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September 1, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Whew! A long weekend! You may have been teaching for weeks or be planning to greet your class bright and early on Tuesday. Whatever your schedule, stop to enjoy a picnic and a little time in the hammock this long weekend. It will start September off right. TeachersFirst is ready to help you when you sit down to plan at the end of a relaxing weekend.


The right foot
Start the year on the right foot with lessons on good work habits with reviewed study skills resources from TeachersFirst. These are terrific for sharing with parents at Back to School Night!


Plan for now for upcoming events with timely, trusted resources, collected just for you in TeachersFirst’s handy Classroom Planning Calendar. Did you know Grandparent’s Day is NEXT week (Sept 7)?  Also coming soon are International Literacy Day (Sept 8), the 9/11 anniversary, Constitution Day (Sept 17),  and the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15).


Coach connection
If you are en Ed Tech Coach, Technology Integration Specialist, ITRT, or collaborative tech “coach” for teachers by any other job title, you know it is just as important for you to establish good relationships with your teachers as it is for them to build rapport with students. Here is an idea to try as you model tech tools together with teachers to build mutual trust. We’ll be looking for tweets about #2techtruths!


Do you wonder, “What should I read with my elementary students during the first few days of school?” Build classroom community during those all-important first weeks of school. Back-to-school books are generally realistic fiction and will give you lots of opportunities to have some discussions about and make connections to your own classroom.  See our Back to School Read-alouds for book and discussion suggestions for K-6.


OK2Ask® to come
We had a record-breaking summer of OK2Ask® The spring and summer archives are available for you to view, rewind, and view again. Learn more about OK2Ask, our series of FREE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development, including FAQs. We have planned a full school year of OK2Ask topics for 2014-15.  View/download the full 2014-15 schedule (a pdf) now, and watch for registration for fall sessions to open soon.


Share the best
Share the latest educator-reviewed resources on YOUR class web page. TeachersFirst offers an embeddable widget with the weekly Featured Sites, usable on any teacher or edtech web page. Your colleagues and parents will think YOU went out to find the latest and best. They will thank you for sharing such “great stuff”!  If you know how to copy and paste to use an embed code, you can choose from two widget options. (Don’t know how? Try this resource to help you out.) Our embeddable widgets are free and available for use by any teacher, library/media specialist, edtech coach, ITRT, etc. to use on your school or teacher web site, wiki, or blog. Note that the widget may NOT be used as part of any fee-based or commercial site.


Travel plans
Globetracker’s Mission: Finding Dewey returns this year for social studies classes in grades 2-6. Preview Globetracker’s Mission beginning in mid-September. Follow th tracvels sof teens Geo and Meri as they traverse seven continents and blog about it along the way. Readers get to vote on their next steps! Teachers tell us Globetracker’s Mission has proven to be a more effective, engaging way for students to master standards-aligned map skills, landforms, and geography terms and concepts, making students more curious about maps, geography, and social studies. Set aside time in your plans. You don’t want to miss the Mission!


My teachers...
School is not the same across the U.S., much less across the world! Share the XW1W question for the week of August 31 to learn how others live: How many different teachers do you have for class each day? 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.


First day, best day
The first day of school is so important that we stay awake thinking about how to make it the best day possible. This week’s teacher poll asks your choice of endings to this sentence: On the first day of school it is MOST important that I...Choose from the options in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.
Ready for something new?

Make this the year you start a class blog or wiki. You have probably been thinking about it, or maybe you even tried once before but let it fizzle out. If you have no idea where to begin, how to rejuvenate your wiki or blog, or what the difference is between the two, TeachersFirst can help. Blog Basics for the Classroom explains blogs and how to use them in any subject or grade. We even offer loads of ideas to get you started. Our Wiki Walk-through guides you through wikiland  with plentiful ideas and practical tips. We even provide customizable parent permission slips. Make this your year to connect your class with the outside world.


Newbies, student teachers, and subs, oh my!
No one feels more challenged at the sart of the school year than new teachers, students teachers, and subs. If you are one of these energetic souls r know someone who is, be suere to share the helpful ideas and resources from TeachersFirst’s Helpful Ideas for Newbies, Substitutes, and Student Teachers. You will have a friend forever!


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

  • Garbage!
  • Learning to code
  • Preteen and teen book reviews
  • How-to courses on almost anything
  • Three amazing new ways to “see” social studies
  • Online field trips a la Google
  • A cool Twitter tool
  • Music (for learning?)
  • Financing college
  • Online video and photo editing
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Sept 7 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived August 31 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your hammock swing gently this weekend and your students swing right into learning on Tuesday!

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