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August 19, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

It’s high energy season. This time of August we teachers run around preparing or starting new classes, feeling a bit unsettled, and directing our energy into the new year. If teachers were weather, we would be having a thunderstorm warning! TeachersFirst is a lightning rod for great resources and a hailstorm of creative ideas so you can capture the energy into the learning grid of your classroom.


Opening lines and activities
Back to school season continues! TeachersFirst’s Bulletin Board Hang Ups are great “opening lines,” printable, thought-provoking quotes to inspire us all. Elementary teachers will love our Back to School Read-alouds to make elementary students more comfortable at the start of a new year. First Day activities can make a real difference establishing your classroom climate. Plan for now and for months ahead with TeachersFirst’s handy Classroom Planning Calendar. Did you know Rosh Hashanah and Grandparent’s Day are coming soon?


Reading is key
Reading is at the core of learning, and TeachersFirst offers resources about Reading for All, from primary to AP. Explore these professional resources, reading lists, and lesson ideas to help your students succeed. If you are in a Common Core state, watch for new resources being added weekly to help you understand and implement Common Core. Notice the text “tag” for Common Core in our reviews. (Tags are like Amazon’s “more like this” offerings.)


OK2Ask® summer and fall
Summer OK2Ask® concludes this Tuesday (Aug 20) with Writing with the Web. Read the description and register immediately if you wish to join us. Learn more about OK2Ask, our series of FREE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development, including FAQs. We have many timely OK2Ask topics planned for 2013-14, including BYOD/BYOT, a Google series, and Common Core. We will announce the OK2Ask® fall schedule in early September.


Stepping out of your classroom
Extend your classroom this year by sharing the details of everyday life with classrooms around the world. Invite your Twitter Tweeps or worldwide friends to join the #XW1W project with you! See and share 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 Aug 18: What is your favorite summertime food?


Teachers and parents
Getting off on the right foot with parents is as important establishing a positive classroom the first day. Which best helps you establish rapport with students' parents? Share your preference in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find fresh and unusual approaches to learning:

  • Math in buildings
  • Pop culture and curriculum
  • Make-your-own interactives
  • Be a reporter
  • Physical Education ideas
  • Cool tools for presentations and organization
  • Talking about math
  • Interactive Gettysburg map
  • Cybersafety
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this August 25 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived Aug 18 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you spark (and witness) thunderbolts of learning this week.

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