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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

It's hard to believe that we pay so much “attention” to what a groundhog does at dawn. We would be better off watching what our students do as they stumble out of their burrows each morning. Do they see a shadow of something that makes them curious? Perhaps curious enough to wake them up as thinkers? TeachersFirst has just what you need: Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers.


Inventors and Inventions
We often hear about the innovation shortage and the need for design thinkers. National Inventors Day—Thomas Edison’s birthday (Feb11) is the perfect time to inspire innovation in your students, even if you can’t spend a lot of class time on it. Share some links and activity ideas from our Inventors and Inventions collection on your class web site or recommend independent reading selections from our Inventors and Inventions CurriConnects list. You never know what kind of entrepreneurs you may inspire. Sometimes that unusual student who sits quietly or stares out the window turns out to be another Steve Jobs.


It is a challenge to stay up to date on everything a teacher must know. TeachersFirst has special collections for must-know topics, ready to help when you need them. Our recent OK2Ask attendees thought we should point this out to you! What TeachersFirst page do YOU think is worthy of an Update mention? Let us know via the Contact US link in our page footers!


After the groundhog
February is Black History Month and Dental Health Month. Next weekend is Chinese New Year.  Valentines Day is just around the corner. Even secondary teachers will appreciate the resources for Presidents' Day. Find resources for these events and more on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Famous and Not-so
The February theme from TogetheRead is Real People: True stories of the famous and not so famous. Share this family literacy feature from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, with your students and parents, even the high schoolers! TogetheRead offers book selections for all ages centered around a common theme, questions and prompts to promote effective reading strategies, and free or low-cost, related activities. And it’s all free! Tell your school or public library/media specialist to sign up for advanced lists of upcoming themes.


Fabulous February (and the rest of the year)
OK2Ask® is a great way to warm up from the cold weather. Choose from a trio of February offerings. Registration is now open for several spring OK2Ask® FREE sessions. Join us for friendly, live, online sessions for self-directed professional development. Most sessions are 75 minutes, but please read the details of each. Check for times and descriptions to register NOW:

Google Goodies! Hidden Treasures and Teacher Favorites; Thursday February 7

Light up Literacy: PreK-3 Reading/Language Arts Ideas and Resources; Monday February 11

Wiki Workshop: An Open Help and Collaboration Session (Extended Time Session); Monday February 25

Hands Off, Vanna: Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard Learning; Thursday March 7

Blooms 2.0: Promoting ALL levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy through Technology; Monday March 11

Sharing and Solutions for Technology Coaches/Trainers (60 min session); Thursday March 21

Now I See! Infographics as content scaffold and creative, formative assessment... even if you don’t think visually; Thursday April 11

One to One: Ideas and Tips for Teaching in a 1:1 Classroom; Monday April 29


Who is your family geek?
Families everywhere have things in common, maybe even a family tech geek. Regions and cultures also have marvelous differences. Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) gives your students a peek into everyday life in other places. 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. XW1W for the week of February 3: Who is the most tech savvy person in your home?


G and M in HK
Geo and Meri are in Hong Kong as they continue Globetracker’s Mission. Classes in grades 2-6 learn geography, map skills, landforms, and more by following Globetracker’s Mission, Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page.


Celebrating Black History?
What do you do in your classes to recognize Black History Month?
 Share what you do in the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find a quite a variety from the useful to the esoteric:

  • Digital Learning Day! (Feb 6)
  • Amazing “art” of  the planets
  • Visual montages of search results
  • Maps: both your own and historic
  • Teaching videos by YOU and by MIT students
  • Vocabulary games for young ones
  • An education timeline
  • Media for math
  • Elementary financial literacy

And MORE awesome offerings. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this February 10 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived February 3 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you witness new thinking this week—beyond any shadow of a doubt.

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