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Presidential Information

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 used 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.


With President’s Day a few days away, I thought I would follow up last week’s Wednesday Website suggestion of Multimedia Biographies with another biographical website – this time specifically on presidents. This website is actually a section of the White House’s website, and it has a terrific biography biographyproject[1]on each president. The biographies are a little long, so I always assigned reading them as a partner project. Usually, I would have each partner pair pick a president and complete the Biography Project about their president. Then, on President’s Day or another day late in January, I would allow them to come to school dressed as their president and present their projects. It’s also a great time to have parents come in and see what their students have done – and give you a chance to increase parent involvement!


Hope you enjoyed this Wednesday’s Website suggestion – check back each Wednesday for a new Wedensday’s Website suggestion. Also, feel free to check out previous Wednesday Website suggestions including: Find the Dog’s Bone, Storybird, Counting Money and Math Magician.




Introducing Raki’s Shop



I have been creating teacher’s resources for 7 years – as long as I’ve been in the classroom.  However, I only started selling them 3 years ago.  I started selling on Teacher’s Pay Teachers and have only recently ventured out to places like Teacher’s Notebook and Teacher’s Lingo.  However, my fabulous husband, Khalil, has been partnering with me, and he is creating us Raki’s Shop.  It is a work in progress, but at this website, you will be able to find our clip art, our self correcting puzzles, and some of the other teacher resources we have – as well as a whole page of FREEBIES!!!  To celebrate the Grand Opening of Raki’s Shop, we will be giving the first 20 customers who order a FREE product from Raki’s Shop.  Simply make sure that you add a note on your PayPal form which item you would like for FREE.  Pass the word to your friends, because I’m sure the 20 FREEBIEs will go quickly!




Internet Scavenger Hunts

For two years, I was a computer specialist, and I was always trying to come up with new, great ways to allow students to use the computer, while integrating all the standards we have to teach anyways.  One resource I created for my students and teachers were internet scavenger hunts.  The internet scavenger hunts that I created allowed my students to visit websites to find the answers to questions or activities on a given subject – specifically their science and social studies topics.  As a technology specialist, I actually had my students working on these at home, or with their home room teacher, so I had almost forgotten about them.  Then, the other day I was going through my files to see what I had for States of Matter, my next science subject, and I realized that I have an internet scavenger hunt for it!  I also have one for weather and moon phases, two of the other topics I cover this year!  I love when I come across materials that I have already made and I can use them in a new way.  I also realized that some of these internet scavenger hunts may be useful to you guys, so here are some links to some of my favorite internet scavenger hunts.  (FYI – I have internet scavenger hunts for grades K – 5, so there’s something for everyone!) 

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P.S.  These work great as a computer center, or an at-home project.



Money, Money, Money

My math topic for the month of January is counting and comparing money. This may not seem like a big deal, as it’s part of every American curriculum I’ve ever seen. However, for my students (who live in Morocco) counting American money is, well, a foreign concept! I do work on counting Moroccan money (dirhams) with them as well during calendar, but it is not technically part of my standards. I also don’t have many manipulatives in my classroom, which means no pretend money. (You would see my classroom wishlist board on pinterest!) So, having them count money can be very time or money intensive on my part.  As I have little of both time and money, I am opting to cover money in 3 ways:


1.  The real stuff – My grandmother recently visited us here in Morocco, and she brought with her some real American coins, which I will use with the students in small group, so that we can review how each coin looks, how to tell the difference, and of course, how to count the coins.


2.  Technology! – If you haven’t seen Wednesday’s Website Suggestion from last week, it showcases the great website I am using where my kids can count money virtually.


3.  Puzzles – I have created three self-correcting puzzles 100_6308on counting money to get us started.  (I think I’ll probably make at least two more, as we get going.)  I started using them on Friday, and the kids were psyched!  They love puzzles anyways, and these are an easy way for them to count money without having to work in those dreaded workbooks.



Click on any of the pictures to download the self-correcting puzzles from TPT.

moneeasy1     moneyeasy2     moneyeasy3

Does anyone else have any ideas on how I can work on money with no manipulatives (and no smart board)?  If so, please leave me a comment or post it on my Raki’s Rad Resources Facebook Fan Page.


Christmas in Morocco

Holy cow, I knew I was behind on blogging, but I didn’t realize I had left you guys hanging for a week!  My students and I were super busy during the past week, so I have a bunch to blog about, but I just haven’t had the time to sit and type.  I guess I thought that perhaps celebrating Christmas in a country where there is effectively no Christmas would be slightly easier (you know, no sales to rush out to, no huge parties to attend), but I’ve found out it actually takes more time!  One of the reasons it takes more time is that I have 3 small boys who still need Christmas, and I’ve been going out of my way to make sure that they still feel the “Christmas Spirit”.  Anyways, I am about to go and frost Christmas Cookies with my children, but I thought I needed to get at least a short blog post out there to those of you who have been so kind xmascenters1as to follow this humble blog.  I promise to get some good tips and a great “out of the mouths of babes” funny later this week.  But, I leave you now with 10 quick facts about Christmas in Morocco and a link to my newly improved Christmas Centers packet, which is still FREE on TeachersPayTeachers.  (FYI – if you already downloaded it, jump over to do a quick re-download as I have had a super fan find some small typos.)



10 Facts about Christmas in Morocco

1.  Morocco is a Muslim country, so Christmas is not an official (banks, stores closed) holiday in Morocco.


2.  Morocco used to be a protectorate of France, so there are many people living in Morocco with French citizenship or French ancestry, including many (but not all) are French Catholics, who do celebrate Christmas.


3. Morocco is on the continent of Africa, and there are many people living in Morocco from “Sub-Saharan” African countries like Senegal, Congo and South Africa.  Many (but not all) of these people are Christians and/or Catholics, who do celebrate Christmas.


4.  Morocco also has a significant “expat” community from Europe and the United States, as well as the Phillipines.  Many (but not all) of these expats celebrate Christmas.


5.  Most Moroccans know Santa Clause by his French name – Pere Noel (literally – Father Christmas).


6.  Even though the majority of Moroccans do not celebrate Christmas, you can find Christmas trees, lights, decorations and plenty of toys on sale at the big stores (Marjane, Alpha 55 and the Morocco Mall).


7.  All of the American Schools, and many French Schools held Christmas Shows, Christmas Fairs etc. to celebrate the Christmas Holiday.


8.  Many individuals held individual holiday dinners and holiday parties to celebrate the Christmas holiday.


9.  The French and American schools are on break during the Christmas holiday (which means I’m out for 2 weeks!), but most of the Moroccan public and private schools are not (Which means my kids could’ve gone to school on Christmas – although thankfully Christmas falls on a Sunday.)


10.  My family has been able to turn this holiday season into a great one, but choosing the holiday traditions we like best (making cookies, decorating the tree) and feel slightly separated from some of the commercialism we sometimes felt in the states.


For more information on my experiences in Morocco, check out my personal blog Journey to Morocco.


My Kids’ New Favorite Center

At the beginning of the year, I created an Alphabet Book to use with my students.  I thought they would all come in knowing their ABC’s and that this would be a great way to review while we looked at different types of words.  I bookpreviewwas so excited about them that I had them copied and stapled before the school year began.  Then, I got my class, and more than half of them didn’t know all of their letters or letter sounds, and I put all of the Alphabet Books on the shelf indefinitely.100_6173

Fast forward 13 weeks, and all of my kids now know all of their letters and letter sounds!!!  In fact, most of my kids are now reading at a Reading A-Z level of C or higher (yeah!!!!!!).  So, I pulled out the Alphabet Books, and the kids are in love! 

The books are a super simple way for them to “collect” words from around the room, or in books.  After they have “collected” their words, it’s a good way to work on reading common words.  Each page is coordinated to my phonics posters, and has lines for students to write down words from our word wall.  (Did you hear that my word wall is exploding?  If not, check out this post from earlier this week.)  The kids have had a great time with this center, and we are beginning to use the books in reading time too.  Plus, it’s a low maintenance literacy center – which is really nice at this time of the year when my kids are a little crazier than normal!


Exploding Words

Recently heard in my classroom “Ms. Raki – The S is full!!”  My darling student 100_61691who was stating the obvious, was looking at my exploding word wall.  In the beginning of the year, I envisioned this beautiful, useful, huge, word wall.  Well, it’s beautiful, and it’s very useful, but 100_6170man is it HUGE!  It takes up a whole wall in my room, and my student was right, the S is already full.  Since it’s only halfway through the year, it’s also only half full!  So, my chore this week is to figure out how to rearrange it so slightly to fit more S words on it.  (While I’m at it, C and A are getting pretty full too!)  Here’s what’s on my word wall, that’s making it explode:



1.  The first 100 sight words (there are 100 more to put up!)

2.  My students’ names with their pictures (this is why A is so full – I have 5 A names in my room!)

3.  Shape Names

4.  Color Words

5.  Number Words

6.  Word Family cards (word and picture) for the ap, at, ed, et, ip, it, and op families – we add another word family each week, so this is the bulk of what will be added going forward  (Unfortunately, they have cut me off the color printer, so these are now in black and white – the kids don’t mind, but I do!)

Luckily, my kids really use the word wall.  They use it during writing and reading time (and on their spelling tests, which I allow, because if they can find the word what out of all of those words, that’s just as important as memorizing it in my book!) on a daily basis.  I love my word wall, I really do, but man, I’m not looking forward to taking it down at the end of the year!!

If you want any of the word wall cards on my word wall, or the word wall labels, they are available at my TPT store.  For direct links, click on the words above, or visit my store at


Doggy 100’s Chart Website

I love, love, love using the 100’s chart to teach math and number relationships.  In fact, right now two of my math centers are based on the 100’s chart.  I have a Hundred’s Chart center, which you can find on TPT, andwebsite then my computer center is also based on the 100’s chart too.  I am using the website Give the Dog a Bone, which is just an amazing website!  It gives students a blank 100’s chart with dog bones “hidden” under numbers.  If students click on the correct number, they find the bone.  If they click on the wrong number, it tells them the number they clicked on – giving them a clue to help them find the number they are looking for.  Plus, the best part for my classroom, is it is set on a 60 second timer.  Since I have just one computer in my room, I allow 3 students to go to the computer center.  They go, and take turns, so with a 60 second timer, the longest they ever have to wait for their turn is 2 minutes – which is about the length of the attention span of most of my students!


Primary Problem Solving Center

psbirdsMy newest math center is working so well, I just had to tell you about it.  I have been feeling the need to build in some problem solving, but so many of my 1st graders are either non-readers or beginning readers, that I’m been scared to add in a complete problem solving center, like I would’ve used with my 3rd graders.  So, I started making these little problem solving cards, which are simple, and pictorial.  Kids pick four cards out of a bucket and glue them onto their problem solving paper.  Then, they work together psballoonsto solve the problems.  Here is a link to some that I uploaded to my TPT store for FREE – these are half addition and half subtraction.  I also made some that are specific to subtraction.  I use the problem solving sheet with these – but they could easily be glued into a spiral bound notebook or a math journal.  I have a math journal on my TPT store, but this group I have this year, isn’t quite ready for it.  Isn’t it strange how each group is so different? 


French & Spanish Resources–Now Available

Before we moved to Morocco, we began looking for some fun ways to work on 100_5550French and Arabic with my sons, so that they could begin learning the languages they would need once we got here.  We weren’t able to find what we were looking for, so my husband, Khalil, who is fluent in 6 languages (Darija –the Moroccan Arabic dialect, Classical Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian, and English) began making activities for them.  He began with arabic letter cards, moved on to French puzzles and just spiraled from there.  He began putting these items on Teachers Pay Teachers, and has been selling them there ever since.

Now that we have moved, we just seem to be busier and busier.  Last week, we sat down to look at the feasibility of running two Teachers Pay Teachers stores, raising 3 kids and working full time.  We decided we had two options, close down one of the TPT stores, or combine them for easier management.  Obviously from my title, we chose the later of the two.  Smile




Over the next few weeks, we will be transferring over his store onto my Raki’s Rad Resources TPT Store.  So, if you are looking for resources in French or Spanish (and eventually Arabic and Russian) you will now be able to find them here!  To start us out, he has uploaded a number word self correcting puzzle in Spanish and French for FREE.  Just click on the pictures to get your FREE puzzle!  Please pass the word to anyone you know interested in Spanish and French resources, that Raki’s Rad Resources is the place to find frenchnumbersthem.  If you are interested in resources in Arabic or Russian, please comment on this post to let us know.  Also, if there is any specific item you want in one of these languages, feel free to e-mail me at and Khalil will work hard to get those items to you.



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