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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

In most parts of the U.S., we start this week by falling back. Later in the week, we pause to recognize veterans. May the extra hour you gain be put to good use. Maybe you will even find time to take a vet out for coffee. If you are a veteran, thanks for sharing your experience in our schools. The rest of us will be sure to thank a veteran this week.


November is for families
November’s TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, is Family History, Family Legacies. Build a family tree of literacy with 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 as families share reading.  Families will appreciate something they can do for FREE in these tough times. Share TogetheRead via a link on your class web page or online school newsletter, then give the book list to your local/school library for help finding the books for free. Library/media specialists can work wonders!


More reading suggestions
One of the all-time most popular sections for parents and teachers alike on TeachersFirst is our Suggested Reading database. Now including links to related lesson plans and web resources, these lists allow you to click an “interest” grade level to find good books. We continue to add more books on an ongoing basis. Share these pages via Facebook or many other tools with the handy “share” widget.


TeachersFirst Best Find: Professional Exclusives
TeachersFirst’s Thinking Teachers share terrific teaching ideas in every review we write, but did you know that we also offer teacher-to-teacher professional information with the same pragmatic, teacher-friendly approach?   Find inspiration and learn something new via these tutorials, articles, and resource collections. Topics include rubrics, wikis, web filtering, and much more. (Note that a few of these pages are still being “unpacked” from our recent move, but all are available.) Have a student teacher? Be sure to share TeachersFirst’s Professional Exclusives (under the TeachersFirst Exclusives tab) to make your life easier as you watch your newbie grow.


Money talk
Our students (and even adults today) have trouble understanding economics and basic financial literacy. TeachersFirst's Understanding Economics and Money, an Editors’ Choice collection, offers reviewed resources to improve understanding at an age-appropriate level. Whether you teach math or social studies, there are lesson ideas and interactive sites to make the abstract more approachable.


The long and the short of measurement
Measurement is on every math and science high stakes test. Trust TeachersFirst to help you find measurement resources for all grade levels so students can understand, practice and use measurement in their daily lives. TeachersFirst's Measurement Resources collection is a great place to start. Tip: clicking the “tags” at the end of a review description will help you find related resources, such as “conversion” or “mass.”


Thankful for November
The TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for November includes Native American Heritage Month, Election Day,  Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving.  Even secondary teachers will find useful resources for upper level classes among the many collections. Go directly to the calendar from the TeachersFirst home page and feel even more thankful for the timesaver!


Geo and Meri do more than maps
Geo and Meri are well on their way with Globetracker’s Mission. Teachers want to know where the Mission is headed. A full standards alignment and vocabulary list (to date) are just part of the helpful teacher edition for every episode. While your students in grades 2-6 travel North America, you will know that you are meeting curriculum requirements. The link to Globetracker’s Mission is always “Ready to Go” in the lower center of the TeachersFirst home page.


TeachersFirst Timesaver: home page “pods”
Click through to the most popular areas of TeachersFirst directly from our home page. Notice that Featured Sites, Ready to Go, and News and Updates pods have one to four pages to click quickly to offerings like Globetracker’s Mission, The Raven, Brain Twister, and Dates That Matter. Don’t miss these handy shortcuts to your favorite teaching resources! The TeachersFirst home page pods are just one of many timesaving features of TeachersFirst 3.0. Join us!


OK2Ask treats
Use up that leftover Halloween candy at OK2Ask™, our free, live, online "snack sessions" for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. You can join us on Monday, November 7 without even registering! Just show up on time. Read the details and register now for our mid-November offering to use your interactive whiteboard as a student-centered tool. See the full OK2Ask™ schedule for this school year. OK2Ask™ is found under the TeachersFirst Professional tab.

*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 post-Halloween treats!)

Hands Off, Vanna: Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard Learning
Wednesday, November 16 (two times) This session was a very popular offering at ISTE 2011.


This Week's Poll
What do you do to recognize Veterans Day in your classroom?? Share your plans by taking the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


XW1W question for the week of November 6: Who gets up earliest at your house?  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 ways to see, hear, and move:

  • Audio story collections for young and old
  • History via Twitter
  • Documentaries and book/movie connections
  • Economics and the federal budget
  • Character ed stories for little ones
  • Learning objects for almost any subject
  • Quickie animations made by you
  • Playground games

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


May you feel energized by that “extra” hour this week. Going home in the dark may take some getting used to!


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