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June 10, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

On a personal note, it has been seven years this month since I moved to TeachersFirst full time. What was once my “moonlighting” job during my many years of teaching became a full time life as a Thinking Teacher. I want to thank all the teachers who use our site and who continually amaze me with the power each of us has as just one teacher. Give yourself credit as you wrap up the school year. You do amazing things.


Summer is (just about) here
TeachersFirst is as busy as you are wrapping up the year and launching our summer offerings. During July we send the Updates and change the Brain Twisters every other week while teachers are traveling, taking courses, or simply taking a breather. Take some time this summer to explore the features of TeachersFirst you never seem to have time for. Our Great Ideas and Great Timesavers sessions from OK2Ask® will help you get started. You can also browse the archived Featured Sites you may have missed during the school year.


ISTE preview
TeachersFirst is headed to ISTE in San Antonio June 23-26. If you plan to be there, add us to your plans. Visit us in the Exhibit Hall (booth 5216) or watch for us wearing Thinking Teachers shirts throughout the conference. Meet Candy Shively and Melissa Henning at our presentations along with other Thinking Teachers at OK2Ask® LIVE from our ISTE booth (5216) on Tuesday June 25 at 3:30-4:30 Central time.  If you are a technology integration specialist or edtech coach by any name, please come to the first get-together for the new ISTE Edtech Coach SIGETC on Monday afternoon. We can’t wait to meet you!

Not going to ISTE? Fear not. Teachers lucky enough to attend will be sharing LIVE from our booth on Tuesday, June 25 3:30-4:30 Central (4:30-5:30 Eastern). Join us virtually!
Watch the live webcast via the link front-and-center on the TeachersFirst home page that day.


Freebie insurance
Please answer our TeachersFirst annual user survey. We use this survey to document the impact that your use of TeachersFirst has on student learning and your own professional growth. Our funders want this information. If you use TeachersFirst, PLEASE take five minutes tell to us who is using our free, ad-free service and why it matters in your classroom. This annual user survey is your freebie insurance. Please complete the survey no later than June 14. Tell your friends. Thank you.


Dads and Slides
Prevent summer slide by sending students off with TeachersFirst’s Summer Sparklers. Thank the dads with resources for Father’s Day or gifts for special occasions.
Find these and other timely treasures on our handy Classroom Planning Calendar.


July jubilee and August extravaganza
We have packed July and August with OK2Ask® offerings for teachers. Sessions are available nearly every Tuesday and Thursday in July and August. Browse the offerings and register now. Summer sessions are slightly longer to allow more time for exploration and questions. Note that OK2Ask information and registration have moved to a new location, so update your bookmarks. See the full summer catalog and register. Read more about OK2Ask, free online “snack sessions” for self-directed teacher professional development, including FAQs. Yes, we offer professional development certificates to those who meet the participation criteria.


A fresh look at a watershed event
In less than a month our nation commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. TeachersFirst is proud to announce Gettysburg by the Numbers, an interactive experience of the Battle of Gettysburg through numbers and infographics. Trace the data to thought-provoking questions that inspire connections. Move beyond dates and facts to make the battle personally meaningful and real. Gettysburg by the Numbers builds understanding far more lasting than a three-day anniversary in July. Take it on vacation with you! This resource is designed to work well on tablet mobile devices in the back seat!


Dad's day (June 16)
Families do different things to celebrate dad. As Father’s Day approaches, tell us about yours. See responses from other people in other places via 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 June 9: Do you celebrate Fathers Day? How? 


Lasting lessons
What do you hope your students retain most from your class? Share your ideas via the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find sensational sites to share with parents for summer and some just plain handy finds:

  • A source for icons (great for non-readers)
  • A no-registration-necessary comic tool
  • Games for basic English spelling, vocab, and grammar
  • Animals in a safe social network for kids
  • A kids/teens book club that includes the authors
  • Digital citizenship and YouTube
  • Cloud fun
  • OCD information and help
  • Two terrific history finds

...And MORE

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this June 16 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived June 9 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your impact as a teacher take your breath away this week.

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