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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Thanksgiving is every teacher’s dream: a day to spend time with family and to celebrate survival of the longest no-break stretch of the school year. As you stuff a little too much onto your plate, celebrate all the responsibilities that are OFF your plate for a little while. TeachersFirst will be here waiting for you when you dive back in, serving much more than leftovers!


Shopper alert!
It’s shopping season again. You can support TeachersFirst simply by doing your usual shopping at Amazon. Enter the Amazon site via the link at the bottom of our Reading for All page and make your purchase during that visit. TeachersFirst earns a percentage of the profits from the sales using this entry point. Help us continue our free, ad-free service to teachers. Our non-profit parent company, The Source for Learning, appreciates your urge to shop ‘til you drop.


Not every Friday is "black" Friday
Throughout November, our Editor’s blog, Think Like a Teacher, is featuring weekly posts about things for which teachers can be thankful, especially this Thinking Teacher. We welcome your comments!


History that matters
Kids often learn factoids about “this day in history,” but rarely do they make connections about why these events matter. This week we commemorate the assassination of President Kennedy, a long-gone event to our students and many teachers. Explore Dates That Matter each day and follow question prompts to connect the context behind today’s event. Dates That Matter is mobile-friendly and always available front and center under “Ready to Go” on the TeachersFirst home page. Make every day a date that matters.


Student buffet?
Sometimes it feels like our classrooms have a little of everything: a gifted student, a learning support student or two or three, some ELL students, and... a smorgasbord of individuals with differing needs. TeachersFirst’s Differentiating Instruction: Ideas for individual differences offers ideas and resources to help. After the leftovers cool, check it out as a new “buffet” of ideas to take to school. No brown bag needed.


Time to be thankful
Hooray! It’s time for Thanksgiving, the holiday that marks the end of a very long stretch for teachers. We know what it means to give thanks! Pearl Harbor Day  is just around the corner. Find resources for these and many upcoming events at the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


You can see the world!
Help your students to see beyond their own small world into life in other places. Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) offers an easy way to spend just a moment or two of class time to help students think about everyday life in other corners of the world. Share responses about life where you live and learn about others with Across the World Once a Week (XW1W). This quick activity uses microblogging and something called a hashtag. It’s easy! Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ. Tell your teacher friends!
XW1W for the week of November 11: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? How? 


Do you LIVE science?
This fall, TeachersFirst has been piloting an amazing project for middle level science: MySciLife. During the second half of the school year, we may be adding a limited number of teachers to the pilot. If you are a science teacher in grades 6-9 who might be interested or simply are curious about what innovative, student-centered science learning looks like, check out the video introductions for students/parents and for teachers on the MySciLife page. Some of you may recognize MySciLife as the project that achieved finalist status in the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning grant competition.


One or two special teachers
TeachersFirst’s review team of experienced, Thinking Teachers is looking for one or two new additions. Reviewers MUST have the following qualifications:

  • Familiarity with TeachersFirst
  • Strong writing skills
  • Minimum of five years classroom teaching experience

For more information and to express an interest, use the Contact Us link on TeachersFirst no later than November 23. Be sure to mention the Review Team in your subject line. Tell us how well you know TeachersFirst and your teaching area/experience.


OK2Ask® Holiday Hiatus
We know that the last thing you have time for is yourself during the holiday season. We take a break from our free, online OK2Ask® sessions for teacher professional development between Thanksgiving and New Years so you can savor the time with family and friends. Look forward to a self-indulgent learning treat for yourself in January with OK2Ask in 2013. Registration opens December 1, and you can preview the full schedule through May, 2013 now.


Clues on the move
Geo and Meri have found a big clue in South America and are on the move to yet another country this week. Our two teens continue their worldwide Globetracker’s Mission as readers choose what happens next. Readers in grades 2-6 learn geography, map skills, landforms, and more. Globetracker’s Mission is Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page. Fire up your projector to share the teens’ blog. A new episode appears every Sunday. (There will be a holiday hiatus to coincide with school breaks in December so your class can stay caught up.)


Turkey? Football? Relaxation?
How do you plan to spend Thanksgiving break? Respond to the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find resources from early childhood to career-ready:

  • A fabulous journalism site
  • No registration required brainstorming tool
  • Oceans, candy, and body system science sites
  • Learning fun for the very young
  • Guided Math lesson ideas
  • The real George Washington
  • A new look at a classic book
  • Tools for video, comics, gaming, and annotating web pages

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this November 25 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived November 18 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your learning buffet this shortened week include a student or two who says “Thanks!”


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