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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

This is the time of year for firsts and favs. We have our favorite ways to begin a school year and always throw in (or experience) a few firsts. As we round the corner to September, TeachersFirst provides a place to discover firsts and to keep your favs.


Ready for an adventure?
Summer is barely ended, and already we itch to travel. This year, follow two intrepid teens as they lead your social studies students (grades 2-6) on Globetracker’s Mission: Finding Dewey. In just one week, we will unveil the introductory episode.  Over 85% of teachers who have used Globetracker’s Mission in past years tell us it is more effective than other teaching materials and strategies in helping students master map skills, geography terms, and landforms. Well over 90% say the Mission helps students apply geography concepts in new situations and master higher level thinking concepts related to geography and social studies. 100% of teachers report that Globetracker’s Mission makes students more curious about maps, geography, and/or social studies. Want to create global citizens? Join Globetracker’s Mission, returning September 2nd for 2012-2013.


Perfect Planning
As you start the new school year, don’t miss TeachersFirst’s exclusive lesson plans. This diverse, field-tested collection includes ideas across the grades and features award-winning, creative approaches to challenging concepts. All include classroom-friendly technology options and TeachersFirst’s usual, practical tips written by teachers who have been there. Be sure to leave a comment after you try one!


Front and Center: News and Updates
Chances are, you go directly to your favorite places on TeachersFirst without  spending much time on the home page. Before the new school year goes too far, take the time to notice the “pods” on our home page, especially News and Updates for the very latest. Cycle the arrows to see quick links to the latest and greatest additions.


9/11, Grandparents, and the Constitution
September is upon in a few days. With it come events like the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, Constitution Day, and Grandparents Day, just to name a few. Find resources for many occasions on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar, definitely a link worth sharing with your friends or pinning in Pinterest.


Teacher skeptics, read this
Teachers are natural skeptics (or maybe you call it “critical thinkers”?). Before you share TeachersFirst with a friend, why not share the story behind how we stay free? If ever there were a heartwarming way to tell teachers how much they matter, this is it. Read and share “How TeachersFirst Stays Free.”


Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
Make THIS the year you connect with worldwide classrooms—easily. 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 with just a moment or two of class time. XW1W for the week of August 26: What is the worst weather threat where you live? 


Coming soon
The full schedule for 2012-13 OK2Ask® sessions, September through May, will be announced next week. If you have never tried an online professional development session, make this the year you do! Think of OK2Ask as virtual chocolate for the Thinking Teacher. We even provide professional development certificates for those who participate fully. Watch for the schedule announcement next week.


Speed Check
Are you tired of waiting for web pages or videos to load in you classroom? A group of edtech folks is trying to collect real data on the true state of Internet connectivity in U.S. classrooms. 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 to improve connections for underserved classrooms. Pass it on.


First priority  
What is most important on the first day of school? Click your choice in the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, discover visuals, interactives, and tools to work together:

  • Financial literacy for younger “investors”
  • Provoking writing prompts
  • QR codes explained
  • Lab interactives
  • Safe email for youngsters
  • The tiniest of the tiny (nano)
  • Visual search results!
  • Twitter hashtags
  • Images you can use!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Sept 2 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived August 26 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May the firsts you encounter this week surpass even your favorites!


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