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June 9, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Summer means a shift to a new routine. As you say goodbye to your class and shift to your summer “extra” job, grad classes, or the brief time away from school, don’t forget to include TeachersFirst in your summer routine. Stop by once a week for a peek at the Features Sites and our continuous additions of new content. Like you, we spend the summer planning ahead for learning to come! Thinking Teachers know there is no such thing as a summer “off”!


Colonial Times Read-alouds PLUS Common Core
As you make shifts in your teaching to meet the demands of the Common Core and new initiatives around STEM education, it can feel like “something has to give.” Many of you report that social studies has taken a back seat and fear that students may lose a sense of our history and heritage. Our latest “Read-alouds PLUS” article for elementary grades will show you how you can leverage the power of daily read-alouds to practice ELA Common Core Standards while infusing social studies content, specifically the early colonial period. What a great idea!


Talking about TeachersFirst?
Summer is PD season. If you feature TeachersFirst in teacher professional development workshops, teach a grad class about us, or coach teachers about TeachersFirst in your role as a technology integration specialist, we can help. Complete this form telling us where you plan to feature TeachersFirst. We will send out TeachersFirst cards and an ever-popular Thinking Teacher T-shirt for qualifying sessions. Complete the form NOW to be sure supplies do not run out.

Time is running out: Middle school science teachers
If you are a creative, student-centered science teacher (gr 6-9), MySciLife® wants YOU. Apply now—for FREE—to be part of MySciLife, an exciting, new way for your students to be successful science learners. Students create an identity as a science concept—such as an organism, animal, object, scientist, or force—and develop their identity via status updates, interactions, and creative technology tools familiar to today’s youth. It all takes place within the safe MySciLife community. As a MySciLife Pilot Teacher Ambassador, you use MySciLife® to deliver YOUR school’s science curriculum. Read about the research results, watch the video, and APPLY NOW to be part of the next exciting phase of this project in 2014-15. (Note: MySciLife will ALWAYS be free for teachers and students. This is not a come-on for a commercial entity. We are a non-profit.) Space is limited. Submit your information via the link to the online application form on the MySciLife page. MySciLife® brings science to life.

Summer OK2Ask®
OK2Ask, our free series of online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development, resumes for six weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning in July. Registration is now open. Please read descriptions carefully to be sure you have prerequisites and/or the appropriate technology comfort levels BEFORE you signup. Note that ALL summer certificates will be issued at the end of the summer. No exceptions. All summer sessions begin at 6 pm EDT. Learn more about OK2Ask. The full downloadable summer schedule in pdf format is also available. Mark your calendar for the professional development YOU choose!


See you in (or from) Atlanta
The Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst will be at the ISTE conference in Atlanta at the end of June. We are helping with the new Coaching Playground, presenting about Nourishing Gifted with Technology in Any Classroom, and of course talking to teachers like you at our booth (#3118). If you are going, plan to meet us there. You could even earn a coveted Thinking Teacher T-shirt! If a trip to Atlanta is out of the question, join the ISTE experience via OK2Ask® LIVE, a webcast direct from our booth on Monday, June 30, 2014, at 3:30 pm Eastern time. It’s almost like being there—without the airfare! Mark your calendar and click on the OK2Ask® LIVE link front and center on the TeachersFirst home page on June 30!

If you live in the Atlanta area and would like to see the EXHBIT HALL ONLY at ISTE, we have a few three day Exhibit Hall passes. See more details and apply for a pass here. We will mail passes out to qualifying applicants on a first come, first served basis while supplies last.


Buddy system
Plan partner PD this summer with a teaching buddy. Watch archived OK2Ask sessions on dozens of technology integration and teaching topics. Although we cannot offer certificates for watching a recording, you could watch one together with your grade level team or department as a self-structured PD day, and your school might offer you the “credit.” It’s OK2Ask, after all!


On the road to family literacy
June’s TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies is On the Road Again. Discover TogetheRead for family literacy, and be sure to include the link on your summer web page for parents and students to make reading part of family summer fun. This free feature offers books for all ages around a common theme—and free or low-cost activity ideas to go along with them. Summer is the perfect time to share TogetheRead.


Summer is here (Uh-oh! So is the “slide”!)
Many schools are out this week, and the rest have just days left. NOW is the time to share the TeachersFirst Summer Sparklers with parents and students. Prevent “summer slide” while inspiring creativity (and learning) with this handpicked collection of interactives, creative tools, and clever sites for all ages. Put the link on your summer learning web page and share it in your e-newsletter before the sun sets on another school year. Parents will appreciate it!


Planning for Gettysburg?
If your summer itinerary (or lesson planning) includes Gettysburg, don’t miss Gettysburg by the Numbers, an engaging way to move beyond dates and data to questions and connections. It’s mobile friendly, so take it on the road with you or make it your class’s virtual field trip. It’s ready to go for your projector or interactive whiteboard, too.


On the calendar
TeachersFirst has ideas for saluting the flag on Flag Day (June 14), resources for Father’s Day (June 15), and resources for Ramadan (June 28 - July 28), all on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar, ready for date-related learning throughout the school year. Summer is the perfect time to scout ahead for fall events to include in your plans.


Everyone loves the last day of school, but we each celebrate it differently. Share the XW1W question for the week of June 8 to learn about other schools far away: What is your last day of school ritual? Help your students stop and think about life in other cultures with #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.


How do you feel?
Which is your strongest feeling on the last day of school? Choose from the options in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Saying thank you
If you are struggling to find a way to thank all your school helpers or to create clever (free) gifts for Father’s Day, check out TeachersFirst's Editors’ Choice Special Occasion Ideas. These reviewed tools will help you and your students make creative thank you gifts for FREE!


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find handy ways to reinforce skills and tools and information to build new ones:

  • World population
  • Math homework help
  • Continents and oceans
  • Types of sentences
  • Common Core galore
  • Tools for scheduling
  • Instant video chats
  • Environment
  • Animal facts
  • Place value
  • Chinese checkers!

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this JUNE 15 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived June 8 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May your learning feel any thing BUT routine this week and throughout the summer.

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