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What Are You Doing for Earth Day?

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Top 10 post, but with Earth Day coming on April 22nd, I thought it was time to get back into the tradition.  So, here are 10 ways you can celebrate Earth Day with your students:

1.)  Watch Magic School Bus – So many of the Magic School Bus movies focus on taking care of the earth, but there are two in particular that I love for Earth Day.  One is the Holiday Special and the other is In The Rainforest.  My son has them both on one DVD, which I will be borrowing for my students on Earth Day!  They give you a great, kid friendly way to look at Earth Day themes – including recycling and protecting the rainforest.

2.)  Take a Trip to the Trash – Our society today has a habit of “hiding” the trash, and so kids don’t generally know what happens after they put the trash into the can.  Take a field trip to a landfill or a recycling center so kids can learn first hand where the trash goes.  Seeing all of the trash together can be a good realization for kids who only see their one little bag as not a big deal.

3.) Get involved in a local Earth Day project – Most communities host activities on, or around Earth Day to “beautify” the earth.  Get your class involved in picking up trash or planting trees so that they can get their hands into Earth Day.

4.)  Connect with other schools online  – Get yoGetting Rid of Plastic Bags Collaborative Projectur class involved in an online project where they can work with other schools around the globe to recognize that protecting the Earth is everyone’s responsibility.   Global Teaching Connect is hosting a Getting Rid of Bags collaborative project that you might want to check out.


5.)  Read the Great Kapok Tree If you’ve never read this book – it’s great for talking about the interdependent web of life in the rainforest, and why it is so important to not cut down trees in the rainforest.  Mandy Neal of Cooperative Learning has a great freebie to go with this book, that you can read about HERE.

6.)  Make do this,not that posters – Talk about the things we should do Earth Day Posters for Kidsand the things we shouldn’t do, then let your students create Do This, Not That posters where your students promote good habits for taking care of the earth.  Have students hang their posters in the hallway to share what they have learned with others.

7.)  Persuade others to act green – Earth day is a great time to work on persuasive writing.  Choose a topic – carpooling, bringing cloth grocery bags, taking public transportation, recycling, even something as using reusable napkins could be a great topic for a persuasive writing piece.

8.)  Look at Living Locally – If you haven’t read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver – it’s completely worth the read (adult read, not a kid’s book!).  In this book, she talks about living locally – eating food and buying products from within a 50 – 100 mile radius of where you live.  This concept has not been explored fully with kids, but it’s a great seed to plant, as a way to reduce oil expenditure (trucks burn a lot of gas when they move those oranges from California to New York).  A trip to a local farmer’s market would be a great addition to this type of topic.

9.)  Watch Captain PlanetDo you remember Captain Planet?  It was a great cartoon series where superheros saved the earth.  Pull out this great series to get your kids involved in Earth Day.  I can’t find them on DVD – but Amazon has VHS and you can find them on YouTube.

10.)  Go Paperless – During Earth Day, it’s a great time to Ecology Paperless E Quizmodel paperless activities – such as using your blog to submit homework, creating digital presentations instead of making posters, sending E-mails over letters, and doing E-Quizzes instead of written tests.  Grab an E-Quiz for Ecology from my TPT store.


Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Teachers Around the Globe Connect on Facebook

Calling all teachers!  Global Teacher Connect now has a Facebook page and we’d like you to be a part of it.  globalteacherconnectfacebookFor those of you who haven’t found Global Teacher Connect – it’s a collaborative blog with teachers from 11 countries, all sharing our perspectives on education.  Now, we are adding Facebook to our ways to collaborate.  Here’s how:

On this page, teachers from around the globe will ask and answer those questions that will give us insight to what is going on in other classrooms around the world. 

On this page, teachers from around the globe will have the chance to discuss what’s really working in their classroom. 

On this page, teachers from around the globe can share resources and websites with one another. 

On this page, teachers from around the globe can “meet” and find partner classes from other countries to enhance their writing units with pen pals, their social studies units with skype internet pals, their science with interactive projects – the sky’s the limit on what we can do when we connect.

On this page, teachers from around the globe will be able to truly collaborate.

Please come on over and like the Global Teacher Connect Facebook page, and while you’re there tell us where you’re at and how you’d like to collaborate!

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

Raki's Rad Resources Teachers Pay Teachers Store Raki's Shop - Quality Teaching Resources Raki's Rad Resources - Teacher's Notebook Shop

I’m Learning How to Read

I’m 29 years old and I’m learning to read…………………………………… in Arabic.  I know how to read in English (of course) and French & Spanish (kind of), but learning how to read in Arabic means learning a whole new alphabet and learning to read in a whole new direction.  I truly feel like I’m learning to read all over again, and it’s really helping me understand how my students feel when they are learning how to read.  Since most people don’t remember the cognitive processes they used when they were learning to read, I thought I would share some of my experiences and insights. 

I am only beginning to learn (I’ve been at it about a month.), so I have a long ways to go – but here’s what I’ve already learned about reading by learning how to read all over again.

1.  Different variations of a letter don’t look the same until you train your brain to see them that way.  When I began working on the alphabet, my husband pointed at two letters and called them both the same letter – Ghayn  – he couldn’t figure out why they didn’t look like the same letter to me.  I couldn’t figure out how they looked the same to him.  (In Arabic, there are no Capitols aArabic Letter Ghayn Initial, Medial and Endingnd Lowercase, rather the letters look different depending on where they are in a word.)  Then, it occurred to me that a capitol A and a lowercase a really don’t look like they belong together at all.  The only reason we know that these letters are the same is that we have train our brains to see them both as the same thing.

2.  I can sound out words very well, but have no idea what that word means.  I know we have all had word callers in our class, and know that this phenomena is common, but I never understood it in the same way as when I sounded out this great, long word in Arabic and realized that it head no meaning to me whatsoever.  Now, when that word is next to a picture, or written in a place in my notebook that helps me remember what it means, I’m good, but written in a random place in a book, and I’m lost!

3.  Handwriting is important.  In English, my handwriting stinks, and I’ve never really thought it was all that important, as long as it was legible.  However, I have realized that different handwritings can be like different fonts.  Just like the capitol A and the lowercase a don’t look like each other – different people’s a’s might also look different.  I know that the pretty, neat writing that my teacher uses doesn’t always reflect my husband’s quickly written Arabic, or the fancy Arabic fonts that can be found on cereal boxes and billboard signs.

4.  Environmental print encourages reading.  Now that I can sound out Street Sign in Moroccowords, I am starting to make more sense of all these Arabic words that have been surrounding me for the past 9 months.  I see Arabic everywhere here in Morocco – street signs, billboards, packaging, books, etc.  However, much of the time, the Arabic words have corresponding French words, which are MUCH easier for me to figure out, so my eyes have pretty much skipped over the Arabic writing as a whole.  Now that I know what the letters are, my eyes are beginning to search for the Arabic and trying to sound out words everywhere.  (It’s actually driving my husband a little crazy – lol!)

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Connect with Teachers Around the Globe

One of the best parts of teaching at an International School is that I get to connect with GlobalTeacherConnect;teachers who have taught all around the world.  I enjoy this concept so much that I decided to start a blog that will give this experience to everyone.  This blog, called Global Teacher Connect, will have authors from around the world posting about what is going on in their classroom and what resources they are using with their students.  We will have no more than 5 authors per country, so we can keep it diverse, but we will have many, many countries represented.  Already we have authors from: South Africa, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Trinidad/Tobago, the United States, and of course – Morocco!

We are currently looking for more authors, so if you would be interested in being an author, please feel free to contact me at  Whether you are interested in writing or not, please feel free to stop by and view the discussions.  Right now, we have a very interesting discussion going on about how substitute teaching is handled in countries around the world – started by Melissa of Dilly Dabbles.  Can’t wait to see your contributions to the discussions!


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