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October 27, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Classrooms are one place where ghosts are welcome, especially those vague, floating reminders of past lessons and concepts, gone but not quite forgotten. Bring the ghosts of learning past back to life with resources—and creative ideas for how to use them—from TeachersFirst.


Wrapping up October
This is the big week for Fall Festivals and Halloween festivities (if you have them). It is also Red Ribbon Week (Oct 23-31). October is also Dinosaur month, and you just have time to fit in Dinosaur Math, a lesson plan for K-1.


No more napping
Students learn best when they can explore and learn actively and personally. Take your students beyond “nearly napping” as they interact and learn with our ever-popular Interactive Raven. Students can click, roll, and explore literary devices on their own devices or school laptops, making poetry a hands-on experience. Even the vocabulary is interactive. October is the perfect time for Poe!


Looking ahead
November is Native American Heritage Month. Our collection of resources for this observance spans all grades. Many schools also celebrate Native Americans as part of Thanksgiving observances. One of the most popular resource on TeachersFirst is our Native American Crafts Unit, including directions for making corn husk dolls and dreamcatchers. We also offer resources and ideas for Veterans’ Day. And don’t forget Geography Awareness Week (Nov. 16-22). Take alook at all our calendar-related resources as you plan for the home stretch to Thanksgiving!


Election Day!
Election Day is just over a week away (November 4). Bring the election buzz into your classroom with TeachersFirst's Resources for Elections. Help students build their awareness about leadership and leaders by choosing a book for independent reading from our CurriConnects 100 Leaders leveled booklist.


OK2Ask® - no tricks!
There are no tricks from OK2Ask®, just free, LIVE, online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development. Registration is open for sessions though November. Sneak a peek at the winter and spring offerings here (registrations opens about a month ahead). Please be sure to read the detailed descriptions and suggested technology comfort levels BEFORE you register for 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 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.


Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
If you teach Annie Dillard’s Pulitzer prize-winning book, you’ll love TeachersFirst’s ideas for teaching and reading with response journals. Find chapter by chapter prompts to use in student blogs or journals. Encourage students to write and comment to each other. Looking to learn more about blogs? See TeachersFirst’s Blog Basics for the Classroom.


Workshop planning
Are you a professional development trainer, graduate professor, or ed tech coach for your school? Do you work with Thinking Teachers? If you plan to feature TeachersFirst at an upcoming workshop or PD session, you can request materials to share by filling out this online form. As a free service from a non-profit, TeachersFirst relies on word of mouth from connectors like you to “get the word out.”


Dressed up?
This week we try to survive the candy crush of Halloween. This week’s teacher poll asks: Do you wear any kind of costume at school for Halloween?
Respond to the poll choices on the TeachersFirst home page.


Going south
Geo and Meri are headed to Mexico—enjoying city life, ruins, and a little relaxation on the beach this week on Globetracker’s Mission. Follow along as they travel and try to find Dewey, the truth-sniffing dog. Your votes decide their next move. Social studies students in grades 2-6 learn map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and much more through the teens’ blogging adventure. Embark on the journey to visit seven continents from October through early May. New episodes appear each Sunday. Check out complete teacher information, standards, and lesson ideas for using the mission. There are even Google Earth files for you to “watch” the Mission unfold. For extra fun, set your class Twitter account to follow the teens Twitter account, @geoandmeri.


Food for thought
You might be surprised to know who the cooks are in different families and cultures. Share the XW1W question for the week of October 26 to learn other families and cultures: How many people cook in your family? 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.


Make it matter
To our students, history can seem like a random sequence of dates and facts with little connectedness. Enter Dates That Matter, a way to connect what students know with what really matters using a daily prompt, some questions, and a mobile-friendly, projector-ready format. Designed for middle school, these daily mini-lessons grab the attention of adults, too! Why not set it up on a laptop for parents waiting for parent-teacher conferences?


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find

  • A pair of marvelous museums
  • Social surfing
  • Parent conference tip sheets
  • Red Ribbon Week
  • Classroom layout planning
  • A simply addictive musical rhythmic tool
  • Quotations!
  • High level science videos
  • Continuing stories
  • Engagement for BYOD classrooms
  • Geography that grabs you
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Nov 2 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived October 26 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you hear cries of “I remember!” haunting your classroom this week.

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