TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List


Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Some teachers are wrapping up grad classes, summer “moonlighting” jobs, or beach trips, while others are back in the classroom this week. Whatever your August schedule, stay cool and stay hydrated! This is a busy time for all of us.


Back on Schedule
It’s August, and the Thinking Teachers at TeachersFirst are back in full Back to School mode. What’s new each week at TeachersFirst? We keep things fresh with this weekly Update, and editor’s blog post, Featured Sites, a weekly Brain Twister, additions to the Classroom Planning Calendar, XW1W, and—of course—tweets from @teachersfirst. And you thought you were the busiest teacher in the world!


A Trip into Family Literacy
Just in time for end of summer travel, our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, is offering Transportation and Travel as the August TogetheRead theme for family literacy (for ALL ages, not just little ones). Take a journey into TogetheRead, a free feature that offers books for all ages around a common theme -- and activity ideas to go along with them. Built in are prompts to build effective reading strategies as families share reading. Include the TogetheRead link on your class web page or back to school newsletter, and be sure to give the book list to your local/school library for help finding the books for free. Bon Voyage!


First Day Ideas
Some schools open early in August. If you are looking for a fresh way to start the new year and get to know your students, try Getting to Know You lessons from TeachersFirst or choose from a full listing of First Day of School Icebreakers. Not in school for another month? Browse these ideas now to get a jump on your plans.


A TeachersFirst BEST FIND: Dates That Matter
If you are looking for a “hook” to get students back into learning, try Dates That Matter. Ready for your projector or interactive whiteboard, this daily feature begins with a prompt about something that happened today in history. Instead of simply giving students a factoid, the hint continues with prompts to help viewers connect the event to what they already know, adding context and relevance to these daily puzzles. Click at the end to learn more. You and your students will get hooked. Designed for middle schoolers, Dates That Matter is easily adaptable up or down—and useful at Back to School Night to intrigue mom and dad.


OK2Ask in August
August is a great time for OK2Ask™ . These free, online snack sessions for teacher self-guided professional development are accessible from any computer with a high speed connection. No special “techie” expertise required. We issue Professional Development Certificates to those who meet the requirements, and you get to “meet” teachers from all over. Space is limited, so sign up early for these free offerings. Registration is now open for all August sessions. Read the full descriptions and sign up now:

  • Great Ideas! Exploring the Resources of the new TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Thurs, August 4, 2011; One session only: 6:00-7:15 pm EDT
  • Wiki Workshop: An open help session and time for teachers to ask questions, help each other. *PREREQUISITE -- see description. (Extended time session); Tuesday Aug 9, 2011. ONE time block only 3:30-5:30 pm EDT
  • Editors’ Choices from the TeachersFirst Edge: TeachersFirst Editors’ Top Three Picks (Extended time session); Tuesday, August 16, 2011; ONE time block only 3:30-5:30 pm EDT
  • Project options from the TeachersFirst Edge: A focused workshop using Google Docs (Extended time session); Thursday, August 18, 2011; ONE time block only 3:30-5:30 pm EDT.


XW1W question for the week of July 31: When is your start of the new school year? 
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 Poll
Which prepares YOU best as a teacher for the first day of school? Choose your preferred option to prepare for the Big Day in this week’s poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Are you 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. We have started surprising 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 your favorite portions of TeachersFirst. Share TeachersFirst on Facebook. You may be the next to hear from us!


Almost there
Our transition to full TeachersFirst 3.0 member features is nearly complete. Member features save you precious time. Try logging in to your FREE membership, marking TeachersFirst favorites and tagging them by unit, subject, or project to help you stay organized. Not a member yet? Join for free. TeachersFirst is and will remain free for teachers. Shortly, a click will display your TeachersFirst Favs on a “public page” for students and parents to see. Click to share—coming very soon.

Note that those who receive these Updates via email may or may not be TeachersFirst “members.” You have to sign up. Learn 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
It’s SCIENCE and MORE in the featured sites this week! Find science sites galore and some surprising tools and treasures:

  • An instant chart/graph maker
  • Fast Food nutrition(?)
  • Elementary science interactives
  • Two microbial marvels
  • A closeup of erosion
  • A collaborative list making tool
  • The Diary of a Worm (!)
  • A file-sharing tool duo
  • And more

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

May the hottest thing you encounter this week be a new idea for teaching and learning!

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