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September 23, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Fall is officially here. Sometimes it feels like we are bobbing for ideas instead of apples. Find a bushel full at TeachersFirst. Whether you are looking for a “common core” or a cider sip to “flip,” we have apples for every teacher!


Teacher Timesavers and more
The 2013-14 year of OK2Ask® begins THIS Monday (9/23) with a session on timesaving tools for teachers. Learn LIVE with other teachers in TeachersFirst’s FREE, online professional development "snack sessions." Have a question? It’s OK2Ask! The full schedule in pdf format for the year is now available, including a Google six-part series, Common Core, and many topics YOU have requested. We have added recommended “technology comfort levels” to our session descriptions so you will know what to expect—and what will be expected of you. Read more about OK2Ask, and register NOW for Sept-November sessions. Winter and spring offerings will open for registration closer to those dates.


Mission preview
Geo and Meri are preparing to leave on Globetracker’s Mission. You can read the preview episode NOW. Take the next few weeks to view the preview episode, teacher information, standards, and lesson ideas for Globetracker’s Mission and plan now to take your students on a journey throughout North America. New episodes will appear weekly, beginning October 27. Your votes determine what teens Geo and Meri do next. Plan to incorporate this engaging “blog” as part of your social studies curriculum in grades 2-6. Teach map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and more as you follow the teens’ adventures.  View accompanying Google Earth files to “see” the Mission as it unfolds. You can even follow Geo and Meri on Twitter!


Technology triumphs
Gotta love technology, right? We all know the experience: you have 29 students all working at once on a tech task, and by the end of class, you are exhausted.  Find ideas and tips from experienced teachers to handle some of the most common challenges in TeachersFirst’s Been There, Done That Tech Tips.  Look brilliant: Share a tip with a teacher friend!


Delight in the differences
Every classroom has diverse students. Whether you are struggling to meet the needs of gifted, learning support, ELL, or many others, TeachersFirst has ideas and resources to help in our collection of Differentiating Instruction: Ideas for individual differences.


Monthly, weekly, daily
National Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15. October is Bullying Prevention Month and International Dinosaur Month. National Fire Prevention Week is October 6-12. Find vetted resources for monthly, weekly, or daily observances throughout the school year on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. Share these resource collections with a friend by clicking the handy “share” widget at the top. Fill those pinboards with trusted resources.


Discover the details
Learn about people and places outside the experience of you and your students. Share details of everyday life where you live with classrooms around the world. Tell others about the Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project, and ask them to join with you. Your responses about life where you live help others learn—and vice versa. This quick activity uses microblogging (Twitter or other!) and something called a hashtag. It’s easy! Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ. XW1W question for the week of September 22: Who gets up earliest at your house? 

Fall, winter, or spring?
Each time of year has its pros and cons for students and teachers. Which season do you find most productive for teaching and learning? Share your strategy in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find engaging and intriguing ways to learn

  • Whaling
  • Words as culture
  • History as inquiry (great for Common Core)
  • A where in the world city puzzle
  • New Sudoku-like puzzles
  • A simple but useful financial literacy game
  • Classic Books
  • Flashcards unlike any other (for people who hate flashcards)
  • Cells and geometry interactives
  • Narrative Mapping
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this September 29 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived September 22 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your students sink their teeth into the crisp snap of autumn learning this week!

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