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July 7, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

We loved meeting some of you at the ISTE conference and wish the rest of you could have been there as we shared about Ed Tech Coaching, using technology to nourish gifted students in any classroom, and more. We especially enjoyed meeting teachers and ed tech “evangelists” at our booth. The enthusiasm of so many Thinking Teachers is infectious. We look forward to sharing the new ideas we brought home from the ISTE conference over the next few months.


If you have just “met” the Thinking Teachers, perhaps at ISTE of in a PD workshop, don’t miss the chance to get to know us better via our Great Ideas and Great Timesavers sessions from OK2Ask later this month. These sessions will help you find even more to love about TeachersFirst, all for FREE. Bring a friend!


Our July schedule
TeachersFirst never takes a break, but we do slow our pace during July to accommodate teachers’ summer breaks and travel. This Update will repeat for the weeks of July 6 and July 13. A new Update will come July 20 (repeat July 27). The Weekly Brain Twisters will change every other Friday, with new Twisters appearing July 4 and 18. The Brain Twister will return to new editions every Friday beginning August 1. We hope this schedule will keep you from missing any of the latest from TeachersFirst as your summer plans take you offline a bit to enjoy your summer.


Summer OK2Ask®
Summer OK2Ask® sessions begin THIS week and run for six weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays 6 pm EDT. These free, online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development feature many ways to use technology in YOUR classroom. Please read descriptions carefully to be sure you have prerequisites and/or the appropriate technology comfort levels BEFORE you sign up. Note that ALL summer certificates will be issued at the end of the summer. No exceptions. Learn more about OK2Ask. Registration is now open:
Go Google One, Tues, July 8
Go Google Two, Thur July 10
Juggling the BYOD or 1:1 Classroom, Tues July 15
Building Ethical Digital Citizens, Thur July 17

And more throughout July and the beginning of August!


On your own time
If you prefer to learn on your own schedule, make a date to watch some archived OK2Ask sessions on dozens of technology integration and teaching topics. Although we cannot offer certificates for watching a recording, you could watch and learn some new ideas for next school year. Or plan to watch 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!

Doing a workshop or other PD about TeachersFirst?
If you coach teachers or conduct teacher professional development workshops featuring TeachersFirst or teach a grad class about us, 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 while supplies last.


TogetheRead has a new home!
This month’s TogetheRead theme is Taking Flight. TogetheRead now has its own domain name and url at www.togetheread.com. TogetheRead offers a list of books each month for all ages centered around a shared “theme” and accompanied by free or low cost activities for families to do together. The booklists include questions and discussion topics that will help parents build children’s comprehension skills as they read together—or separately. Share TogetheRead with parents of students of ALL ages. Families can take TogetheRead on a smartphone to the local public library to find the books or request them on interlibrary loan. Many libraries even allow loan requests via their web site. Make TogetheRead a regular recommendation for your students and their families. TogetheRead is another free offering from our non-profit parent company, The Source for Learning, Inc.


On the calendar
Summer is the perfect time to check out the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. Scout ahead for events and resources to include in your plans for next year.


Are you a new teacher starting your first teaching job in the fall? Will you be working with a student teacher or mentoring a new teacher? Don’t miss TeachersFirst’s ideas and help for newbie teachers, their cooperating teacher, and mentors. Click the Share widget to pass it on!


Rubrics to the Rescue
Find ideas for using meaningful rubrics to assess student learning and to differentiate for individual student needs in TeachersFirst’s Rubrics to the Rescue. Rubrics are a wonderful way to make projects and activities more student-centered and creative without losing accountability.


Camp out?
Kids love a camp out. Share the XW1W question for the weeks of July 6 and 13 to learn whether kids share the same experience in far off places: Do you ever sleep outside? When and how? 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.


Summer success
What would make your summer a personal success? Please tell us in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find some intriguing treasures and “handy” finds:

  • A map view of U.S. History
  • A simple stress relief tool
  • Tappable story maker
  • A COOL color image finder!
  • Khan math for Common Core
  • Online writing and publishing
  • A quantitative look at the Internet
  • The Great Lakes
  • Inequality in economics, health, and more
  • Science news
  • Documentaries
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this JULY 20 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived July 6 and 13 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

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