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TF Update 9/4/2016
Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

For Your Classroom

This week we will be swimming the seas of literacy. Literacy is simply defined as the ability to read and write. While the definition is simple, achieving literacy with all of your students can be a challenge. Basic literacy is truly a survival skill. Here is a short article that discusses WHY literacy is so important. This TeachersFirst Update includes many ideas to increase your students’ literacy.

A great place to begin is TeachersFirst’s Reading for All. Here you will find a multitude of tips, tools, and more. Learn about the many audio books reviewed on TeachersFirst. Did you know that you could search through all audio books or narrow your search to include only audio books with text or interactive elements? This page also includes a curated list of tools for Reading Strategies. Find some new tools to use in your classroom. The Reading for All page includes many other topics to explore.

Some of my favorite literacy tools allow you to differentiate current events and science at various reading levels. Some even include a writing feature! Three of my current favorites include Newsela, News In Levels, and Jellybean Scoop. All three of these tools tell the same news (or story) at 3-4 different reading difficulty levels. They also all ask comprehension questions at the end. Take a look at each review to learn several ways to use each tool in your classroom! Did you know - International Literacy Day is only a few days away? Don’t forget to “celebrate” literacy in your classroom this week and every week!

Professional Development

Learn More about the Fall Book Study
Registration is now open for our Fall book study on The Relevant Educator by Tom Whitby and Steven Anderson. The study will run from mid-September through mid-November. All participants completing the required assignments will be given 15 points (CEU credits). Read about the details here. To participate in this free book study you must be a TeachersFirst member (see how to register for FREE membership). Click here to register to participate in the Fall Book study.


OK2Ask is BACK!
Fall registration is now open for OK2Ask, our free online workshops. 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, September 20, 7:00 - 8:30pm Eastern - Fall Book Study Opening Session (ONLY OPEN TO BOOK STUDY PARTICIPANTS)

Tuesday, September 27, 7:00 - 8:30pm Eastern - So Simple, So Slick, So Sway

Tuesday October 4, 7:00 - 8:30pm Eastern - My Students Need That! Chrome Features and Extensions for Accessibility.


Come Tweet with Us - September Twitter Chat
Join our Twitter Chat (#OK2Ask) on Thursday September 15th to learn and discuss more about Classroom Management Tips. Our Twitter chats are offered at 8pm Eastern. Take this hour now to plan your classroom management strategies for the year!


TeachersFirst Exclusives

Globetracker: The Mission Begins
Geo and Meri are ready to hit the road! If you are a teacher of grades 2-6, join us on this fabulous geography journey. Help your students master geography terms, learn about the continents, and more through this “choose your adventure” style story. Each week the teens will explore a new location and each month is a new continent!

The preview episode will go LIVE on Sunday September 11th. The preview episode will remain for 3 weeks, so everyone has a chance to take a look at this journey! Take a chance to read all about it before they fly to New York City on Sunday October 2nd. Starting on October 2nd, the episode will update weekly. The location will be based on the readers’ votes! Do you want to connect literacy into your geography lessons? Make sure to checkout TogetheRead at the beginning of each month! The booklist will be all about the continent that the teens are visiting that month. October is North America, and November is South America. Where will they visit next? It is up to you.


Inside Writing and Storytelling
Encourage literacy both in the classroom and at home with our TogetheRead booklists. The September 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.


What is Your Number?
We all know that teachers work hard! This week’s Teacher Poll asks: How many contract (or working) hours do you put in per week during the school year? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.

TeachersFirst Features

Find many resources about Literacy in this week’s Featured Sites:

  • Reading Glue
  • Newsela
  • Buncee
  • Literably
  • The Readability Test Tool
  • TV411 - Reading
  • Spreeder
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this September 18th, or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived September 4th Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


As you strive to your goal of literacy for all in your classroom, we hope that TeachersFirst can help you find the resources and support to keep your class swimming through the new year!

Melissa Henning
Educational Content Manager
TeachersFirst/Source For Learning