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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Back to School season has festooned the stores since June, but is reality for every student and teacher in August. As you make the transition to the school year routine, don’t miss the extra help TeachersFirst offers – free and ad-free. We don’t forget about school and shift to Halloween after September 1. We are with you for the exciting duration of 2011-12. If you are still savoring the last vestiges of summer, we’ll be here when you are ready.


TeachersFirst Members go “public”
Exciting new member features are now available on TF 3.0—free, as always. When you log in, your "My Start Page" tab includes a link to Update your profile (change password, school, subjects, email address, etc.) and another link to Add/edit your "public page." A TeachersFirst “public page” will display some or all of your TeachersFirst Favorites so students and parents can easily find the same resources you have come to trust. Your public page displays any brief NOTES you add to a Fav, such as things students should do at that site. When you save or edit a Favorite, you can elect to share it by clicking the checkbox to “Share on your public page.” If you write Notes with it, these will show on your public page, as well.

Members can also add Favs from a mobile device using TeachersFirst 3.0’s  mobile friendly layout. Your new Favs will be on your public page for tomorrow's classes. The public page has space for announcements, schedule, contact info, etc. Another blessing of TeachersFirst’s public pages: schools do not block them!


Thinking Again
It’s August, and the Thinking Teachers at TeachersFirst are busy with new offerings for your young thinkers. 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. Together, we are all Thinking Teachers  -- Teaching Thinkers®.


First Day Ideas
Are you looking for a fresh way to get to know your students this school year? Try Getting to Know You lessons from TeachersFirst or choose from a full listing of First Day of School Icebreakers. Even if you don’t start for a couple more weeks, browse these ideas now to get a jump on your plans.


TeachersFirst BEST FINDS: Special Topics Collections
You are either already in school or preparing for school, so now is the perfect time to find and “Favorite” the Special Topics pages from TeachersFirst. Find resources for the tenth anniversary of 9/11, for Constitution Day, or for topics not specifically linked to a calendar date, such as Inventors and Inventions or Comics.  We continually add to each collection and add new special topics. Have a suggested topic? Send us a message via the Contact Us link in our page footers, subject: special topic suggestion. TeachersFirst listens!


On the Calendar
Ramadan began last week. Find resources for this and many other August/September events on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar,  front and center on the TeachersFirst home page. Holidays aren’t just for elementary students. You will also find “secondary” topics, including Constitution Day and Sept 11. How old were your students on that fateful day?


OK2Ask in August
August is a busy 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 these remaining sessions. Read the full descriptions and sign up now:

  • THIS WEEK! 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 August 7: What is in your pockets today? 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
On the first day of school it is MOST important that I...? Choose your most important priority for the first day in this week’s poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
There’s something for everyone in the featured sites this week! Find tools, interactive challenges, and professional resources:

  • A great UDL collection
  • A vocabulary challenge game
  • Math interactives for elementary
  • An energy simulation
  • A “world view” of clouds
  • Creative tools for avatars and sounds
  • Color basics
  • A timeline tool
  • An ancient site
  • Videos with CAPTIONS
  • And more

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


May your week be a summer s’more:  a lingering enjoyment of sweet relaxation time, sandwiched between crisp new ideas and the melting surprise of a new school year.


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