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April 14, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

You have established a professional pattern as a teacher, but is it sustainable? There are many different kinds of sustainability... environmental, health-related, emotional, and professional. Earth Day prompts us to look at the way we use natural resources, but TeachersFirst helps you look at the way you conserve and use professional energy every day, all year long, so your students experience maximum gain and you keep bouncing back with more ideas.


Living green
Earth Day is just over a week away. If you have no time to devote to it in class, why not promote independent reading by sharing the CurriConnect Living Green booklist? These leveled booklists offer selections for any level reader. Make your Earth Day contribution by offering incentives for your students to become more aware of their impact on the earth. Maybe you want to offer extra credit to students who read one of these books and share what they learn on a poster, classroom bulletin board, or class wiki.


How will it end?
As Globetracker’s Mission nears its conclusion for this school year, Geo and Meri are in Salt Lake City. If your class has been following the mission, you can now 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. If you did not join us this year, take a look to see what Globetracker’s Mission is like so you can plan to use it next year to teach map skills, landforms, and geography in grades 2-6.


Showers of learning opportunities
We are well into the swing of baseball season, National Poetry Month, and Autism Awareness month, all 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), 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.


Poetry in action
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 offers an idea for teachers to approach Common Core “close reading” of texts via poetry in ANY subject: Poetry in the Black: Adding (meaning) by subtracting.


Hot and cool spring
Our remaining spring offerings from OK2Ask®, our free, online professional development series, share cool tools and hot teacher 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). We will announce our summer schedule during May

  • 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


April showers?
Climate affects day to day life and culture. Share the XW1W question for the week of April 13: Which month is the rainiest where you live? Help your students experience life 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.


Gifted or not?
Does your school offer special programming for gifted? Tell us about it in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Gettysburg Field Trip!
Spring is the traditional time for class trips, but only the fortunate few 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).


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find

  • Historic images on the map
  • Creative animations!
  • Tools for planning and managing special events—or ordinary ones
  • Human body in space
  • Sustainability
  • A visual dictionary for the young
  • Careers!
  • STEM times two
  • Collaborative commenting
  • U.S. Civics and government
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this April 20 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived April 13 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May any lesson you recycle this week promote learning with a new twist and new energy.

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