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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Sometimes it’s the side conversations in our classrooms that students remember the most. As we focus on curriculum, our students love the moments when we “digress” to discuss world events and issues that are in the news now. TeachersFirst offers resources and ideas to reconnect curriculum with what’s current.


Vote for learning
In case you had not noticed, it’s election season in the U.S. Find meaningful ways to connect what is happening in your classroom with the elections using TeachersFirst’s  Resources for Elections (Editor’s Choices). This collection includes both current and historic election resources so your students can learn, interact, and compare. Many of our reviews include classroom ideas beyond just social studies/government class. How about math or persuasive writing ideas related to the election? Reading comprehension practice? Almost any subject area can connect to this hot news topic.


Less than a week away
Geo and Meri leave home Sunday, Sept 30, on Globetracker’s Mission: Finding Dewey. The introductory episode is online now, ready for you to introduce social studies classes in grades 2-6 to the blogging teens who share their travels across seven continents between now and April. Then follow new weekly episodes  and vote to help Geo and Meri decide what to do next. See complete teacher info and lesson ideas for the Mission. Classes can also follow the teens on Twitter! Globetracker’s Mission has proven to be a more effective, engaging way for students to master standards-aligned map skills, landforms, and geography terms and concepts.


Noteworthy days, weeks, and months
National Hispanic Heritage Month has already begun. October brings Bullying Prevention Month and Dinosaur Month. National Fire Prevention Week begins October 7. Find resources for these and other upcoming occasions and learning opportunities on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
Share the details of life where you live and learn about others with Across the World Once a Week (XW1W). This quick activity 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 September 23: What food signals "autumn” where you live? 


Relax and learn
This week begins a great season of TeachersFirst’s OK2Ask® free, online professional development “snack sessions.” See ideas, explore “hands-on,” and leave with something you can use tomorrow.  See the full schedule from now until May, 2013. These sessions are teacher-friendly, even if you have never tried an online learning session. The high number of returnees tells us that OK2Ask is just the learning “snack” that teachers need. Professional development certificates are available for those who participate fully. Register now for these sessions coming soon (all meet 7:00-8:15 pm Eastern time):

Great Timesavers: Tools and Tips to Maximize TeachersFirst’s free Membership; Monday September 24 (There is still room! If you missed registration, simply arrive in time to claim a standby seat.)

Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and tools for Learning Support, Speech/language, Emotional Support, and More; Thursday October 11

Google Earth: Take Your Lessons INTO This World; Monday October 22

Inspiring and Implementing: Sharing and Solutions for Technology Coaches/trainers; Thursday November 8

Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Thursday November 15


Which works for you?  
Which offers you the best professional learning?
Click your choice from the options in the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Trying to get up to speed with Twitter? Curious about what to do with your class wiki? Looking for ideas for student bloggers? TeachersFirst’s Professional Exclusives promote proven ideas (and practical tips) from experienced, Thinking Teachers on many teaching and tech topics. Explore on your own or along with a teaching buddy. You will find just what you need for FREE from a trusted source. If you learn from a page, click the “Share” widget to Like it on Facebook.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find timely resources, inspiration, and terrific tools:

  • Bullying Prevention
  • Issues from all sides
  • A GREAT map overlay tool
  • Quotations for math maniacs
  • Personal finance and economic tips
  • A duo of Inspirational science sites
  • Primary grade learning interactives
  • A free plagiarism checker
  • A marvelous way to make web “collections”

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Sept 30 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived September 23 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your students exclaim the connections between the events inside and curriculum inside of school this week.


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