TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List


Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

This week may bring you a holiday, make-up days, snow days, or winter break, depending on where you teach. It is also our week(end) to celebrate presidents of the U.S. Even if you do not teach about presidents, you teach about leadership every day. You teach about making plans, setting goals, and taking responsibility. Don’t be afraid to let your students take the lead and make some choices about what and how they learn. TeachersFirst offers the resources they need to lead. In the fast-paced world they face, they will need to take the lead on learning for a lifetime.


Blog, wiki, what?
You have seen blogs, and you may have your own class wiki, but you may be wondering what to do with them to make learning student-centered. Maybe you created a blog or wiki during a summer workshop, and it has languished ever since. Two of TeachersFirst’s most popular professional exclusives are Blog Basics for the Classroom and the Wiki Walk-Through. Find practical tips for managing a blog or wiki and loads of ideas for how to use them in any subject or grade. The best part? We only share tools that are FREE, and you can learn at your own pace as you click through these useful tutorials. If you would like live help with your existing-but-lonely class wiki, be sure to join our Feb 25 OK2Ask® session, too (see below).


Marching on
Presidents Day is here! March  will be here before you know it, ushering in Music in our Schools Month and Women’s History Month. Prepare for Dr. Seuss’s birthday and other events that will soon blow in by clicking on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Civil War
As more and more attention focuses on the 150th anniversary of Civil War milestones, don’t miss a chance to bring your elementary students into the observance. Our new Civil War Read-alouds offer books and ideas you can use in elementary classes to discuss the Civil War and related topics of slavery, Gettysburg, and Lincoln. Practice discussing informational texts on a timely topic, and what better time than during Presidents Week or Black History Month?


Relax and learn because YOU want to
Make the choice to learn what YOU want with OK2Ask®. Choose from a wide selection of live, online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development. Join a group of friendly teachers as you discover effective ways to incorporate technology options into your classroom. Registration is now open for spring OK2Ask® sessions. Most last 75 minutes, but please read the details of each. Check for times and descriptions to register now. Note that we have changed the date for one April offering:

Wiki Workshop: An Open Help and Collaboration Session (Extended Time Session); Monday February 25 (Make your class wiki work “smarter” using tips from this informal session!)

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
DATE CHANGE! ; Tuesday, April 9

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


Testing 1,2,3
Schools and daily life is marvelously different around the world. 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 17: How many tests do you take in a week? 


Dumpster Diving?
Geo and Meri are searching for clues in unusual places in India this week on Globetracker’s Mission. Your students in grades 2-6 will “dig” geography, map skills, landforms, and more simply by following Globetracker’s Mission, Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page.


Helpful or not?
What is the greatest challenge (or none at all) of parents seeing grades online for every assignment? Share what your school does via our weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find both sites to learn and sites that create:

  • A trio of different sites for writing
  • Art and Music for elementary
  • Sounds on a map
  • Space and science sites
  • Pictures for language assistance and more
  • Diseases
  • World Wonders!
  • Two sites of interactives especially for elementary
  • A cool tool for making bookmark collections

And MORE. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this February 24 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived February 17 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you see young leaders take charge of their learning this week. If you have a winter break, breathe deeply and enjoy!

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