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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

This is American Education Week.  Some schools open their doors to the community for visitors to attend classes. Others offer special newsletters or features on their web site to celebrate learning. Many schools recognize the support professionals and volunteers who make our schools run smoothly. Whether your school “celebrates” American Ed Week officially or not, we want you to know that The Source for Learning, our non-profit parent company, celebrates you everyday by providing TeachersFirst as a free, ad-free service to the Thinking Teachers who serve children and teens. Thanks for all that you do.


Reading, reading anywhere
Reading is more than an elementary subject. Without it, our students cannot succeed in calculus, chemistry, or world language class. TeachersFirst offers many ways to build and reinforce reading skills, from thousands of reviewed resources for primary phonics and sight words to ideas for building vocabulary and comprehension—even in secondary content areas. Your students can find independent reading options to correlate with current classroom topics or simply for enjoyment. We even offer sources of interactive and audio books (with text). Elementary and middle school teachers will love ideas for building literacy using web 2.0 tools. Now there is no excuse for student literacy skills to stagnate. TeachersFirst membes can share their favorite reading resources from TeachersFirst on their teacher public page so students and parents can access them anytime, anywhere.


TeachersFirst Best Find: writing prompt resources
Writing is learning, whether in math class or English/Language Arts. Inspire students to write (and THINK) using the many educator-reviewed writing prompt resources from TeachersFirst. Encourage creativity, higher level thinking, and written expression, while offering student choice. These offerings include both visual and verbal prompts, as well as some slightly surprising idea generators. Adapt these ideas to fit any subject or curriculum topic.


Talking turkey and more serious topics
The TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar offers resources for date-related topics such as Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month with one click.  Secondary teachers will find calendar resources for serious topics in upper level classes. Click to the calendar from the TeachersFirst home page. Look ahead now for resources related to Pearl Harbor/World War II, HIV/Aids Awareness and December gift giving events.


Geo and Meri, the “wonder”ful teens
Geo and Meri are a curious pair. As the teens travel on Globetracker’s Mission, their weekly blog posts include the think aloud questions you wish your students would ask. Geo ponders “why?” about cultural variations, natural resources, and geographic features. Even Pandora, the teen’s little sister, chimes in with occasional questions. If your class would like to know about the Mission, why not tweet a question to @geoandmeri? You never know what you might learn! As your students in grades 2-6 follow the teens’ travels, they will wonder more on their own, too—and learn more! The link to Globetracker’s Mission is always “Ready to Go” in the lower center of the TeachersFirst home page.


OK2Ask for your interactive whiteboard
There is one more OK2Ask™ offering before we “break” for teachers’ busy holiday season. If you have an interactive whiteboard—or work with teachers who do—don’t miss our November 16 free, live, online "snack sessions" for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. Make your interactive whiteboard a student-centered learning tool! Read the details and register now. See the full OK2Ask™ schedule for after the New Year, including a NEW addition focused on the FREE, timesaving tools of TeachersFirst membership (Jan 12, 2012). Can’t remember where to find OK2Ask™? Look under the TeachersFirst Professional tab.

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
How will your school celebrate American Ed Week? (Nov 14-18) Share your school’s plans by taking the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


XW1W question for the week of November 14: When does your family eat together?  
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 MANY choices you can rate, comment on, or mark as Favorites and SHARE on your TeachersFirst public page (all FREE options of FREE TeachersFirst membership):

  • Exquisite Monet
  • A musical look at words
  • Charts every day
  • Financial literacy for middle schoolers
  • Video collections for ESL, science, and math
  • Organization for your tasks
  • Podcasting practice and fun
  • A great way to learn map skills
  • Many languages

And more. Don’t miss all our recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page. We have so many new additions, we simply cannot feature enough!


Thank a parent volunteer or paraprofessional this week. Where would we be without their support?

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