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October 6, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

We teachers “blend” our own learning every day. We learn online, face to face, and via mobile media. We have distinct ideas about what sources we trust. Our students have more trouble knowing how to blend all the sources in their lives, especially how to sort the reliable from the bogus. As you look to share the reliable and trusted with your students, let TeachersFirst recommend the “best blend.”


It’s Fire Prevention Week
Spark some learning about safety with this collection of resources. Even older students can learn something new.


Revolutionary idea: teaching CCSS with history
As Common Core and other tested initiatives have shifted the emphasis away from social studies, our young citizens are not getting the class time they once had to learn U.S. History. If you would like to pull more history back into your elementary classroom, check out Highlighting Our History: American Revolution Read-alouds PLUS for the Common Core. These read-aloud suggestions and discussion ideas provide a way to leverage the power of daily read-alouds to practice some Common Core Standards for the English Language Arts while infusing some social studies content, specifically the Revolutionary period. This article is just one of several in TeachersFirst's Implementing Common Core in Elementary Grades collection.


No resource on TeachersFirst attracts more visitors than The Interactive Raven, and October is the most popular time for classes to study Edgar Allen Poe’s classic poem. Invite your students to explore Poe’s literary devices on their own devices or school laptops with this interactive version of the poem. Even the vocabulary is interactive! Will they say poetry is boring? Nevermore!


NO bully for you!
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As you use online resources with comments and interaction, take the time to promote positive digital citizenship (no cyberbullying). Find resources for countering bullying both online and face to face in TeachersFirst's Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention Resources.


OK2Ask® coming up
Treat yourself to learning throughout October and November from OK2Ask®, our series of free, LIVE, online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development. Registration is open for all sessions though November. Please be sure to read the detailed descriptions and suggested technology comfort levels to find the best match for your learning needs. Read our FAQ for information about certificates, etc. All sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time:

Google 6-Part Series (Part 1): The Top View of Google
Monday October 6, 2014

Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons
Thursday October 16, 2014

Organizational Tools for You, Your Classroom, and Your Students
Thursday October 23, 2014

Google 6-Part Series (Part 2): Google Search Secrets
Monday November 3, 2014
*Appropriate for teachers at Beginner to Intermediate technology comfort levels.

Great Timesavers: Tools and Tips to Maximize TeachersFirst’s Free Membership
Thursday November 13, 2014

Tech it Out: Twitter for Teachers (and the classroom)
Tuesday November 18, 2014
*Appropriate for teachers at Intermediate technology comfort levels.



Hitting the road
Geo and Meri have hit the road (or the tarmac) on this year’s Globetracker’s Mission. Your social studies students in grades 2-6 can learn map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and more by following the teens’ blog-style adventure. Embark on the journey with your students, visiting seven continents from October through early May. New weekly episodes appear each Sunday. Your votes determine what teen bloggers Geo and Meri will do next. Don’t miss the accompanying teacher information, standards, and lesson ideas for using the mission. Accompanying Google Earth files let you “watch” the Mission unfold. For extra fun, set your class Twitter account to follow Geo and Meri (@geoandmeri), too!


October and onward
October is International Dinosaur Month. Next week we observe Columbus Day. Check out resources for these and other upcoming events in TeachersFirst’s Classroom Planning Calendar. You might even want to share some of them with your class parents.


How much homework?
The homework debate returns every fall, especially among elementary parents and teachers. This week’s teacher poll asks: How much homework is appropriate for grades K-2? Respond on the TeachersFirst home page.


Explorers' Graveyard
If you teach explorers, this lesson idea is a must. Typically, classrooms learn about Explorers to America around this time of the school year, with Halloween just around the corner. Start now to culminate just in time for Halloween (no mention of Halloween actually required). Create a classroom review project that the whole school will enjoy. This assignment involves research, review, and creative writing.


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. Read one Thinking Teacher’s thoughts about it here.


Staying warm
We can learn about our culture and others simply by looking at our clothing. Share the XW1W question for the week of October 5 to learn what people wear in other places and cultures: Which do you wear more: sweater or jacket? 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.


As you approach the end of the first marking period, you probably have some students who are already slipping behind. This is the perfect time to suggest some study skills resources they can try as they study for tests or review material. Get them involved in learning how to learn with TeachersFirst's Study Skills Resources. You can also find tools to create study aids at the TeachersFirst Edge - Study aid creator page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find resources for visual learners:

  • Geography map quizzes to challenge anyone
  • Awesome educational memes (aka images with text that explains concepts)
  • Two tools for passing files between devices
  • Interactives and stories for the very young
  • Historical thinking
  • Science videos
  • New clips galore
  • An easy to use graphic organizer tool
  • Artist images- organized for you!
  • Food safety
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Oct 12 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived October 5 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 a blend of creative thinking powered by solid understanding in your classes this week.

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