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April 7, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

This is the time of year when teachers really appreciate teaching ideas that are handy, ready to go, and matched to your immediate curriculum needs. As Big Tests wrap up or start up, you are eager to find “perfect fit” learning in a drive through world. TeachersFirst is ready 24/7 at the web drive up window, ready to prepare learning to order.


Gettysburg Field Trip!
Spring is the traditional time for class trips, but only the fortunate few are able to actually visit Gettysburg. Make the Civil War an interactive, “data” experience sure to engage today’s digital learner with TeachersFirst’s Gettysburg by the Numbers. The stats and questions will make this landmark battle real, and the supporting teacher ideas and resources give you everything you need to teach about this watershed battle and the Civil War in general (sorry, bad pun).


Friendly features
If you share great resources and teaching ideas, perhaps in your role as ed tech coach, principal, or teacher-librarian, make your life easier with the TeachersFirst Featured Sites widget. You can copy/paste the embed code for your choice of widgets so your blog or web site displays the weekly Featured Sites automatically. If you have never tried using an embed code, make this your guinea pig! You’ll be proud of yourself.


In the park
Geo and Meri are in a famous national park this week on Globetracker's Mission. 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.


Stop, review, reflect
If your class has been following the mission all year, now you can pull it all together! As Globetracker’s Mission draws toward its conclusion for this school year, teachers can find review activities to recap the year, including printables and answer keys where appropriate. Find the link to Review Activities in the sidebar of the Teachers edition of Globetracker.


Springing into learning
April brings baseball season, National Poetry Month, Autism Awareness month, and many occasions to connect the classroom with the real world. Earth Day is coming up, so start preparing now. So is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day (April 24 this year), an occasion for students to share DIY career awareness. If you mention Easter in your classroom, we have resources for that, too. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar throughout April.


A plethora of poetry
TeachersFirst has loads of poetic resources, but we will mention just a few here. Our Editor’s choices for National Poetry Month are just the beginning. Our feature article for elementary teachers, Common Core Connections: The Power of Poetry offers ways to implement Common Core WITH poetry. Our CurriConnects leveled reading list, Poets and Poetry, offers independent reading selections perfect for April. Even our editor’s blog has an idea for teachers in ANY subject to Pack a Poem in your Pocket.


Spring is the season for students to test the waters and maybe get into a little trouble. This month’s TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, is Troublemakers. This family literacy feature offers troublemaker books for ALL ages, ideas to talk about before, during, and after reading, and free or low cost family activity ideas, all centered around the troublemaker theme. Tell your parents about it in your class web page or newsletter.


Specialized spring
Spring is sensational—and special—with OK2Ask®, our free, online professional development series. In April we host sessions about meeting special needs for both special ed and gifted. Other end of year offerings help you with cool tools and summer ideas. Please be sure to READ the descriptions and double check that 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).

  • 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



Personal poetry?
What we do during leisure time tells a lot about our families and our culture. Share the XW1W question for the week of April 6: Do you ever read or write poetry (not for school)? 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.


Verse or refrain?
Do you recognize Poetry Month in your classes? Share your thoughts in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find new ways to see learning:

  • An amazing and cool map image tool
  • A monster maker
  • Smithsonian learning starting with a question
  • Numbers visualized
  • Poetry to write and share
  • Interactive basics for young ones
  • Tools for tweets and texts
  • TV theme songs
  • Short term email addresses
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this April 13 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived April 6 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you enjoy supersized learning this week at value menu prices—FREE from TeachersFirst. No fat, no sugar, no gluten, just the good stuff.

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