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TF Update 4/3/2016
Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Don't let April showers dampen your testing powers! Testing season is here and we have resources sprouting up weekly to help you prepare your students for the test and beyond.

This week we are highlighting two exciting contests. One is for you and the other is for your students. The National History Day Contest is open to grades 6-12. Students can choose a historical topic and then conduct both primary and secondary research. Students have a choice of the type of project that they wish to complete: an exhibit, a performance, a website, write a paper, or create a documentary. Voya Unsung Heroes continues through April 20. This competition is for you! Try your hand at becoming one of this year's 100 winning educators. You could win $2000 or even $25,000 to fund your innovative classroom projects. What could you do for your students with some extra "spending" money?

Garbage goes Green
Just in time for Earth Day, the April theme from TogetheRead is "Garbage goes Green." TogetheRead provides a list of recommended books, questions, and activities designed to build stronger readers. The themes include books for all ages, centered around the same theme. Parents find questions to ask as the family reads, deepening comprehension before, during, and after reading. Included are free and low-cost ideas for activities families can do together, as well. TogetheRead involves the entire family in supporting literacy.

Blog or Wiki?
Until you have spent some time with wikis and blogs, the differences between them (and reasons for them) can be pretty foggy. Visit TeachersFirst's Blog Basics for the Classroom to understand the what, why, and how of blogs. Find and share all the answers you need about blogs, including ways to get started and ideas to make blogging part of your class routine. Maybe you want to learn more about wikis. Try the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through to understand the what, why, and how of wikis. Teachers who know and use wikis know how great they are as a tool for teaching and for students to create and share. If you are already a wiki-user, why not share the Wiki Walk-Through with your colleagues who are wiki-wary?

Be Aware
April is also Autism Awareness Month. Did you know that TeachersFirst has several resources designed to inform people about Autism? We also have a wealth of resources to differentiate for your students on the Autism spectrum. Share resources with parents during conferences.

WOW Them!
If you enjoy sharing new tech "finds" with students, friends, and colleagues on your website, wiki or blog, we have a new way for you to look smart! Embed the TeachersFirst Featured Sites widget and have new "finds" every week without ever lifting a finger. If you can copy/paste, you can embed anything! Find the code to copy/paste here. Never embedded anything? We have a resource for that too.

Thank you for making our Winter 2016 OK2Ask Professional Development (PD) virtual workshop series such a success! To continue receiving OK2Ask registration news and announcements, please be sure to join our OK2Ask mail list.

This week's Teacher Poll asks: How many devices are available to students in your classroom? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.

Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites you will find:

  • MetPublications
  • Sketchfab
  • Newsela – Students Vote 2016
  • Twitter Fictional Account Template
  • MarvellousMe
  • Global Oneness Projects
  • Literary Devices
  • Classtools Countdown Timer
  • NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover and Namib Dune (360 view)
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this April 11th, or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived April 3, 2016 Features here, and don't miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.

The TeachersFirst Team