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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Many schools have inservice on Columbus Day. You may be attending workshops at your school or learning about a new initiative. Remember that TeachersFirst offers professional development you want just when you want it, written by Thinking Teachers like you and ready 24/7.


Nevermore will your students have to learn about poetry and literary devices via scribbled notes on a handout. TeachersFirst’s Interactive Raven is our all-time most popular “Exclusive” lesson, always Ready to Go for your projector, interactive whiteboard, or individual student computers. Leverage Poe’s powerful poetry just in time for this haunting season.


Explorers Graveyard
If you teach about explorers at the start of your U.S. history curriculum in elementary or middle school, you’ll love this lesson idea to wrap up the unit just in time for Halloween. The graveyard idea is easily (eerily?) adaptable for other topics, as explained in the Options section.


TeachersFirst Best Find: CurriConnects
Is your school missing its library media specialist because of funding cuts? Do you wish you could reinforce curriculum through students’ independent reading? TeacherFirst’s CurriConnects does the legwork, offering leveled book lists to connect frequent curriculum topics such as Earth Science, Explorers, Frontiers and Settlers, Geographic Wonders (landforms), Inventors and Inventions, Maps, Math in Use, Medicine and Health, The Artists's Eye (books with outstanding illustrations and books about artists), and What Do You Do? (careers). Lexile® levels make it easy to differentiate for different reading abilities. As the Common Core standards require subject area literacy, these lists can help. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students connect new to prior knowledge. More topics are added on an ongoing basis. Grade ranges vary.


October Events
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. It is also International Dinosaur Month. We are busy with National Fire Prevention Week, Columbus Day, Earth Science Week, and Red Ribbon Week. Of course, there are Fall Festivals and Halloween celebrations. Let TeachersFirst’s Classroom Planning Calendar,  front and center on our home page, help you prepare.


See North America
Holy Idaho! This year’s Globetracker’s Mission preview episode is online. Plan to travel along throughout North America on your classroom projector using the Google Earth file linked at the top of each episode to trace Geo and Meri’s path throughout the Mission. Your students in grades 2-6 will learn standards-aligned geography, map skills, landforms, and more just by following this weekly blog. Vote to decide what the teens should do each week. Preview now and follow new weekly episodes beginning October 23 through the end of April. Don’t have Google Earth? Don’t worry. Geo and Meri share Globetracker’s Mission very well through words and photos.


Relax and Learn
There’s no better professional pick-me-up than an OK2Ask™ afterschool snack with fellow teachers. This series of free, live, online "snack sessions" for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration works from any online computer. We provide professional development certificates, as well.  Register now for these coming offerings and see the full OK2Ask™ schedule for this school year. You can always find OK2Ask™ under TeachersFirst’s Professional tab.

Google Earth: Take your lessons INTO this world; Tuesday, October 18, 2011 (two times)

*Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Monday, November 7, 2011 (two times)
(*an ideal session for tech trainers trying to lure reluctant teachers)


This Week's Poll
Should teachers be responsible for verifying student immigration status? Tell us how you feel about laws that require teachers to do so. Take the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


XW1W question for the week of October 9: Do you walk to school? How far?
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.


Featured Sites
This week’s Featured Sites include new ways to visualize and new angles on learning:

  • A trio of marvelous math
  • Two great literacy sites
  • Grammar
  • All natural, scientific approaches to beauty
  • Culture interactives
  • Ways to visualize concepts, foods, and pdfs
  • Audio books

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


May this week offer the opportunity for you and your students to learn on your own terms.


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