Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Holidays and Some Free Resources too!

Happy Holidays to you!  I’m headed to Ireland for Christmas and New Years with my family to enjoy some vacation time and visit with my grandmother.  Happy Holidays - Enjoy over 60 free teacher resources!We’ve rented a beautiful cabin with every amenity, except internet, so I’m signing out for the holidays as of today.  I’ll return early in January with plenty of pictures!

While I’m gone, please feel free to peruse my FREE Resources Page, which I’ve just updated.  There are now over 60 resources available for you.  Consider them a Christmas present from me to you!

Happy Holidays!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TESOL Teaching Tip #42 - Conjugating Verbs is Important!

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 Tip #42 - Teach verb conjugations. Verb conjugations are very important in other languages, so students who are transfering from a conjugation heavy language to English need to know how English verbs conjugate as well. Stop by this blog post at Raki's Rad Resources to find strategies and download a freebie that will help you teach verb conjugations to your esl or ell students.

ELL Teaching Tip #42: Teach Verb Conjugations

My oldest son is going to school in French and Arabic, and he spends long hours memorizing verb conjugations.  (And I do mean long hours, in and out of class, in third grade!)  While this seems excessive to us (or at least to me), it is done because verb conjugations in both of these languages are complex and difficult and are required for students to be able to speak and write correctly in these languages.  In English, we tend to gloss over verb conjugations because there is so little to them.  However, our language learners often have a hard time with verbs for two reasons:

1.)  In their heads, they have 5 or 6 different words for a verb and so they expect there to be 5 or 6 different words in English to correspond to the words they have, even when there is just one.

2.)  Different languages conjugate verbs differently for male and female and place a male or female tag onto inanimate objects.  Many English Language Learners then expect this to carry over to English and can’t figure out why the eraser isn’t a “she” and why the verb for “falls” doesn’t change because of this fact.

Now, I don’t suggest spending hours memorizing English verb conjugations, but I do spend time conjugating English verbs so that they can see the similarities and the differences.  I also point out the similarities and differences that I know and encourage my studentsThis free verb conjugation sheet allows English Language Learners to compare verb conjugations from their home language to verb conjugations in English. to find as many similarities and differences as they can, so that they will cement in their minds.  My students show those differences by filling out on a sheet that shows 1.)  the connection between the past, present and future  tenses and 2.) allows them to compare the conjugations of these verbs in their home language and in English.  You can download this sheet free from Google Docs if you would like to use it with your class.
How do you work on verb conjugations with your English Language Learners?

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!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary


Please keep all of these families in your thoughts and prayers today.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Saturday, December 15, 2012

6 Online News Sites Created for Classroom Use

Today we have a special guest blogger joining us.  I’m proud to present Jillian Terry from Teaching Degree.  She has agreed to share some great websites with you.   signature



When I was a freshman in high school, I had a history teacher who made my class read the newspaper at the beginning of every lesson. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that exercise served a higher purpose than just keeping up with current events. It was really a lesson about democracy. My teacher also used it as a way to bring history alive by showing how current world issues often have roots going back hundreds of years.

Because of this, I believe that reading and encouraging an open discussion about world news is a great way to encourage awareness and foster enlightenment. However, since newspapers aren’t as popular as they were when I was in school, here’s a list of some of the best online, kid-friendly news sites on the web today. Use a mixture of local news sources and the following sites for full news coverage.

CNN Student News

If you have access to a digital projector in your classroom, you can watch the daily news segments created by CNN Student News. The videos usually run Some of the best online, kid-friendly news sites to use in the classroom.around ten minutes and contain stories from the U.S. and abroad. Teachers can download transcripts for each segment for reference, and a news quiz is provided to test student understanding. Students can also send their own video news reports and request school shout outs. If accepted, they will be aired on one of the student news segments!

PBS NewsHour Extra

The PBS NewsHour Extra website is packed with high-quality, teen-friendly news and student commentaries. I say “teen-friendly,” because the articles are written to be read by students in grades 7-12. Some of the best online, kid-friendly news sites to use in the classroom.This is another news site that provides teacher lesson plans to encourage full classroom participation. I especially like the Student Voices section which gives students the opportunity to voice their opinions on current events. Daily video clips are also available in the Teacher Center section. These can be used to supplement news stories or other classroom topics.

Nick News

Some of the best online, kid-friendly news sites to use in the classroom.Nick News is a weekly kids’ news show that has been produced for the Nickelodeon network since 1992. Today, the show has its own website where visitors can find news articles and videos from past shows. I’m a big fan of the documentary-like videos which cover how current world issues are affecting the lives of children and teens. For example, this video about local water supply tells the story of how kids in different parts of the world get water to their homes every day.

TIME for Kids

TIME for Kids is a weekly news magaSome of the best online, kid-friendly news sites to use in the classroom.zine published by Time, Inc. Although classrooms must subscribe to the magazine and wait for it to arrive via mail, its digital version is open to the public and can be accessed from any computer. Although the website doesn’t feature as many news stories as the magazine, there are additional features on the site that still make it worth a visit. For example, the Homework Helper section is a good resource for students who need help with English grammar and writing.

CBBC Newsround

Newsround is a weekday kids’ news show produced by the CBBC (the children’s version of the BBC). Even if you don’t live in Great Some of the best online, kid-friendly news sites to use in the classroom.Britain, you can still access the show’s content on its official website. There, you can read a variety of stories, watch video clips, take news quizzes, play games and more. The stories are all very short to accommodate the reading levels of very young students.

Teaching Kids News

This website was started by a Toronto-based freelance journalist and elementary school teacher. The freelance journalist was a parent to one of the elementary school teacher’s students. After asking the journalist to sSome of the best online, kid-friendly news sites to use in the classroom.peak to his class about the news, the teacher came up with a brilliant idea to start a website that produced kid-friendly news articles. has been operating now since 2009 and is updated on a daily basis. What makes this site difference from other kid-friendly news sources is that each article is accompanied by a lesson plan to aid reading comprehension, promote discussion, and teach grammar.



Jillian Terry is a freelance education writer and former teacher. As an advocate of homeschooling and online education, her writing often focuses on new methods of education and curriculum reform and has been published on various education websites, including Jillian welcomes your questions and comments below!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Africa Puzzles

Sorry for my recent absence from the blogosphere, I’ve been plagued by a terrible migraine and I’ve been steering clear of the computer. I have however, had my students on our computers and iPad recently as we’ve gotten a good start on our Africa unit. We’re using the folktales of Africa to learn about African culture, history, geography and economics. Unfortunately, our unit gets split up with Winter Break, but at least this will give me time to put the finishing touches on our Connected Glog Project and All About Africa PowerPoint, which I will share via my Teachers Pay Teachers store after Winter Break. But until then, here are some technology resources that my kids are enjoying, that you might also enjoy using with your munchkins:

Free iPad app - Puzzle of Africa to teach students the names, shapes and placement of the countries of Africa.1.)  Put Africa Back Together Puzzles – We have one puzzle on the computer and another on our iPad.  Both allow the kids to recognize the shapes of the countries, the names of the countries and the regions that the countries are coming from.






2.)  Find Africa Facts – Students can find facts about particular African countries on this kid-friendly website.  I pondered the idea of having each child choose and research a country of their choosing, but with our unit being split up by Winter Vacation, I’m not sure that we’ll get to this project.





3.)  Read African Folktales Online – There are many websites that provide quality African Folktaafricanfablesles.  Our favorites are called African Folktales and African Fables and Myths.



Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Getting Ready for 12-12-12

Holy Holiday Rush, Batman!  This last week has been so crazy for me that I have all but fallen off of the face of the blogging world. We have had report cards and parent conferences this week, as well as finishing up my Earth Science unit and beginning my new unit on the Folktales of Africa.  Then, we also have preparations for our holiday show – Light Up the World with Celebrations – songs, lines, decorations, programs, etc. 

To top it all off, one of my little sweeties is getting ready for a big move, leaving us to move with her family to Kenya, so we have been trying to get in time to make her last days special.  So, when she asked if we could do something special for 12-12-12, how could I say no?

So, here I was tonight, putting together a fun sheet of random facts that connect to 12.  There are an amazinWhat is your class doing for 12-12-12?  Here's a sheet with lots of 12 connections - to words, numbers, shapes, measurement, the human body and more - free from Raki's Rad Resources.g number of them.  Like, did you know that twelve comes from a Germanic word “twalif” meaning two more?  Or that you have exactly twelve finger bones (without your thumb)? Or that there have been 12 people to walk on the moon?  Okay, the moon thing might be a fluke, but there are some serious historical and mathematical connections to twelve.  Our entire system of measuring type is based on 12 – 12 months in a year, 2 sets of 12 make a day, 12 sets of 5 minutes make an hour, 12 sets of 5 seconds make a minute.  This list goes on.  Grab this free sheet from Google Docs to use with your class on 12-12-12.

Some other things we are going to do is:

- Sing the 12 Days of Christmas

- Fold paper cubes – each cube has 12 edges.

- Play with a deck of cards – each suit has 12 face cards.

- Count on by 12’s from random numbers

- Scout around  our room to find other groups of 12.

What do you have planned for 12-12-12?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Holiday Treat for Free

It’s December!  I can say Happy Holidays!  First, I have to say sorry to anyone who was here over the last 24 hours and was asked to enter a password.  My blog was hacked for a bit, but it has been all cleared up now!

Winter Holidays Tips and Free Teacher Resources E-Book from the Teacher Authors at Teachers Pay TeachersToday, I am excited to announce the arrival of the 2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies E-Books!  There are 4 of them, divided by grade level:



Grades 7 – 12

Grades 3 – 6 (Featuring me on page 38!)Winter Holidays Tips and Free Teacher Resources E-Book from the Teacher Authors at Teachers Pay Teachers

Grades 1 – 2

Grades Pk – K

Each book contains 30 – 50 pages of holiday tips and links to holiday freebies created by the teacher authors at Teachers Pay Teachers, and each and every book is completely free!!  Stop by and get yours today and don’t forget to send the links on to your teammates or other teachers who might benefit from a free holiday lesson or two (or almost 200) during this holiday season. 

Happy Holidays!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources