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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

The first day of spring is Tuesday, March 20. You could have fooled many of us in the eastern U.S. We have been having spring off and on since January. The up and down weather does not make it easy to focus on the annual rite of spring: testing. Don’t forget to use TeachersFirst’s keyword search to find specific curriculum review resources to focus young minds. Don’t wait for us to “feature” what you need. It is probably there in our database of 13,500+ resources!


De-stressing testing
What do you do to ease student stress during high stakes testing season? Click your response to the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Your comments count
Congratulations to Rita from Seattle for her winning comment of the month in February. Rita’s useful tips about Wridea are certain to help other teachers. Rita’s comment was drawn at random from all the helpful comments during February, and she received a free Thinking Teacher shirt. Use your free TeachersFirst membership to tell others how you use a TeachersFirst resource or to comment on why you gave it a certain rating. We want to hear from Thinking Teachers!


Wish us a happy birthday on Facebook
Stop by our Facebook page to tell us what you like about TeachersFirst. Our free, ad-free service will be 14 years old in April. Don’t you think a teenager deserves some recognition for doing good things? Help spread the word about TeachersFirst to other teacher friends. Can you help us hit 1,000 “Likes” in time for our mid-April birthday?


Reading to connect and learn
Students who read make connections. TeachersFirst’s CurriConnects help students connect curriculum concepts through independent reading. Each list includes books across several interest levels and Lexile® levels, so every student can be a successful reader. CurriConnects topics include Maps, Math in the Real World, Earth Science, Explorers, Inventors, and more. We even include ESL levels for your ELL/ESL students. Depending on the topic, lists include books from picture books through high school. NEW topics just added are Money, Money, Money and Books for Tough Situations. Share CurriConnects with your students, colleagues, and library/media specialist. If you have eReader devices, why not load some of the books for sustained silent reading time?


Fools, Baseball, and Poetry!
April will soon be here. Fortunately for teacher everywhere, April Fool’s day falls on a Sunday this year, thus avoiding the usual classroom pranks. Why not celebrate humor productively with comics and comic creation this April Fool’s? Baseball’s opening day and National Poetry Month are just two of the April offerings on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. April is loaded with ways to learn! Teachers at any grade level will find timely resources to support curriculum.


Sleepless in Seattle?
Geo and Meri trace Louie’s steps in Seattle this week on Globetracker’s Mission. As the excitement builds, Geo and Meri may end up sleepless due to a close call. Your students vote to tell Geo and Meri what to do next. Meanwhile, they will continue to learn standards-based map skills, geography and more.  (Shhhh! A hint to teachers on this year’s Mission:  The mission is scheduled to wrap up in mid-April, followed by a few weeks of review activities to pull it all together and recap what students have learned.) Too busy during test season to stay “with” the Mission? You can always rewind to prior episodes using the <<episode link at the top. Catch up with Geo and Meri when you have a chance.


What is she THINKING?
If you appreciate an occasional break to  just plain think and reflect, stop by our editor’s blog, Think Like a Teacher, to find out what  the lead “Thinking Teacher” is working on and wondering. Maybe you would like to comment and leave the link to your own teacher blog?


THREE new offerings from OK2Ask®
Want a Terrific Tuesday this week? Join the TeachersFirst editors for an OK2Ask® snack session about two of our latest “Editors’ Choice” tools. Drop by on time for either session from any computer. There is still space available. Bring a friend! Coming in April, we’ll share wisdom to erase web worries. In May, an award-winning elementary math teacher—one of our Thinking Teachers—will share a new session on Energizing Math. Don’t miss these free, online teacher professional development “snack sessions”  that you attend from the comfort of your own computer. Yes, we do provide professional development certificates. We will announce our summer OK2Ask® schedule in May.

Editors’ Choices from the TeachersFirst Edge: TeachersFirst Editors’ Top Picks; Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at two times; Read the details and register

Web Worries: What teachers should know about online behavior 
Thursday, April 12, 2012 at two times; Read the details and register

Energizing Math: ideas, resources, and collaboration for K-8 math teachers
Tues, May 22. ONE session 7-8:30 pm EDT ONLY; Read the details and register



Around the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W  for the week of Mar 18: Where do you watch movies? 
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, find sites from very basic to very intellectual!

  • Equations to explain non-math concepts
  • Math concepts shared visually
  • Alphabet practice
  • A deceptively simple search tool
  • Flowers for spring!
  • Copyright explained
  • New JFK archives
  • Hands-on science
  • A poster maker

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


May your class traverse the vernal equinox with a new “spring” in their step and important ideas in their minds.


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