Saturday, November 28, 2015

It’s Time for the Cyber Monday Sale

I have to be honest for a moment. I am not a fan of Black Friday. I don’t like the crowds. I don’t like the chaos. I don’t like being manipulated into giving up time with my family to save a couple of dollars. It’s just not worth it to me.

But Cyber Monday, Cyber Monday I love. I can stay home, put on a movie for my boys, and get the majority of my holiday shopping done while still getting great deals. Plus, all of the stuff gets shipped to me, so I have a bit of a delay between the time I shop and the time I have to try and find hiding spots for gifts.

At the same time I am using Cyber Monday to get the holiday shopping taken care, I always stop by Teachers Pay Teachers and stock up on stuff I’ll need to teach come January. This gives me the piece of mind to not stress about what I need to buy or make in order to teach well, and gives me additional time to get in that holiday baking and movie watching that the boys and I like so much during the holiday season.

If you’re like me, and you enjoy Cyber Monday, you’ll be excited to hear that my Teachers Pay Teachers store will be on sale 20% off on Monday and Tuesday (Nov 30th and Dec 1st of 2015), so that you get a double discount. Here are a few of the deals you can find:

 Teachers Pay Teacher’s Site Wide Sale - All About Me ESL Vocabulary Unit


Teachers Pay Teacher’s Site Wide Sale - Differentiated Calendar Books

Teachers Pay Teacher’s Site Wide Sale - Word Wall Card Year Long Set

Teachers Pay Teacher’s Site Wide Sale - Year Long Differentiated Spelling and Vocabulary Packets

Teachers Pay Teacher’s Site Wide Sale - Year Long Writing Journal Bundle

What’s in your shopping cart this Cyber Monday?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Do You Use Khan Academy for ELL Students?

Khan Academy has been an inspiration for me in so many ways. Their videos gave me a jumping off point when I began using the flipped classroom approach. (Read more about that in this old blog post – Have you flipped your classroom?) Watching their videos encouraged me to make some of my own, which you can now find on my YouTube Channel. But more recently, these videos have given me a chance to immerse my children in French and Arabic.

If you aren’t aware, I am currently a homeschooling mom. (You can learn more about our homeschooling adventure at my RV blog – RVing with the Rakis.) I left the classroom after 9 years in the classroom to stay home and homeschool my children when we left Morocco. I did this mainly so that my sons could continue to learn French and Arabic as they had been in Morocco. So we do reading, writing, grammar and math in French and Arabic every single week. What they have been lacking is immersion. They aren’t in a classroom with a bunch of other kids listening to the teacher speak in their target language all day. So recently we started looking around for videos to use as immersion. One place we especially struggle is Math vocabulary. My kids know how to do all of the work because we have covered the skills in English. However, reading the directions and word problems is much more challenging because Math can have such specific vocabulary. So off to the internet I went to find French and Arabic Math videos. Lo and behold I learned that Khan Academy has their videos translated into many, many different languages including French, Arabic, Spanish and Russian. You can use this link to find links all of the languages offered by Khan Academy

Using Khan Academy to Help Your ELL Students to better understand Math

Now I know that my situation is unique, but these links could easily be used to help our English Language Learning students with their Math and Science. Here are a few ways:

1.) ELL Center or ELL Homework - Give these videos to your students so that they can learn the material in their home language, while learning the vocabulary with you in class. This way they get the best of both worlds and can improve much faster.

2.) Share with your students’ parents. Khan Academy videos show the “American” way of doing Math, no matter what language they are in. So for example my sons learned a different way of subtracting and dividing when they were in Morocco. (I explain these differences in this old blog post – How do you divide?) So they were surprised when they started watching videos in Arabic showing strategies that they are used to seeing in their English materials. This could provide a great way for you to connect with the parents of your ELL students, as it could show them how you are teaching in a format that they can easily understand.

3.) Give your non-ELL students an “immersion” experience. Native English speakers can be rather rough on their ELL counterparts because they don’t understand how difficult it is to learn a new language. Help students understand by playing one of those videos in Russian or Arabic or Spanish to the whole class. Take time to talk about the things students did and didn’t understand and how they felt while watching the video.

For more blog posts about teaching ESL or ELL students, check out a series I used to run called Tips for Teaching ELL Students.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Monday, November 16, 2015

New Release – Fable Packet Bundle

A few years ago, I created a reading response packet for the fable The Tortoise and the Hare. I created the packet for a specific group of English language learners that I was teaching in a summer school program. Other than listing this packet on Teachers Pay Teachers to share with other teachers, I hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought. Then two things serendipitously happened. Event one was starting the symbols unit of a year long country study with my kids. During this unit, we look at folktales, religions, arts, music and other things that can become a “symbol” of a country. This unit always means we read a bunch of folktales, nursery rhymes, fables, etc. The second event was a comment left by a customer asking me if I had similar packets for other fables. Since I was already in folktale/fable mode, this seemed like a good time to go ahead and make up some similar packets. So this week during my spare time, a.k.a after the kids went to bed, I put together reading response packets for five other Aesop’s fables. Each one includes re-telling activities, reading strategy activities, vocabulary activities and writing activities. I showed them to my son and the 3rd grader was excited to have something new to add to our folkales unit.

The new packets are all together in this bundle:

Reading Response Packets - Aesop Fables

Or you can buy each packet individually:

the ant and the grasshopper reader's response packet

the crow and the pitcher reader's response packet

the fox and the crow reader's response packet

the dog and the wolf reader's response packet

the lion and the mouse reader's response packet

Folktales, fables, songs and stories, great ways to teach about cultures. I hope these packets help you use these in your classroom.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Saturday, November 14, 2015

10 Projects to Make with Power Point that Aren’t Presentations

Power is of the most common technologies used in today’s classrooms. Unfortunately too often the Power Point is a presentation created by a teacher and presented to students in a way that the students passively receive information instead of interacting with it. A better way to use this technology is to flip it around. Let students use the technology to interact with the information. Have students do research and use the research to make a presentation. Or even better, let students use Power Point (or Prezi or Google Slides) to make something more than a presentation. This post will give you ten ways that you can use Power Point to create more than a presentation. Use them as a teacher to create something more interactive for your students and it will be helpful to their understanding. Give these ideas to your students and let them create projects of their own and they will build a far deeper understanding than they ever could listening to a lecture.Power Point Makes More than Just Presentations

Before we discuss the possible projects, let’s talk about the most useful, and most overlooked feature of Power Point. This is the ability to create hyperlinks. Within Power Point and Google Slides, you can create hyperlinks not only to outside websites, but also to slides within the presentation. These links can take students from slide one to slide ten and back, effectively building a website that is hosted only on your computer. Understanding this skill is a key point in making each of the following projects. 

10 Projects to Make with Power Point that Aren’t Presentations

1.) Create a game – With enough slides, you could technically create a full video game with Power Point. My students create vocabulary games with Power Point, but any type of game can be made. Students can include text, photographs, video, etc. They can hyperlink a path for their players that guides them through whatever topic they are exploring. The hyperlinks can go simply to a “Yes” or “No” answer slide or a “home” slide, or the links can guide students through a variety of levels. The games are limited truly only by a student’s imagination.  

2.) Create a video – Using transitions and animations within Power Point, students can create a very engaging presentation. Then, using screencast software, students can create a video of themselves talking people through the presentation, resulting in a .mp4 video file. Here is a video my son made using Power Point for his Country Study Project on China:


3.) Create an online poster – Online posters are images with links to additional information. I recently wrote an entire blog post on 4 Ways to Create Online Posters, and one of the easiest ways is through Power Point. Both Power Point and Google Slides allow you to save your completed project as a .pdf file. This means that you have a beautiful poster, which can include clip art, shapes, word art, and text that also has links to where people can find further information.

4.) Create an E-Quiz – Jeopardy games have been around for awhile and there are a wide range of easy to use, free to download templates to create these e-quiz games. Students can also easily create their own multiple choice questions and hyperlink each option to a correct or incorrect slide. An example of this is my Long Division Jeopardy Game.

jeopardy game  - built with power point, ideas from Raki's Rad Resources

5.) Create interactive equations – When we begin talking about variables with students, we use symbols such as stars and hearts to stand for the missing numbers. In Power Point, you can layer a shape or a clip art image on top of a textbox. Then, you add an animation to the shape or image so that when activated, the shape or image will disappear. This way the person “playing” with the interactive equations can attempt the equation on their own and then check their work by activating the slide. Here is an example of a compiled Power Point that my students made when I was teaching in a technology lab. This is one of the projects from my Math Technology Integration Matrix.

 interactive equations -  - built with power point, ideas from Raki's Rad Resources 

6.) Create a virtual field trip – Pictures, videos, maps, hyperlinks and text can be put together to build a “field trip” to any dplace on earth or in history. These virtual field trips can be recorded as a video or they can be more of an interactive web where the person “visiting” the field trip can choose to click on different elements and explore their own interests. My History Time Machines are a small example of virtual field trips. I also had my students create virtual field trips for during our Deserts of the World Unit. 

7.) Create interactive flash cards – By using a large rectangular shape, students can cover half of their slide and create a set of “flash cards” where each slide is a separate flash card. These could be vocabulary flash cards, math flash cards, flash cards about important historical events or really anything students would make regular flash cards for. When activated, students can “turn over” their flash card by having the rectangle disappear. Here is an example of using Power Point to practice multiplication facts:

 interactive flash cards - built with power point, ideas from Raki's Rad Resources

8.) Create interactive diagrams – Diagrams and pictures are a bit easier to make in Power Point because images and shapes can be so easily manipulated. But even more than that, students can link each image or shape to outside websites or other slides with additional information. For example, my son created this food web about the plants and animals in Germany for his Country Study Project. When you click on any of the items on the food web, it takes you to a slide with lots of information about that plant or animal.

 Interactive diagram - built with power point, ideas from Raki's Rad Resources.

 9.) Create step by step directions – Using photographs, shapes and arrows, students could create a step by step tutorial to how to do just about anything. In fact, using screenshots (press print screen to copy, use CTRL+V to paste), students could create a “how to” for other students on how to create something in Power Point. These how to or step by steps could then be saved as a .pdf or even as a set of images. Print them out and you have your computer center directions ready too!

10.) Create a digital storybook – Digital storytelling is a great motivation for creative writing. With Power Point, even non readers could create a digital story, by putting together photographs, shapes, or images. They could even draw pictures in Paint or KidPix and insert the pictures into Power Point. Once the story is complete, the students can dictate the words while recording a video or add in typed up words and save as a .pdf.


Power Point is a great tool. Google Slides does most of the same if you don’t have Power Point on your computers. But the key to all of these projects is to let the students build interactive projects with knowledge they have learned in class or through individual research.

 Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Friday, November 6, 2015

Doubly Thankful – Birthday & 3,000 Follower Giveaway

Feeling blessed cannot even begin to explain how thankful I am this week. First I was chosen for a resource in last week’s Teachers Pay Teachers Newsletter. Then I was reading my time hop and read a post from 5 years ago about being excited to have 7 followers in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. So imagine how excited I am now to have almost 3,000! I’m only 4 followers away and ready to give away those 3 products for free. Also, Monday is my birthday. I’ll be 33 and it’s the first birthday in awhile that I’ve actually been excited about! When I feel this happy, I just have to share my happiness with other people!

Double Giveaway!!! 3,000 Followers and my birthday giveaway - stop by Raki's Rad Resources to find out about 4 awesome options!!

If you’ve been a follower for awhile, you know that I always do a big “pick your own present” giveaway on my birthday. This year I have decided to combine the 3,000 Follower Giveaway and the Birthday Giveaway together. So here’s what I’m doing:

1.) The following 3 resources will be changed to FREE from the moment I hit 3,000 followers until November 11th, double the time promised since I’m doubly excited!

Double Giveaway!!! 3,000 Followers and my birthday giveaway - stop by Raki's Rad Resources to find out about 4 awesome options, including this free Read Aloud Journal

Double Giveaway!!! 3,000 Followers and my birthday giveaway - stop by Raki's Rad Resources to find out about 4 awesome options, including this free be an architect math project

Double Giveaway!!! 3,000 Followers and my birthday giveaway - stop by Raki's Rad Resources to find out about 4 awesome option incuding this free prefixes spelling pattern.

2.) My entire store will be set to 20% off from the moment I hit 3,000 followers through November 11th, also double the time promised!

3.) We will begin my birthday celebration a little bit early. For my birthday, I always give everyone who leaves me a comment (here on this blog post) one resource as a gift. Nothing that comes in a .zip folder and no bundles, because it clogs up my email. However any of the other resources are fair game and with 628 listed resources in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, there’s sure to be something for everyone! In the comment be sure to leave a link to the resource you’d like, as well as an e-mail address that you’d like me to send it to. All resources will be sent out the morning of November 12th, so be sure to leave your comment by the evening of November 11th.

4.) Finally, by leaving me a comment asking for a resource, you will automatically get entered into a contest to win a $20 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers, which could be very helpful with Cyber Monday coming up!

Okay, time to help me celebrate! Stop by my Teachers Pay Teachers store and start deciding what you want for free. Leave me a comment and cross your fingers that you’ll get a gift card on November 11th with your present.

Thank you for all the support. I hope at least one of my resources or blog posts have helped make your job easier.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources