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August 26, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. As we march into our schools, we should not forget the power of Martin Luther King Jr.’s  I Have Dream speech. Our students have dreams, and we are here to help them achieve those dreams. TeachersFirst is ready to help.


Mark your calendar or use ours!
Plan for now for the anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28 or for the months ahead with TeachersFirst’s handy Classroom Planning Calendar. Did you know Rosh Hashanah and Grandparent’s Day are coming soon?


Share and be popular!
Do you want to be popular with your teaching colleagues? Share an embeddable widget with the weekly Featured Sites from TeachersFirst on your own teacher or edtech web page. Your colleagues will find the latest and best reviewed resources from TeachersFirst that you have come to love. They will thank you for sharing such “great stuff”!  If you know how to copy and paste to use an embed code, you can choose from two widget options. These embeddable widgets are free and available for use by any teacher, library/media specialist, edtech coach, ITRT, etc. to use on your school or teacher web site, wiki, or blog. Note that the widget may NOT be used as part of any fee-based or commercial site.  Thank you to an instructional technology specialist from Michigan who made this suggestion to TeachersFirst at the ISTE conference in San Antonio.


Get organized
Why not make planning and organization easier for yourself this year with Organization tools from the TeachersFirst Edge? Make lists, divide tasks, and more. Try out a tool or two for your own organization, and then share it with your upper elementary to high school students to help THEM get organized for success this year. You would be amazed how much more willing students are to be organized if technology is involved.


Back to school SURVIVAL
Teachers could probably have our own Survival TV series, taking place in our classrooms!  Help yourself with TeachersFirst’s Bulletin Board Hang Ups, thought-provoking quotes to inspire us all. If you still have not actually started school, choose one of these First Day activities to establish the a classroom climate where learning can do more than survive—and actually thrive!



OK2Ask® past and future
We have wrapped up a record-breaking summer of OK2Ask® The spring and summer archives are available for you to view, rewind, and view again. Learn more about OK2Ask, our series of FREE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development, including FAQs. We have exciting 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.


Worldwide Classroom?
Extend your classroom this year by sharing the details of everyday life where you live with classrooms around the world. Invite a teacher friend 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 25: About how many students go to your school?


What I like best..
Back to School is energizing for many reasons. What do you like best about the start of school? Share your thoughts in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find some traditional ways to learn and some unusual ones:

  • Two map sites to spark discussions
  • A different way to learn about Newton and gravity
  • Resources for music and world language teachers
  • Ideas for elementary
  • Talking blogs—from your phone!
  • Tests for just about anything (not high stakes!)
  • Several cool tools
  • Dominos!
  • Heroic kids
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this September 2 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived Aug 25 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you witness dreams coming true, this week and throughout the new school year.

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