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November 24, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

The Thinking Teachers give thanks for you and all that you do for your students. As we all hurry through our crazy schedules, sometimes we lose sight of the impact we make on kids’ lives. We at TeachersFirst are very grateful that you choose us as a resource and that you share what we have to offer with hundreds of thousands of students. May you enjoy a peaceful, family-filled, stress-free Thanksgiving. You deserve it!


Sights and sounds
As we challenge students to read, we can offer audio books so all students, including emerging readers and ESL/ELL learners, can experience literature and other reading selections in audio form to reinforce and inspire literacy skills and enjoyment. TeachersFirst's Audio Books collection includes reviewed resources with books that are audio only, others that include text to follow on the site as you listen, and others with options to interact with the book by clicking, responding, and watching animations. Even your high school students will appreciate downloading a book file to “read” on an MP3 player or phone.


One month to the next
We are nearing the end of Native American Heritage Month. If you haven’t planned a special lesson, try our Native American Crafts Unit for hands-on learning (or as a possible craft for Thanksgiving). December rolls in soon, with the official “opening” of gift-giving season, observances for Pearl Harbor Day, and the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ flight. Look for these and more calendar-related resources throughout the year, even for Thanksgiving!


A break at last!
You are almost there! This week’s teacher poll asks, How do you plan to spend Thanksgiving break? Respond using the poll choices on the TeachersFirst home page.


A peek at the New Year
Sneak a peek at the OK2Ask® winter and spring offerings before registration for January/February sessions opens December 1.  Read our FAQ for information about certificates, etc.  All sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time.


A new continent
Geo and Meri conclude their time in South America this week and are bound for another continent on Globetracker's Mission. They continue to search for Dewey, the truth-sniffing dog. Vote to help them decide their next move at he end of each weekly episode. 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. (Yes, the mission will pause over winter break.) 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.


Doing for others
How we spend our “spare time” tells a lot about what we value in our culture. Share the XW1W question for the week of November 23 to learn about values in other places: Do you do volunteer work? 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.


Space for reading
If you teach about space and space exploration—or simply have been hearing a lot of questions since the Virgin Galactic crash – we have a brand new CurriConnects list for you: Solar System and Space. Launch into books about space and space exploration. Delve into black holes, or get to know famous astronomers. This list includes books at all levels from young "astronauts to be" to high school space scholars. Include this booklist as you count down to a unit on space so each student can do some personal exploration - and sharing. There are books at all interest and reading levels, so every student can reach for the stars. As with all CurriConnects lists, we even provide Lexiles®.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find simple tools, professional finds, and great curriculum:

  • Time and date tools
  • Read-alouds
  • Facts for kids
  • Audio postcards
  • Women’s rights
  • A Poe story a whole new way
  • Tools for class photos and class management
  • Easy charts
  • Two terrific CCSS finds
  • Embeddable learning games
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Nov 30 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived November 23 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


May your young “turkeys” be stuffed with knowledge this short week!

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