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June 6, 2011

Whew! Just as you end the school year, TeachersFirst has moved into our new home at the same address. Don't worry. We are still FREE and ad-free, and we plan to remain so.

If you are too tired to read any further, jump directly to TeachersFirst 3.0.

For the next few weeks, we will be discovering things we forgot to pack or boxes we mislabeled, so we welcome your help spotting the things we need to fix. TeachersFirst's old "home" was like a three story Victorian, complete with attic and cellar; our new home is more of a sleek contemporary with fresh new rooms and a 21st century layout. So of course we are still discovering things that need to be tweaked.  We will use the summer to completely unpack and be settled in time for the new school year. If you discover that something is missing or simply want to offer a housewarming greeting, please send a message via the "contact us" link in the footer of any page.

Must-sees in TeachersFirst 3.0

  • Explore the new home page with the most popular offerings right up front
  • Check out What's New in TeachersFirst 3.0 page for the highlights.
  • Try the Calendar
  • Check out each of the 5 tabs across the top, with no more waiting for slow menus
  • Open TeachersFirst on your mobile device. No Flash needed!
  • Search for your favorite curriculum topic (see that handy search in the left sidebar?)
  • Explore the new review layout. Click for More or Less; "Favorite," comment, and rate (with FREE membership); check out informative icons; share; open links in new tabs/windows without losing your search results – so much to try!

Tell your friends – and a world of Thinking Teachers!
Over the next few months, we will be surprising random teachers who spread the word about TeachersFirst with a special gift. If you have a blog or web page, write a post about why you like TeachersFirst. Tweet about us several times. Share TeachersFirst on Facebook. Then stay tuned for more details on how Thinking Teachers like you can proudly wear your dedication to Teaching Thinkers for all to see.  We'll be listening for your good words.

New windows/tabs
One of the most obvious functional changes in TeachersFirst 3.0 is the way we share links to outside resources. Resource titles now click to open in a new tab (or window, depending on how you set your computer). Play with this a bit so you know how to find the new tab/window and can return to the full resource listing on TeachersFirst. Hint: look down at your task bar or dock to find new windows. Tabs are easy to find across the top of your web pages.

Coming Soon
What you see now is not all. As we finish unpacking, we will also be adding more new features on TeachersFirst. Stop by a few times during your days away from school to see the changes. By late this summer, TeachersFirst members will have a much-improved way to share their Favorites with students and parents on a "public" page. No more copy/pasting simply to share a link! Click to Favorite; click to share: another time-saving feature from TeachersFirst, later this summer.

Delayed Grades
Usually in early June we ask our users to complete an annual user survey. We are delaying this survey until later in the summer so you can include what you like (and don't like) about TeachersFirst 3.0. Many of your suggestions from previous years have been implemented in TeachersFirst 3.0, but we will never stop listening.

Members only
If you have a free TeachersFirst membership, you should have received a separate email explaining how the move to TeachersFirst 3.0 affects your member Favorites and teacher home page during the transition. We won't "lose your stuff"! Your ability to edit/tag your TeachersFirst Favorites should be working again by July 1. New, improved TeachersFirst member home pages will be created using a brand new system beginning later in the summer, in time for the 2011-12 school year. We apologize for any inconvenience the transition may cause. The move will be worth it. And you didn't even have to pack a single box!

Don't have a FREE TeachersFirst membership? Find out more about FREE member features and sign up NOW. (P.S. We don't sell or give away ANY information about you to ANYONE.)

D-Day or Father's Day?
As more and more veterans of D-Day pass away, it is especially important to remind today's students about Normandy. Start them off with TeachersFirst's Resources for D-Day.  Just a couple of weeks later on June 19, fathers have their special day. Find ideas to create free but meaningful Father's Day gifts from Special Occasion Ideas for the Classroom: TeachersFirst Editors' Choices. Don't miss ideas and resources for many special events in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.

Summer Sparklers instead of summer slide
Summer Sparklers is a collection of teacher-reviewed web resources for students of all ages to enjoy learning all summer long. The collection includes many sites where students and parents can create something together, sites that reinforce skills to prevent "summer slide," and challenges to spark thinking at any age. Though the page is written by teachers for teachers, parents will also appreciate the "At home" suggestions, especially on a rainy day. Be sure to share the link as you send students off for summer.

This week's XW1W question: Does your family own a car? More than one?
Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) uses microblogging or blogging tools to share responses about everyday life from any corner of the world. The XW1W FAQ page explains it all. Make today's instant communications an instant learning experience.

The summer OK2Ask™ schedule leads off on June 28 with OK2Ask™ LIVE from ISTE in Philadelphia. Tune in via the link on the TeachersFirst home page from 3:30-4:30 pm EDT to hear the thoughts of Thinking Teachers willing to share what they have seen and learned at this ed tech conference. You don't even have to board an airplane (or pay the fare). Mark your calendar now. Browse the full summer OK2Ask™ schedule with pre-registration opening about one month prior to each session.

This Week's Poll
What do you think of TeachersFirst 3.0?
Share your response to this new Weekly Poll front and center on the TeachersFirst home page. The new poll format lets you click to see the poll results instantly!

Featured Sites
This week's featured sites include new finds for our new look!

  • A blogging tool with complete privacy control
  • Finds for fractions and physics
  • Science movie "accompaniments"
  • Instant scoring for Google doc quizzes
  • Grammar errors- oh my!
  • Minimalist writing prompts
  • Math and logic challenges
  • FREE, customized maps
  • Creative Commons explained – on video
  • and more

Pardon me while I return to unpacking. We hope your week includes nothing but pleasant surprises amid the packing material we call "school." Happy summer to those who are on vacation!

Your "teacher to go,"
Candace Hackett Shively
Director of K-12 Initiatives