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August 11, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

August is a time to be excited about what’s ahead and to savor what you have had. We plan for the coming school year and long for just a few more days of summer. The sun shifts to a different window in the morning and tells us change is coming. Give yourself a chance for both savoring and excitement this August. The days are still long enough for both, and TeachersFirst provides opportunities for both.


One more inspiration
If you have time for just one more summer reading selection, why not choose one that will carry into the new school year? Get in one last book from Summer Reading: Not Just for Kids! for some back to school inspiration.


Off on the right foot
Start your classes off right with terrific, reviewed study skills resources from TeachersFirst. Help your students—and their parents—get on track for a success, Speaking of Back to School, check out these resources tagged for back to school, including ways to arrange the seats, ideas to start off well with a new class, and much more! You will also love TeachersFirst’s Getting to Know You ideas and collection of reviewed resources for the first day or week of class. Don’t forget to inspire your students with Bulletin Board Hangups, thought-provoking quotes ready to post in your classroom.


Planning ahead
TeachersFirst is with you throughout the school year with just-in-time resources and ideas for how to use them. The TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar shares resources related to events and observations on the calendar throughout the year. Check it out!


Two to go
Our final two OK2Ask® sessions for the summer are this week, Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm 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. We will announce the 2014-15 school year schedule in early September. Learn more about OK2Ask. Register NOW for:
Guilty about Gifted? Tues, Aug 12
Skype: Bring the World Into Your Classroom Thur, Aug 14


No matter the date
The first day of school is a date that matters! Make it memorable with Dates That Matter. Every day, mobile-friendly (and projector ready) Dates That Matter offers a hint at an event from history that happened on that day, followed by questions to help your students connect the event with something they know. Just as the big reveal tells what the event was, you can click Why does it matter? History becomes meaningful—and engaging—in context. Designed for middle grades, Dates That Matter appeals to students and parents alike. Engage the parents during Back to School night, too. Find more teaching ideas for DTM by clicking the little “I” at the end of the Why Does it Matter explanation. Share the Dates That Matter on your school or class web page!


Near or Far(m)?
Some schools are surrounded by farmlands while other students have never seen a farm. Share the XW1W question for the week of August 10 to hear about schools far from yours: How far is your school from the closest farm? Why not make this the year you make a class Twitter account to learn from people near and far? Your students can hear about life in other places and cultures through #XW1W. The Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project uses simple tweets (or links to blog posts) to share the responses to a weekly question. Help your class “see” what life is like in other places. It all works because of something called a hashtag. Learn how to get started with these simple directions and FAQ.


Love to Learn?
Teachers love to learn. Which offers you the best professional learning? Choose from the options in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Sub plans and newbie tips
As you pull together your substitute plans to file in the front office (or share electronically), don’t miss TeachersFirst’s Ideas and Resources for Substitutes. These tools and resources will make it easier for you and your sub to keep your class on a positive path. You may also be planning for your new teaching assignment or helping a first-year teacher. Be sure to check out TeachersFirst’s Newbies page with ideas and help for new teachers, those teaching something new, and their mentors.


Your new classes are certain to have students with different learning needs. As you prepare and get to know this year’s students, try ideas from TeachersFirst’s Differentiating Instruction: Ideas for individual differences for ideas from gifted to special needs as well as some terrific help for your ESL/ELL students. The Thinking Teachers come to the rescue!


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find new approaches and topics:

  • Two great coding challenges
  • History and literacy together
  • Vocabulary!
  • Planets for kids
  • Keyboarding made fun
  • Time management
  • Twitter chats made easy
  • Awesome map tools
  • Art for young ones
  • Driver Ed!
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this August 17 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived August 10 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


Preview: Back to School Features!
If you wait eagerly for the Featured Sites each week, you’ll love our gift to you this Back to School season! TeachersFirst will offer two weeks of Featured Sites selected specifically for Back to School during the weeks of August 17 and 24. Watch for the August 17 and 24 Updates (or tweets from @teachersfirst) and treat yourself to former brand new BTS features blended with all-time BTS favs.

May you hear a child who talks excitedly about school this week. Savor that joy and remember that YOU are a big part of it, even if you teach high school seniors!

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