supposed to be learning falls by the wayside.  This causes gaps in their learning, and can cause issues for students if they are not careful.  Many students develop coping mechanisms to help them fill in these gaps, but there are ways we can help to fill in and prevent gaps.  Here are some strategies to use with your students:

- Repeat read alouds.  Read the same book multiple times, each time looking for a different connection or purpose, but still reading the same book over and over, allowing students additional time to absorb the information.

- Make read alouds and other “shared information” available to students.  I have a “warm read” Use a bucket in my classroom.  After we read a book as a class, the book goes into the warm read bucket and stays there all year to be re-read during independent reading time.  This opportunity to re-read helps students build vocabulary and and understanding of the story. 

- Integrate, Integrate, Integrate – Not only is integration more time efficient, but it also allows students additional views of familiar information.  For example, if you are studying rocks in science, read a rock read aloud in literacy, then place that read aloud in the warm bucket and let kids re-read it.  Then, have students write about the rock book that they read, re-visiting the same concepts again, while covering another subject.

- Use graphic organizers and sentence frames to help students get the most important facts from lessons and educational videos.

Back to School Vocabulary Packet - Free
- Take time to direct teach vocabulary.  More English vocabulary means more understanding and less gaps forming.  For ideas on how to increase vocabulary – check out my vocabulary packets at TPT.

- Use at least one small group session a week as a “understanding check and review” time.  Pull your English Language Learners, or those with gaps, and check in that they have understood those key concepts you need them to understand.  You can also use this time to check and see if they have gaps in their background knowledge, before moving into a new topic.  If you know where their gaps are, and address the gaps, then the gaps will not cause as many learning issues for your students.

Even with all strategies in places, there will still be gaps, but if we as teachers work to fill and prevent gaps, our students will grow stronger each day, learning more and more English, preventing future gaps.

Everythings-Intermediate-Expo7222232[1]Do you enjoy the weekly TESOL Teaching Tips? Would you like to view an hour long presentation on this topic? I recently presented on Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners at the Everything’s Intermediate Expo. Now you can grab the presentation for just $3.95 from Teacher’s Notebook.

Find more TESOL Teaching Tips here, and come back every Tuesday for a new tip!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What a Week!

Just finished my first full week, and wow was it busy! Good, productive, but busy and tiring too!

Here are some of my accomplishments:

1.  All of my running records and initial math assessments are complete!

2.  We reviewed how to work on Problem Solving Path, and the kids began working in their journals.  They will be using their journals when I am working with a small group – my version of Math Centers.  Because I am teaching in a multi-grade classroom, we have two different sets of Problem Solving Path - Use Real Life Problems to Learn Mathproblems.  Grade3/Year4 and Grade 4/Year 5 – (We are working off of UK standards, and they begin counting grades at Kindergarten.)  Feel free to Problem Solving Path - Use Real Life Problems to Learn Mathgrab the posters free at my Problem Solving Path site, and grab the first month’s questions for Grade 3 and Grade 4, all of which are aligned to US Common Core and UK National Curriculum from my TPT store.  If I get a chance to breathe soon, I’ll get the rest of the year done and uploaded.

3.  We learned the words and movements to “Hello Neighbor” and performed in front of the parents at our first bi-weekly Morning Meeting.  If you’ve never heard of this song, it’s so cute!  It’s by Dr. Jean and my kids have had such a blast “giving a bump” every day – click HERE for the lyrics.

4. Reading Response Journal - 36 opportunities to respond to what you are reading We started working on our reading strategies and began using our Reading Response Journals to record our responses.  I love seeing my kids think about what they are reading.  Granted, some of the responses this week were half French/ half English or half Spanish/ half English – but still I know they are thinking about what they are reading. (You can grab the Reading Response Journal from TPT, a prompt for each week for $10.)

5.  We completed our first Vocabulary Packet – Back to School.  It went very well, giving my brand new English Language Learners (I have 3 vocabpacket-bts3who have almost no English.) to build some base in those basic school supplies and giving my higher level students some new vocabulary as well.  Grab this Back to School Vocabulary Packet for free from my TPT store.  Next week, we’re going to work on building our Body Parts Vocabulary


6.  We finished our Voki introductions.  My students used Voki to record introductions of themselves.  Next week, we’re going to share the introductions next week.  Here is the example Voki I recorded for my kids. 


What a busy week!  What was your week like?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Monday, September 3, 2012

School Just Started–And I’m Already Behind

Today was the 3rd day of school and already I am behind!  Seriously, I haven’t blogged in a week, I am behind in my math lessons already – blahhhh!   Okay, vent over, I will catch up, I know it, I’ve been teaching for 8 years now and I know this too shall pass, but the beginning of the year can be so stressful!

Now, for the good stuff – since I have gotten so far behind, I have for you in this post: 2 free resources, a website suggestion, an IPad app suggestion and classroom pictures!  Here’s what I’ve been up to in my first 3 days of school:

The first two days, I introduced my kids to my classroom.  We reviewed procedures, procedures, procedures, of course, but we also started mangage technology in the elmentary school classroomcalendar, and got all signed up for our Edmodo accounts.  (Here’s that website suggestion I promised you.) Edmodo is a website that helps you monitor all of the technology and communication with your students.  I am using it to allow my students to complete their homework assignments online.  This website is amazing, and I promise to post later in the year (when things calm down) on how to use this to manage technology, assignments, homework etc. for your class.

Here are some pictures of my classroom this year:

Classroom Pictures - Casablanca, Morocco   Classroom Pictures - Casablanca, Morocco

Our tables – work and guided reading


Classroom Pictures - Casablanca, Morocco   Classroom Pictures - Casablanca, Morocco

Bookshelves and Organization


 Classroom Pictures - Casablanca, Morocco

Ticket Out of the Door – Update your Facebook Status, someday I’ll get pictures added!  (Note to self – learn to print pictures from the IPad.)


 Classroom Pictures - Casablanca, Morocco

Our Problem Solving Path – Should have my packets ready by this weekend if you are interested in downloading these.



Classroom Pictures - Casablanca, Morocco   

Getting to Know You Activities – Grab the “My Numbers” page free from Google Docs.  It was nice to see students connect numbers to themselves!

For more pictures of my school – check out the Global School Tour at Global Teacher Connect.

teacherkitOne of the procedures we learned about was taking attendance.  We are using this super cool app called TeacherKit, which allowed me to upload pictures of my kids.  The kids come in, tap their face, and they are marked present.  Anyone not present gets two taps before I close attendance for the day.  Once a month, I e-mail my attendance to the office – it’s amazing!  There is also a section that allows you to make behavior notes (hello anecdotal notes!) or e-mail parents directly from the app – super sweet!  The best part – it’s FREE!

vocabpacket-btscoverToday, we began our Vocabulary Packets.  I am super lucky to only have 7 students right now (3 fourth graders and 4 third graders), but within those 7 students, I have at least one student who falls in all 4 of my Vocabulary levels.  This week, we began working on our Back to School Vocabulary.  You can grab this differentiated packet for free at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Okay, my friends, that is all I have been up to in these first 3 days of school.  How are you spending the beginning of your school year?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources