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September 22, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

The weather turned chilly this week, and the stores are full of Halloween garb.  The seasons signal change inside our classrooms just as they do in the outside world. We teachers have moved past sunny getting-to-know-you days into occasional cloudiness of how-do-I-inspire-you with our students, especially those tough ones. Make this your season for TeachersFirst. Let the ideas pour down!


An amazing opportunity
Are you a Thinking Teacher and ed tech coach (by whatever title)? Do you love helping teachers and students learn with technology? Read about an amazing career opportunity. Please pass the link along to others who might be interested. Do it NOW, before it is too late.


It’s FREE!
Did you know TeachersFirst offers optional, free membership? Discover the timesaving advantages of joining TeachersFirst. Anyone, member or not, can use TeachersFirst, but membership has its advantages.  Read about it here. Join now; then attend our Great Timesavers OK2Ask session in November to maximize your FREE membership.


OK2Ask® starts THIS week!
OK2Ask, our series of FREE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development, begins this week. Registration is open for all Sept-November sessions. Please be sure to read the detailed descriptions and suggested technology comfort levels to find the best match for your learning needs. Note that we have expanded all sessions to 90 minutes in response to your feedback. Learn more about OK2Ask, including FAQs. View/download the full 2014-15 schedule (a pdf) now. Registration for winter and spring sessions will open a month or two in advance.


Boys will be... readers!
Finding ways to hook boys in reading can be a challenge. See ideas  and strategies from an experienced elementary library/media specialist in Hook the Boys on Reading. Your elementary boys will love you for it.


Two weeks until take-off
Geo and Meri will hit the road ion Globetracker’s Mission in just two weeks, on October 5. Your social studies students (or gifted) in grades 2-6 will learn map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and more as you follow the teens’ blog-style adventures. Take time now to check out the preview episode, along with teacher information, standards, and lesson ideas for using the mission. Then take your students on a journey throughout the seven continents from October through early May. New weekly episodes will show each Sunday. Your votes determine what teen bloggers Geo and Meri will do next. Accompanying Google Earth files let you “see” the Mission unfold. For extra fun, set your class Twitter account to follow Geo and Meri (@geoandmeri)!


Digital what?
You may have heard the term, but what does it mean? This week’s teacher poll asks: How familiar are you with the characteristics of good digital citizenship? Respond on the TeachersFirst home page.


Calendar convenience
October is just around the corner, bringing many observances and events. Check out resources collected in time on TeachersFirst’s Classroom Planning Calendar. Find resources for the latter half of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, National Bullying Prevention Month and International Dinosaur Month (October). Of special interest to many elementary classes is Fire Prevention Week, October 5-11.  Add these resources to your class web page and newsletter now for families to join in the observances.


Speaking of bullying
We all have students who face tough situations. Our special CurriConnects leveled book list, Books for Tough Situations, offers selections for bullying, divorce, loss, and many more. Help your students deal with the sensitive issues in their lives using a book they choose from this list.


Getting around
Some have cars, some use trains. Share the XW1W question for the week of September 21 to learn how people get around in other places and cultures: How many types of transportation do you use?  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.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find handy timesavers and rich resources:

  • Virtual geometric tools
  • A cool tool to learn names
  • Comic strip templates
  • Print JUST what you want from web sites
  • Maps and WWI
  • World Leaders
  • Online video editing
  • Stock Market
  • Learn to code!
  • Tools to make tickets and choices
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Sept 28 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived September 21 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you witness some clouds clearing in your class this week.

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