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March 10, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Yaaawwwwn. The first Monday of daylight savings time is one of the hardest days all year to get out of bed. If you are in the midst of Big Test season, that makes it even harder to jump out of bed. Give yourself a jolt of mental caffeine from TeachersFirst. You may want to inject a mental stimulant into your morning lessons this week! Try this week’s Featured Sites or maybe a mindstretcher to wake those foggy brains. (Narrow the grade range on the subject Mindstretchers by clicking the Elem/Middle/High school tabs on our Subject/Grade search.)


What’s a...
One of the frequently asked questions in our OK2Ask sessions is, ”What’s a wiki?” If you have been wondering but were embarrassed to ask, try the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through to understand the what, why, and how of wikis. Teachers who know and use wikis know how great they are as a tool for teaching and for students to create and share. If you are already a wiki-user, why not share the Wiki Walk-Through with your colleagues who are wiki-wary?


Blog foggy
Until you have spent some time with wikis and blogs, the differences between them (and reasons for them) can be even more foggy. TeachersFirst offers Blog Basics for the Classroom to help you understand the what, why, and how of blogs. Find and share all the answers you need about blogs, including ways to get started and ideas to make blogging part of your class routine. Blogs are not just for English teachers or “good” writers!


Speaking of blogs
Did you know TeachersFirst has an editor’s blog? Think Like a Teacher shares reflections on great teachers, teaching, creativity, educational technology, and much more. New posts appear once a week or so. Subscribe to the RSS feed or follow @cshively or @teachersfirst to receive tweets about new posts.


Marching on
March is Women’s History Month and Music in our Schools Month. Leprechauns will soon be upon us for St. Patrick's Day. This week, be sure to “circle” Pi Day on you calendar or prepare for the ominous Ides of March by learning about Rome, Caesar, and Shakespeare. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar as time marches on!


Springing forward with OK2Ask
Register now for all our spring sessions from OK2Ask®, our free, online professional development series. Please be sure to READ the descriptions to be sure you have the prerequisites (if any) and/or technology comfort levels: Choose your favorite “snack session(s)” and register NOW (all at 7:00pm Eastern DAYLIGHT time after today).

  • Google Series (Part 5): Google Earth and Maps Tues. Mar. 18
  • Common Core Math Ideas K-8; Mon. Mar. 24
  • Introduction to Writing with Common Core; Thurs. Mar. 27
  • Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and Tools for Learning Support, Speech/language, Emotional Support, and more; Mon. Apr. 7
  • Google Series (Part 6): Cool Tools; Tues. Apr. 15
  • Gifted Resources Galore: Tips and Tools for Meeting the Needs of Your Gifted Students; Tues. Apr. 29
  • Ready.. Set.. Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments”; Thurs. May 8



Meet me in...
Geo and Meri are headed to St. Louis this week on Globetracker's Mission, still trying to track down the elusive Louie. Read new posts every Sunday to learn standards-based geography, landforms, and major U.S. landmarks in grades 2-6. Vote each week, telling the teens what to do next.


Games people play
The games our families play give a small glimpse into our culture.  Do some indoor games span across many places and cultures? Share the XW1W question for the week of Mar 9: What is your family's favorite indoor game? Help your students experience life through the eyes of others in distant places through #XW1W. Share with classrooms around the world. The Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project uses simple tweets or blog posts to share the responses to a weekly question and help you “see” what life is like in other places. It all works because of something called a hashtag. Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ.


Most used
Which is your most used tool as a TEACHER: email, texting, or phone? Please share your response in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find different angles on learning:

  • Brain warmups for testing season
  • Polar bears (as if we need more cold stuff!)
  • Audio articles on animals and more for younger ones
  • Math practice (and competition)
  • Math talks
  • A great history game
  • History on the map
  • Useful templates
  • Tools to get organized
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Mar 16 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived March 9 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you see young minds awaken this week!

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