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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Figurative language labels August as the “dog days.” For teachers, these are often work-like-a-dog days as we get ready for a fresh start of school. TeachersFirst tries to be your “best friend” during “dog days,” sharing just what you need and staying right by your side, ready to help.


Share and share alike
Have you noticed? Every page on TeachersFirst has a small “Share” widget with multiple options for where to send the link to that page. Share via Facebook, email, Diigo, Twitter, or Pinterest, among many more. Once you click “Share,” you will see the long list of choices. You can even send a single resource review to a teaching buddy. Give your friends the gift of great teaching ideas.


Getting Ready
As you prep for the start of school this week or later this month, don’t miss many professional resources to make your life easier. Try TeachersFirst’s thought-provoking Bulletin Board Hang-ups. Find quote to inspire any class, ready to print and post! Plan for positive parent relationships with our ideas for working with parents.


How “connected” is your classroom?
Ever wonder why your Internet connection at school seems slow or cannot access some sites? Does your school block Google Earth and other services with live updating? Your school Internet connection (“bandwidth”) may not be as strong as it needs to be to support today’s Internet. (This is a budget issue for many schools.) A group of edtech folks is trying to collect real data on the state of Internet connectivity in U.S. schools. Fill out a form to join the efforts for a quick September click-test of your school’s bandwidth. No geekiness required. This data collection will support your teaching efforts and provide ammunition for those seeking improved connections for underserved classrooms. Pass it on.


Read, think, wonder, inspire
Blogs can inspire deep thoughts or possibilities for the new school year. Don’t miss our Editor’s blog and many teacher blogs (or try a Google search for “teacher blog”) to make you think, wonder,  and feel pride in your profession. Thinking about blogging with your students this year? TeachersFirst’s Blog Basics for the Classroom will help you get started. We compare blog tools, share tips for working with school policies, and offer ideas for student blogging in any subject or grade.


Connect and ask
August is Connected Educators Month. Connect yourself with new professional learning via OK2Ask®, our free, live, online professional development “snack sessions.” You will meet other teachers, gain some hands-on practice with new resources and teaching ideas and have a chance to ASK anything. It’s OK2Ask®. These small sessions allow for plenty of individual help from the tech timid to the most savvy. Read the full descriptions and sign up to join us. Note that times vary!

School Year KickOff: Get off to a great start with TeachersFirst’s ready to go lessons, interactives, and professional resources;
Tues August 7; 7:00 - 8:15 EDT

Light up Literacy: PreK-3 Reading/Language Arts Ideas and Resources; 
Thurs August 9; 7:00 - 8:15 EDT

Energizing Math: ideas, resources, and collaboration for K-8 math teachers; 
Tues August 14; 7:00 - 8:30 EDT

Google Docs(Drive): A focused workshop on forms and documents only; 
Thurs August 16; 6:00 - 8:00 EDT

Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective Technology-Infused Lessons;
Tues August 21; 7:00 - 8:15 EDT

Web Worries: What teachers should know about online behavior; 
Thurs August 23; 7:00 - 8:15 EDT


Handy collections- just in time
Explore TeachersFirst’s Special Topics collections. Our Special Topics include many important occasions such as Constitution Day, Study Skills, September 11, Elections, as well as holidays and other calendar events. There are seventy-nine special topics collections, and we keep adding more. Don’t miss our imaginative ice-breakers for the first day (or week) of school and Getting to Know You activities. If you fell behind reading email Updates this summer, you can catch up on all the archived Featured Sites, too.


Gold, silver, bronze
Make learning a medal opportunity if you are in class during the Olympics. Find resources for the Olympics and other upcoming events on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. TeachersFirst is ready when you need us.


What do you do first?
The first thing I do to prepare for a new school year is...? Tell us your answer
in the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W  for the week of August 5: How far do you walk each 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
This week in our Featured Sites, find diverse delights for learning:

  • A “frank” site about drugs and alcohol
  • Voracious vocabulary
  • A handy password tool
  • Everyday inventions
  • A CO2 environmental simulation
  • Skype strategies for schools
  • Shakespeare
  • A new way to view world data

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


May you find some unexpected refreshment and relaxation this week as you gear up for the months ahead.


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