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November 10, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

This week is Veterans Day, a time to turn to every veteran you know and say “Thanks.” Teachers and veterans have a common mission: the desire to serve others for the benefit of society. Take the time to salute those who put their lives on hold—and on the line—to serve all of us. The Thinking Teachers at TeachersFirst support all teaching veterans and veteran teachers in your service to today’s learners.


What's hot?
Ever wonder what resources other teachers are excited about? Don’t miss the “What’s Hot” menu on TeachersFirst for connections into the minds of Thinking Teachers. Especially interesting is What’s Popular, a list of the TeachersFirst resources and reviews most “favorite” in the last 60 days. With over 16,000 resources to choose from, making the “popularity list” is a real accomplishment!


Food for thought
What better way to venerate the Bard than to throw a party in his honor! This year, the 450th anniversary of the birth of the Bard, is a perfect time to plan a feast to rival Thanksgiving. TeachersFirst’s Shakespearean Feast lesson plan will make any Shakespeare unit memorable. For food to nourish hungry minds throughout your Shakespeare unit, try TeacherFirst's Shakespeare Resources.


Speaking of food
November is the month of food! Take a healthy approach to food and literacy in your elementary class with Food, Glorious Food! Serving Up Common Core Connections. This read-aloud from TeachersFirst provides resources and suggestions of books and activities on the theme of Foods and Nutrition. With the current focus on childhood obesity, the popularity of school gardens and farm-to-school initiatives, and the campaign to “eat local,” the connection to food-related books is compelling. What would the pilgrims say?


Observances and occasions
This week is Veterans Day. Honor them with ideas from this collection of resources. November is also Native American Heritage Month. Plan an observance for any level, including one of the most popular resources on TeachersFirst, our Native American Crafts Unit  Coming up soon is Geography Awareness Week (Nov  16-22). Take a look all our calendar-related resources as you dive into the home stretch to Thanksgiving!


Saluting veterans
Some schools have Veterans Day off; others honor veterans as part of a regular school day. This week’s teacher poll asks: How will your school honor Veteran's Day? Respond using the poll choices on the TeachersFirst home page.


Lat and long
Geo and Meri are mastering the concepts of latitutde and longitude as they travel in Brazil this week on Globetracker’s Mission. Their blog about their travels to find Dewey, the truth-sniffing dog, continues with your assistance. Vote to help them 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. Join the journey across seven continents from now through early May. New episodes appear every 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.


Reading everywhere
Literacy is important at every grade level and in every subject. Find resources to support reading in the content areas, even if you are not a “reading teacher.” You will find even your math and science students need help with literacy skills to be successful. We have the resources and strategies to help: Reading in the Content Areas.


OK2Ask® two for none!
You can get two OK2Ask® sessions for the price of none (FREE!) during November – and throughout the year! Enjoy OK2Ask FREE, live, online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development as you relax after a long day at school. Registration is open for our remaining two sessions for 2014, both before Thanksgiving. Sneak a peek at the winter and spring offerings> You can register for January and beyond beginning in early December. 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:

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.


By land or by sea?
Some cultures spend much of their time on water. Others stick to dry land. Share the XW1W question for the week of November 2 to learn about people in other places: How often do you ride in a boat (any type)? 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.


Two historic gems
TeachersFirst’s Interactive Raven, popular enough to draw millions every year, is not our only student-centered resource. Students in upper elementary to middle school U.S. history love TeachersFirst’s Frontier Forts of the American Revolution because they can “see” and experience what life was like during this era. Middle school and high school students love to dig through the infographics and thought provoking questions in Gettysburg by the Numbers. Share it on any device, including BYOD! There is something for every interest, building beyond dates and data to questions and connections about this Civil War turning Point. Mark both in your favorites for upcoming units.


Connecting through reading
We know kids learn more if they can connect curriculum to what they know. Contribute to connections by encouraging independent reading using CurriConnects, lists of books with something for every reading level. These themed lists support the concepts you are or will be studying. Music teachers will love our latest, Music and Musicians. If you teach careers, you’ll like What Do You Do? Explore these and dozens more to support learning through literacy, even in high school. Common Core loves this idea!


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find hot topics and cool sites:

  • Ebola explained
  • Cool tools for drawing and image editing
  • Spelling in a game
  • “Cards” for math skill practice
  • Parenting resources to share
  • Statistical looks at your life
  • World nation data
  • An outstanding personal organizer
  • Political cartoons (how timely!)
  • Music theory
  • ...and more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Nov 16 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived November 9 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your students discover a greater understanding of “service” this week.

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