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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Being “connected” means so many things: having Internet and cell service, having a network of go-to colleagues to help with teaching ideas, and seeing how important ideas and concepts interrelate. We want our students to connect to the curriculum as much as they connect via their phones and text messages. TeachersFirst tries to connect you and your students with powerful teaching ideas, no matter what the topic.


Bridge building
Our brand new CurriConnects Book List offers books for students to read independently about Bridges and Structures. Use CurriConnects to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. These lists include interest levels and Lexile® levels (where available) so every student can find a book he/she can comfortably read.


Celebrate with us!
TeachersFirst is fifteen! This month we celebrate our birthday as a free service for teachers from The Source for Learning since 1998. Please give us a birthday pat on the back:

  • Share TeachersFirst with a friend via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Use the handy “Share” widget at middle left on our home page.
  • Post or tweet about TeachersFirst—wherever you go to share the good stuff
  • Join TeachersFirst (free!) and add some comments and ratings on our rich resource reviews
  • Drop us a message via our webmaster account. We especially appreciate stories of how we have made a difference for your students


Poetry, Careers, Autism, Earth Day...
April is packed with events. It’s Poetry Month (and no, poetry isn’t just for English class). It is also Autism Awareness Month. Plan ahead for Earth Day (April 22), Take Your Child to Work Day (April 25), and TV Turn-Off Week (April 28-May 4). See these and many more events on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Lyrical lesson
Just in time for Poetry Month, try our Music is Poetry lesson plan for middle school  language arts. This winning lesson is one of many TeachersFirst exclusive lesson plans.


Not just for the reading specialist anymore
Common Core (and other state initiatives) tell us reading happens in every subject and needs to be reinforced by all teachers. Find suggestions for reading in the content areas (like social studies and science) in many TeachersFirst reviews, and specifically mentioned in this collection.  Find ideas for building comprehension, vocabulary, and science/social studies literacy as you work with informational texts.


Final two
Only two opportunities remain to join OK2Ask® free, online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development before the end of the school year. Register now for the final two. Find times and descriptions to register. We will be posting the summer offerings in early May.

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

Ready, Set, Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments”; Monday May 6


Earth day?
Share your “green” ideas with people in other places with Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w). Your responses about life where you live help others learn—and vice versa. 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 April 14: How will you observe Earth Day? 


Geo and Meri have accomplished their mission for Uncle GT! Join them at Palmer Station for the wrap up of Globetracker’s Mission. Watch for full review activities in the sidebar of the weekly episode and Teacher Editions so you can recap and reflect on the many concepts your students have learned throughout this year's mission.


Lesson or disruption?
What do you think of Take Your Child to Work Day? Share your thoughts via the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find the informative and the interactive:

  • Helpful copyright and plagiarism info for students
  • Food viewed historically
  • A marvelous human body interactive
  • A simulated “green” city
  • Excellent informational articles -- times three
  • Hunger Games for teaching
  • European folktales
  • History on the map
  • Two independent reading treasures
  • Energy!

And MORE. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this April 21 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived April 14 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May the connections in your classroom this week be far more than wifi.

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