TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List

August 25, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

If you are finding time to actually stop and READ this Update, you are an organized teacher indeed! Nearly every teacher is in the thick of Back to School (or has been there for weeks). As you establish your own new habits for the new school year, make a weekly stop by TeachersFirst part of your routine. (If you follow @teachersfirst on Twitter, you will receive some nudges about the latest and greatest!) Thinking Teachers are habit forming!


Read along
 As you dig into your curriculum for the new school year or plan ahead for any new unit, be sure to check out the CurriConnects reading lists for student independent reading that CONNECTS to the curriculum. Not only will students at all levels start to see connections between the “stuff they have to learn” and books they read on their own, they will also build new experiences on which to “hang” the new curriculum content. CurriConnects leveled reading lists (complete with Lexiles®) span many subjects and common curriculum topics from early elementary through high school. Your students can all find curriculum-related books on THEIR level, even ESL/ELL learners and gifted. Science and Social Studies teachers may want to offer “points” for reading a CurriConnects book during a unit. CurriConnects books provide experience with Common Core informational reading and Science or Social Studies literacy a la CCSS. Check out more than two dozen topics, including Immigrants and Immigration and Math in Use. One special list, Books for Tough Situations, offers selections for your students who may be dealing with divorce, loss, or other challenges. Share it with your school counselor, too! IF you plan ahead, many books can be obtained in interlibrary loan. Ask your library/media specialist for help.


Back to School Features!
If you wait eagerly for the Featured Sites each week, you’ll love week two of Back to School Featured Sites this week! Enjoy both “encore” and brand new Back to School bests.


Ready or not
Is this your year for BYOD? To help you feel more prepared for the changes of BYOD, TeachersFirst has collected BYOD Dream tools (perfect for 1-1 or BYOD schools). Find reviewed tools available for FREE on the web, Android, and iOS, perfect for accomplishing any learning task, no matter what your “device.”  Our editor recently shared some BYOOD (Beginning the year on our devices) ideas on Think Like a Teacher, our editors blog: Part 1 and Part 2. Find ideas to start the year off right in your BYOD (or 1:1) classroom


Quick starts
For some quick Back to School help, check out these resources tagged for Back to School, including ways to arrange the seats, ideas for 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. You may want to start the year with some lessons on good work habits with reviewed study skills resources from TeachersFirst. As you move to assessing what your new students already know, try our Editors' Choice Tools for Pretests. Although we gathered this collection for use with gifted students, they are handy for any pre-assessment!


A week away
It’s almost September! TeachersFirst is with you  in September and throughout the school year with just-in-time resources and ideas for how to use them. September brings Grandparents Day (Sept 7) and International Literacy Day (Sept 8), and the 13th anniversary of 9/11. just to name a few. The TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar offers resources related to events and observations on the calendar throughout the year. Check it out!


Relive and learn
Our summer OK2Ask® sessions have ended, but you can still learn. Watch archived OK2Ask sessions for teacher self-directed professional development featuring many ways to use technology in YOUR classroom. Note: We cannot offer certificates for watching an archive recording. We will announce the OK2Ask 2014-15 school year schedule and open registration for fall sessions in early September. Learn more about OK2Ask.  


Come Saturday morning
Our weekend habits vary, depending on our family, location, and culture. Share the XW1W question for the week of August 24 to learn how others live: What do you do first on Saturdays? Why not make this the year you make a class Twitter account to learn from classes 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.


Mission Accomplished?
Teachers get things done. What was your greatest accomplishment this summer? Choose from the options in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.



Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find more new and “encore” features ideal for Back to School season:

  • A rich tool to organize schoolwork
  • Easy online audio recordings
  • Disposable email addresses
  • A web site clean up tool for your projector
  • Great questioning
  • Timer and name selector tools
  • Your age—seen a new way!
  • Beautiful QR codes
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this August 31 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived August 24 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page. Want more Back to School goodies? See last week’s August 17 Features!


May you and your students start healthy learning habits this week

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