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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

As you dive into the madness between Thanksgiving and Winter break, rest assured that TeachersFirst is here for you like the old favorite candy, Now and Later. Find what you need NOW! or come back to read this Update later.  The former Featured Sites of the week move into our Featured Sites archive in case you don’t have time to browse in detail. We are here for you 365/24/7.


‘Tis the season
As you do your online holiday shopping, why not give a gift to TeachersFirst without spending an extra penny? If you enter the Amazon site through the search box on our Suggested Reading page and finalize your Amazon purchase during that session, TeachersFirst will receive a portion of the proceeds to help support our free service to teachers. Remember that your purchase must be completed during a session that begins at the TeachersFirst entry point. We HoHoHope you’ll help us!


Doing more with less?
If your school is one of many who have lost your library/media specialist due to budget cuts, TeachersFirst has a new feature to help: Help I Lost My Library/Media Specialist! We know that nothing can replace the expertise of the teacher-librarian who knows every student and connects teachers with resources, but we hope to fill at least part of the gap with readalong ideas and activities for elementary classes written by an experienced (and creative) elementary library/media specialist. New offerings appear about once a month. Use these books and ideas with your own class or as suggestions for parent volunteers. We hope budgets will ease soon, but in the meantime, a generation of students is growing up quickly. Let’s help them learn to love reading and discover the treasures of their library/media center.


Backwards, Forwards, Or From A New Angle
Speaking of reading, December arrives this week, and so will a new TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies. This month’s theme for books and activities to promote family literacy for ALL ages is Backwards, Forwards, Or From A New Angle. Give your school parents a gift of time together by suggesting TogetheRead for free or low cost time together. What a great way to spend the days after gift-opening and before the return to school in January! Learn more about TogetheRead in this information for teachers and librarians.


TeachersFirst Best Find: The Giving Tree Lesson
Every year, TeachersFirst’s Giving Tree Lesson is one of our most popular gifts for classes all over the world. Built on Shel Silverstein’s book, this lesson works with elementary to high school, driving home important messages about giving of oneself. Freshly revised with some technology options, the Giving Tree lesson plan is ready for your December plan book.


Pearl Harbor, Flying Wright, and other December events
Pearl Harbor day is December 7, and each year fewer students know anyone who was alive to tell the tale. December 17 is the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ historic flight. The month of December is designated as HIV/AIDS Awareness month. These and the more obvious holiday events of December fill our days with preparations and our classrooms with opportunities for learning. Find resources quickly at the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. No need to “shop” the Internet!


Locating Louie... and the standards
According to your students in grades 2-6, Globetracker’s Mission is fun. According to teachers, it is engaging, standards-based geography and more. Geo and Meri, the Mission’s teen protagonists share blog posts about their Mission each week. Each post has an accompanying Teacher’s Edition so you know exactly what vocabulary words and standards have been included so far. It’s not too late to join the Mission. Rewind to past episodes using the << episode link at the top of each post. Globetracker’s Mission is “Ready to Go” in the lower center of the TeachersFirst home page.


Resolve to save time: a new OK2Ask™ session
 Make 2012 the year you take advantage of TeachersFirst’s free member timesavers. OK2Ask™ is offering a new session January 12 on how to use the free, timesaving member features and tools built into TeachersFirst 3.0. Simply haven’t had time to play with your membership? This live, online “snack session” is for you. See the full OK2Ask™ schedule for the New Year. Registrations are open now for January sessions guranteed to inspire during winter’s dreary days. Put on your fuzzy slippers!

Great Timesavers: Tools and tips to maximize TeachersFirst's free membership; January 12, 2012; Read the details and register

The Best of the Best: A tour of 6-10 TeachersFirst Editors' Choice resources with in-depth ideas for how to use them; January 23, 2012; Read the details and register

Guided Wiki Walk:Step by step to create your own classroom wiki (TWO session workshop with “homework” between); Jan 30 AND Feb 6, 2012; Read the details and register


This Week's Poll
How will your holiday spending compare this year? Share your plans by taking the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


XW1W question for the week of November 27: What do you read every 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.


Featured Sites
It is “tools plus” week in our Featured Sites . Find “Edge” tools (sites where you can make something), time savers, study helpers, and informative sources you can rate, comment on, or mark as Favorites using FREE features of your FREE TeachersFirst membership):

  • Tools for writing and outlining
  • Inspiration for good character traits
  • A genetics simulation
  • Class wishlists- just in time for the holidays
  • A disposable web page maker
  • Instant screen sharing
  • Amazing maps
  • Two kinds of quizzes
  • A creative collection space

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


May you witness results in your classes now and watch the light bulbs of learning flash on again later.


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