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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Happy Independence Day!

Thank you. I met so many of you at ISTE this past week. Several of us from The Source for Learning (our parent company) were there, and I even met some TeachersFirst team members I had never seen face to face! We were as inspired by what we learned and saw at ISTE as everyone else was. In the coming weeks we will be sharing more and more of what we discovered so you won’t feel left out if you were not in Philadelphia. If you missed OK2Ask LIVE, we will have the archived video online for viewing shortly.


July Schedule at TeachersFirst
July is a time for teachers to take a breath and for TeachersFirst to gear up before the new school year. During July, we will send combined editions of the Update for July 3/10 and 17/24 before resuming our weekly schedule on July 31. The Featured Sites will also stay online for two weeks so you have a chance to catch them between your summer course work and travel. The Brain Twisters will change every other Friday, with NEW versions appearing on July 1, 15, and 29.  It will be August and Back to School before we know it.


Like a cool iced tea...
Summer’s greatest refresher, OK2Ask™ , starts again soon. You can attend OK2Ask™, free online snack sessions for teacher self-guided professional development, from any computer with a high speed connection. We show you what to do, so you need not be a “techie.” We issue Professional Development Certificates to those who meet the requirements, and you get to “meet” teachers from all over the U.S.—even the world!  Space is limited, so sign up early for these free offerings. (Please be courteous and release your free “seat” by deleting you name if you change you mind!). See the full schedule to plan ahead.  Registration is now open for these sessions:

  • Great Ideas! Exploring the Resources of the new TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Tues, July 19, 2011; One session only: 6:00 - 7:15 pm EDT

  • Guided Wiki Walk (TWO SESSION workshop); Tues, July 26 AND Thurs, July 28, 2011; Same content repeated at two time blocks 3:00 - 4:15 pm or 6:00 - 7:15 pm EDT.


Giving to Make a Difference
July’s TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, is Giving to Make a Difference. Promote family literacy with your own family or tell others about this free feature that incorporates books on a common theme for readers of all ages, activity ideas to go along with the theme, and prompts to build effective reading strategies while enjoying family reading time.  Share TogetheRead for free—a real winner in hard times. If your school has lost its librarian due to funding cuts, you’ll want to share TogetheRead with your teaching colleagues and parents come back to school time. Take the book list to your local library or electronic book search at school.


This week’s XW1W question: Do you ever eat outside? 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.


This week’s TeachersFirst 3.0 BEST FIND
Summer is the time for touring new places. TeachersFirst knows you rarely have time to just window shop for web sites and teaching ideas during the school year. This is the perfect time to browse TeachersFirst by subject and grade. If you are looking for something to energize you for the coming school year, try clicking on a subject and level (elementary/middle/high) to discover hundreds of teacher-reviewed resources for that subject/grade. Use the handy sorting tool at the top of each page to arrange by most recent, alphabetical, or most viewed. Happy window shopping!


TeachersFirst 3.0 on the go
You aren’t likely to be sitting at home on the computer these days. Don’t miss the chance to explore great teaching resources while you wait in line or sit on the beach. Wherever you are, we’ll be there.  TeachersFirst 3.0 is designed with your mobile device in mind. Members can even mark a Favorite or two while you are on the go.


This Week's Poll
How do you learn to use a new tech tool? Choose from the options and share your response to the Weekly Poll front and center on the TeachersFirst home page. Vote and see the current poll results instantly!


Tell the world that you’re a Thinking Teacher!
In these days of teacher bashing, it is even more important to show the world your pride in the profession. TeachersFirst watches what people say about us on blogs and tweets. Soon, we will be surprising random teachers who spread the word about TeachersFirst with a shirt to tell the world YOU are a Thinking Teacher. If you have a blog or web page, write a post about TeachersFirst. Tweet to tell people what the Thinking Teachers do well. Share TeachersFirst on Facebook. Stay tuned for more details on how you can proudly “wear” your profession for all to see.


Member Freebie!
Our transition to full TeachersFirst 3.0 member features is well along the way. Try logging in to your FREE membership and marking favorites and tagging them by unit or subject, or whatever helps you stay organized. Not a member yet? Join for free. TeachersFirst is dedicated to remaining free for teachers. Member features save you even more time. A brand new system will be available in time for the 2011-12 school year for you to share your choices of TeachersFirst Favs on a public page for students and parents to see. Click to share, and it’s there! Coming soon.

Those who receive our Update emails are not automatically “members.” You have to sign up. 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.)


Featured Sites
This week’s featured sites include timely choices and many terrific tools for YOUR summer learning:

  • Harry Potter amazement
  • Two comprehensive classroom collaboration tools
  • Inspired writing and blogging
  • A quick search whiz with audio!
  • A video grabber
  • Another comic maker
  • World problem solving
  • A publication design tool
  • And more.

Don’t miss all our recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your week bring you a chance to play and a chance to learn something unexpected.


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