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July 29, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

This year there are ninety-nine days from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with only a fraction of them actually “summer” for teachers. As we move into the final month of summer’s unofficial ninety-nine days, be sure to spend at least ninety-nine hours (or minutes?) storing up some summer sunshine and rest to get you through the fall frenzy. TeachersFirst will keep working to help you save—and savor—a little time for yourself.


Full speed back to school
TeachersFirst is in full Back to School mode. As some teachers return to school within the next week or so, others are savoring a few more weeks before their official First Day. TeachersFirst is back to our full weekly schedule:  Weekly Brain Twisters, Updates, Featured Sites, and the ongoing addition of dozens of teacher-reviewed resources each week to our collection of over 15,000. Thinking Teachers never stop!


Back to school gift package for the trenches
Think of TeachersFirst as your back to school gift package. Remember when getting a new backpack filled with a big box of crayons and a new lunchbox was a big thrill? We offer the teacher version. Here is what’s inside:  Bulletin Board Hang-ups (printable quotes for any classroom), Ideas for Substitutes (for you or those who sub in your classroom), Helpful Newbie ideas for first year teachers and student teachers, quick online tools to accomplish pesky tasks or simply make you more efficient, and more. Unpack your free gift today to be ready tomorrow.


New Common Core feature articles
As your school moves toward Common Core, don’t miss two new articles from TeachersFirst:  Questions and Thinking in Common Core Part 1: Teachers as Questioners and Teachers' Common Core Planning Toolkit:  A guide for elementary teachers. Even if you do not teach in a Common Core state, the questioning article is full of ideas to build deep thinking in your classroom.


Back to school help, just for you
Don’t miss our free, online OK2Ask® session, School Year Kick-Off, this Thursday, August 1, to discover teacher timesavers and ready-made help from TeachersFirst. Then sign up for sessions throughout August, including our August 12 Google Week. See the full catalog and register NOW for these FREE sessions. (Read the details. Most summer sessions are 90 minutes, but extended sessions last two hours.) Learn more about OK2Ask, including FAQs. Yes, we offer professional development certificates to those who meet the participation criteria.


The year ahead
Although there are few holidays this month, TeachersFirst has already prepared collections of resources for the coming school year of calendar-related events and learning opportunities, all clickable from our handy Classroom Planning Calendar. From the First Day of School through Summer, 2014, we are ready. Now is the time to plan timely lessons with terrific resources. Just click “next month” to see offerings throughout the school year.


Tested, trusted
As you look for August inspiration, don’t forget TeachersFirst’s Professional Exclusives, original articles, tutorials, information on using blogs and wikis effectively, strategies for special student populations, and more. Enjoy tested, trusted resources for any teacher to explore and share with your Thinking Teacher friends. (Tip: you can click to sort the list by “most viewed” to find the most popular items.)


Hot stuff
This summer has been hot, hot, hot in many locations. Tell others how people escape the heat in your culture. See responses from 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 weeks of July 28: How do you stay cool in HOT weather?


Perchance to dream?
Our dreams say a lot about our innermost thoughts. What kind of back-to-school dreams do you have as that time approaches? Share your experience in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find

  • Two classroom seating tools
  • Templates and instructions for customizable games
  • An awesome news site with leveled articles
  • Loads of ideas for bulletin boards and classroom décor
  • A CCSS planning tool
  • Ebooks for advanced courses
  • A membership-free list maker
  • A Digital Citizenship graphic to post or embed
  • “How to help” posters for parents
  • Poetry plans
  • Journals in a jif
  • And MORE

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this August 4 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived July 28 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


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