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TF Update 8/7/2016
Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

For Your Classroom

Did you know that keeping yourself organized could have health benefits? You may sleep better, eat healthier, be less stressed, and even reduce your chances of having a heart attack. Learn more about the health benefits of organization here. This Update is all about organization for you, your classroom, and your students. You will find sprinkles of organization information in each section of this Update. Get geared up now for an organized year!


SFK K-12 Advisory Council
Nominate yourself today for the SFL K-12 Advisory Council. We are still accepting applications. All applicants must be TeachersFirst Members. Learn more here.


Olympics 2016
The Olympics are now in full swing! Take a look at our curated list of resources to use with all grades. We recently added USA Today’s YouTube Channel all about Rio 2016 Olympics. Take your students to Rio (virtually) using Rio 2016 Olympics. Use these two tools to keep yourself (and your students) up to date on current happenings at these exciting events!

Professional Development

FREE Summer PD

Our Summer PD is in the final few weeks. Register now to attend one of our helpful web workshops. Read our FAQ for general information about certificates, etc. Please be sure to read the detailed descriptions and suggested technology comfort levels BEFORE you register.

Here is what is coming up:

Tuesday, August 9, 6:00 - 7:30pm Eastern - Google: Productivity Tools for the Classroom

Wednesday August 10, 6:00 - 7:30pm Eastern - Book Club Closing Session (ONLY OPEN TO BOOK CLUB PARTICIPANTS)

Thursday, August 11, 6:00 - 7:30pm Eastern - Google: Form Basics

Tuesday, August 16, 6:00 - 7:30pm Eastern - So Simple, So Slick, So Sway

Wednesday, August 17, 6:00 - 7:30pm Eastern - Free, Feature-Filled, and For Your Classroom: Office Online

Thursday, August 18, 6:00 - 7:30pm Eastern - Make Magic with Mix: Introduction to Microsoft’s Office Mix


Come Tweet with Us - August Twitter Chat
Join our Twitter Chat on Thursday August 18th - Preparing for the School Year: Setting Goals and Getting Organized. Learn and share more tips for staying organized. Our Twitter chats are offered at 8pm Eastern.


TeachersFirst Blog
Come and get an edtech PD snack, all about organization, at our recently updated blog. This specific post includes a list of free and easy to use tools to manage and organize your school year. Find not only relevant tools to use, but also learn HOW to use them in the classroom. Learn about the importance of strong management and organization in the classroom. This blog post is “just in time” for the start of the school year!


TeachersFirst Exclusives

Ready... Set... Get Organized
Earlier in this update we shared the possible health benefits for YOU to be organized, but how does organization help your students? There is a lot of research out there showing that students follow the example of their teacher. Special needs students even have a stronger need for organization to properly function in the classroom. Find some engaging articles and a video to share with your (older) students here.

TeachersFirst offers many tools to help you stay organized. Did you know that we have an entire section of the Edge that only features Organization Tools? This list is growing, so check back often. Check out Workflowy (reviewed here). Workflowy allows you to make lists and outlines. But, it even goes a step further and allows you to use hashtags to create groups of items. The site offers many tutorials to help you navigate the “how to’s.” Model how this tool works on your interactive whiteboard at the start of a new major assignment. Have secondary students create their own account and start getting organized together. Share this tool on your class website for families to test out at home. Of course this is just one of nearly 80 tools that we include in our Organization Tools. Check them out!


Inside Writing and Storytelling
The August theme from TogetheRead is “Inside Writing and Storytelling!” 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.


Digital Storytelling
This TogetheRead theme reminds me of Digital Storytelling. Check out our many Digital Storytelling resources. TeachersFirst is rich with resources for Digital Storytelling. Use Adobe Spark to give your photos a voice. Students of all ages will enjoy this fabulous tool. Create an Adobe Spark for the first day of school, welcoming your class or sharing a favorite quote. Another favorite (especially for grades K-6) is Jellybean Writer. Use this simple tool to create online books. Have students create books introducing themselves to the class and/or telling about their summer. Demonstrate how to create and use this site by sharing your own summer adventures or introducing yourself and your rules to the new class!


Brain Twisters
Are you looking for an engaging way to start Monday mornings? The TeachersFirst Brain Twisters change every Friday. There is a list for both elementary or middle school age students. Each list contains ten questions. Use these questions to ignite sleepy brains on a Monday morning, or any day of the week. If time permits, take it one step further and have your students create their own brain twisters to share with the class. Choose the TOP TEN questions to include in a class Quizizz. Quizizz allows you to create interactive online quizzes. Share your Quizizz on your interactive whiteboard or have students take the Quizizz on their own in your byod/1:1 classroom.


What initiative matters the most?
Every school seems to be implementing different initiatives. What is HOT in one area is not in another. Maybe your “hot” initiative is implementing iPads or Chromebooks? Maybe it is Google Apps for Education or something else? This week’s Teacher Poll asks: What initiative is the most important at your school? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.

TeachersFirst Features

Get Organized using this week’s Featured Sites:

  • My Study Life
  • Trello
  • Strike
  • Sort My Box
  • Slack
  • Easy Class
  • FollowUpThem
  • Kiddom
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this August 21st, or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived August 7th Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


As we approach the excitement of another school year, we hope that we have equipped you with many tools to keep yourself, your students, and your classroom organized.

Melissa Henning
Educational Content Manager