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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Holiday music is filled with jingling bells and celebrations. How often do you jingle the bells about learning success? Teachers are entirely too shy about sharing the successes of their classrooms. TeachersFirst encourages you to toot your horn this week.


Tweeting teaching victories
Teachers rarely have a chance to tell the world about the little victories that happen every day in our classrooms. A fourth grader finally figured out fractions. A tenacious teen created an amazing video. Another finally rolled an “r” in Spanish class. Your kindergarteners wrote a song. Everyone passed the quiz on the toughest concept of the semester. #Eduwin! Don’t miss the most important featured site TeachersFirst is sharing this week, What is Your #Eduwin, a chance for you to stop, reflect—and share the real victories of learning. Tell the world the positive stories of U.S. education. You’ll learn a little about Twitter in the process. If #eduwin isn’t a reason to “tweet,” what is?


Make and... send electronically
There is still time for do-it-yourself holiday gifts created by you or your students using TeachersFirst's Special Occasion Ideas for the Classroom: TeachersFirst Editors' Choices. Find project ideas even the youngest of gift-givers can create using digital pictures, original writing, and more. No glitter or construction paper required.


A few of our Favorite things
No time to find a gift for a teacher friend? Save time and money by sharing Favorite TeachersFirst resources. With free TeachersFirst membership, you can mark Favorite resources within TeachersFirst and instantly share them on your teacher public page (comes automatically with your membership*). See what other teachers are marking as their Favorite things under the What’s Hot menu >> What’s Popular. In this case, the “popular ones” offer more than just a pretty face! Share What’s Popular with a friend using the “share” widget at the top. *If you would like to know more about using the free features of TeachersFirst membership, why not join us in January for Ok2Ask™ (see below)?


Wrap up your shopping
Finish your holiday shopping at TeachersFirst. Your Amazon gifts can give twice—once to the recipient and again to TeachersFirst—without spending an extra cent. Enter Amazon 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. Your purchase must be completed during a session that begins at the TeachersFirst entry point. Thank you for thinking of us. In this case, the thought really does count!


The gift of selflessness
Over the years, TeachersFirst’s Giving Tree Lesson has celebrated selflessness ‘round the world. Built on Shel Silverstein’s book, this lesson fits from elementary to high school, driving home important messages about giving of oneself. Check out the new technology options in the Giving Tree lesson plan, ready for your last-minute December plans. One class period can make a difference in how we all view the holidays.


Teaching time is here
Dec 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 and our time. Find resources quickly at the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Headin’ for a holiday
Geo and Meri are in Arkansas this week on Globetracker’s Mission. In one more week, they will be visiting  a location worthy of a holiday break. The teens will be on hiatus over the holidays, keeping the same episode online for the weeks of December 18 and 25 and moving on to a new location on January 1st. Even if you miss an episode, you can always “rewind” using the <<episode link at the top of any episode.


No time now, but in January!
Set aside some “me” time for OK2Ask™ in January. Join our new session on TeachersFirst’s free member timesavers, start a class wiki, or tour the Best of the Best. These live, online “snack sessions” are perfect for post-holiday relaxation. And they won’t add to your credit card bills. They are FREE! See the full OK2Ask™ schedule. Registrations are open now:

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
For whom does your school do a holiday service project? Share your thoughts by taking the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


XW1W question for the week of December 11: How many musical instruments are in your home? 
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 in our Featured Sites, you will find some strikingly different resources:

  • Two kid-friendly current events sites (with bonus features)
  • A tool to calculate your slavery footprint
  • Two great tools for ELL (and other) students
  • Kids stories in video, audio, and more
  • An amazing look at the physics of swimming
  • Math to engage the clever and the reluctant
  • Superlative searching with a “grok”
  • A place to meet  and tutor online
  • Sensational science videos!

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


May your week bring dashing surprises and a few laughs.


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