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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Labor Day weekend: the official end of summer. We “celebrate” by balancing lesson plans, the start of fall sports seasons, our own kids’ new activities, and maybe a family picnic. It seems that the energy from the sun’s waning daylight hours goes directly into juggling all the things we restart at Labor Day.


Just in Time
The tenth anniversary of Sept 11 approaches, as does Constitution Day (Sept 17). As you juggle new classes at the start of a new school year, TeachersFirst can help you find resources quickly for September events on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar, front and center on the TeachersFirst home page. Plan now for International Literacy Day, National Hispanic Heritage Month, and events in October.


This Week's Poll
To commemorate Sept 11, my classes will... Tell us what you will do to help today’s students understand this anniversary. Take the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


TeachersFirst Twister goes mobile (or iTouch):
If you teach upper elementary or middle school and want to challenge your students, don’t miss the newly redesigned Weekly Brain Twister from TeachersFirst. Now formatted to be “mobile friendly,” the Twister changes every Friday and presents students with ten questions from across the curriculum (and current events) to make them think. If you have a set of wifi iTouches or simply want to offer a challenge to students at a center or IWB “sidebar,” try the Twister. Don’t forget to share the link for students to access outside of class. You’ll find the Twister—in both elementary and middle school versions—front and center on the TeachersFirst home page and in our Ready to Go collection in the Classroom tab. Now you can Brain Twist on the sidelines at soccer!


XW1W question for the week of Sept 4: How many different teachers do you have for class each day?
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.


Hang out with the popular ones
Do you wonder what other teachers are talking about? Don’t miss the “What’s Hot” tab on TeachersFirst for timely and popular content on our site. Especially “cool” is our What’s Popular page, showing the TeachersFirst resources most often marked as Favorites during the past 60 days.


OK2Ask™ for 2011-2012
Teachers need time to learn and to share with teaching colleagues, but how do we fit professional development into our crazy days? OK2Ask™ from TeachersFirst is a series of free, live, online "snack sessions" for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration (available both live and in archived format). Scheduled at convenient times for you to attend from any computer, OK2Ask helps you discover great ideas you can use in your classroom, courtesy of TeachersFirst's Thinking Teachers. You can access archived recordings to get a taste of OK2Ask™. The schedule for this school year is now posted. For complete information and FAQs, see the OK2Ask section in TeachersFirst’s Professional tab. Register now for our first offering of the school year:

  • Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The power of graphic organizers
Today’s visual students “see” concepts and how they are connected using concept maps or graphic organizers. The Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst have reviewed many great graphic organizer tools. We also offer ideas how students can use graphic organizers “in the classroom” portion of many resource reviews.  See solid ideas and tools for using mind maps, graphic organizers, concept maps (or whatever you choose to call them) in this extensive collection from TeachersFirst.


Featured Sites
This week’s Featured Sites include numbers, measures, maps, and more:

  • Music and math together
  • Conversions for ANY measurement or unit
  • Two early literacy treasures
  • Perplexing puzzles
  • Financial literacy
  • STEM activities shared among teachers
  • Number lines for the IWB
  • Map practice
  • Cybersafety
  • And more

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


May your week bring new-found energy drawn from sun, fun, family, and a long weekend.

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