TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List

August 5, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

August’s slow, simmering weather contrasts with the energy of teachers lighting the fires for a new school year. No matter which stage of back to school you are in, the temperature is rising. TeachersFirst has the hot stuff you need.


Exclusively yours
TeachersFirst has more than terrific, reviewed web resources with embedded implementation ideas. Now is the perfect time to discover TeachersFirst Exclusives, including Instructional Units, Lesson Plans, and Ready to Go interactives to share on a projector, IWB, or individual student devices. All operate just fine on mobile devices, especially tablets! Science teachers love to start the year with our popular unit, Who Did It? Using forensics to hone science and laboratory skills.


TeachersFirst Did You Know: Tags
Every resource review on TeachersFirst includes a few small words at the end of description called tags. Tags are a way to find similar resources on that same topic. Click the tag to find “more like this.” For example, if you are trying to learn about Skype, you will find this resource and—in its description—a tag that links to all TeachersFirst resources tagged “skype.” Tags are timesavers!


BTS now or later
As you begin your new school year (or prep for one in a few weeks), TeachersFirst offers helpful resources: First Day Ideas and Ideas for Substitutes (for your sub plan packet). Look ahead month by month with the Classroom Planning Calendar, always ready with what you need next.


Approaching 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 yours is not a Common Core state, the questioning article is full of ideas to build deep thinking in your classroom.


Opening Doors
The August TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies is “Opening New Doors,” books about facing a new situation, new location, or new role. Share this list of books and activities for family literacy from preschool to teens as students open the doors to a new school year. Each monthly TogetheRead theme includes questions to talk about before, during, and after reading—even over the dinner table—as everyone in the family enjoys books around a common theme. Build literacy and family at the same time.


OK2Ask August fest
OK2Ask® is going strong throughout August, but start times are later as we move into the “school year.” Sessions include a trio during Google Week (week of Aug 12), More Energizing Math, and Writing with the Web. See the full catalog and register NOW for these FREE sessions. Please pay attention to times and prerequisites! Learn more about OK2Ask, including FAQs. Yes, we offer professional development certificates to those who meet the participation criteria.


Back to School traditions
Back to School dates vary, but everyone has traditional activities for the start of the school year. Tell others how Back to School looks 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 week of August 4: Name a back to school tradition in your family.


Many schools are implementing Bring Your Own Device (or technology) programs to save money and/or improve technology access in class. What concerns you most about students being able to  "bring your own (tech) device"? Share your thoughts in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find fresh ideas and tools:

  • A circuit schematic tool
  • Two biodiversity/habitat resources for varied levels
  • A marvelous digital library of cultural artifacts
  • A new way to look at historic or literary figures
  • Science and math in everyday life
  • An outstanding tool for reading
  • Create your own learning games
  • Terrific tools for back to school (and all year long)
  • And MORE

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this August 11 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived Aug 4 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