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January 5, 2015

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

New Year’s resolutions are part promise, part guilt. Your resolution might be to try a new approach to learning or to try harder with that one difficult student. TeachersFirst has the resources and teacher-tested ideas to steer you clear of the guilt and into success.


Getting it together
Eating healthy and getting organized are probably the most popular New Year’s resolutions. TeachersFirst can help you and your students with both. See our resources tagged obesity or nutrition to work on the first. Lead your entire class down a positive path to organization with TeachersFirst Edge tools for organization. You will find ideas for yourself, for students, and even for parents!


Make every day count
Start the New Year with today in history and why it matters. Dates That Matter offers a new prompt every day, asking questions to help students connect an important historic event to what they know. Instead of tossing out a factoid, Dates That Matter builds understanding through context. Make this the year you share it, even if you can’t include it in class every day.


Weather or not?
Some locations are more susceptible to bad weather than others. Share the XW1W question for the week of January 4: Do you ever have days off school for bad weather? 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.


Speaking of weather
We are now into the part of the year when many schools experience the dreaded Snow Day. Why not build in ways for students to avoid “slipping” even if they cannot safely get to school. Check out TeachersFirst’s Snow Day resources, a combination of online learning tools/ communities and snow-related resources. Mark it on your class web page now so students will maintain learning traction despite cancellations.


Pajamas or sweats
What better way to spend a cold winter evening than in your comfy clothes, learning something for yourself? Check out many new offerings from OK2Ask in 2015. Register now for January and February sessions. Read our FAQ for general information about certificates, etc. Please be sure to read the detailed descriptions and suggested technology comfort levels BEFORE you register for the best match for your learning needs. See a full preview of offerings through May in this pdf. All sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time. (Sorry, not pajama time for those in the Pacific time zone, but at least you can attend with an after school snack!)


Dream tech
Is your school BYOD (or 1:1)? Have you been promising yourself you’ll try some technology-infused lessons in 2015? We have the teacher-reviewed tools to make it easier. TeachersFirst’s BYOD Dream Tools are free tools that work on ANY device! We call them DATs, or Device Agnostic Tools. Whether you call it an "app" or a "web tool," a DAT allows you to access your projects from almost any device. Ideal for BYOD classrooms or 1:1 computer/tablet programs, these reviewed tools allow users to create and access projects using the same app, no matter what kind of device they have. No more chaos!


It's a date
If you haven’t made a resolution yet, it’s not too late! Share ideas and learning resources for New Years with your students this week. Plan ahead with resources for Martin Luther King and  the 100th Day of School. Find resources for events and observances throughout 2015 in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Geo and Meri are in Oceania this week on Globetracker’s Mission. Do you know where that is? Do your students? Help students (grades 2-6) find out by joining the Mission in 2015 to learn map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and much more. Your kids will love traveling the world through the eyes of teens Geo and Meri. 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.



Docs/Drive, GAFE?
This week’s teacher poll asks: Does your school use Google Docs/Drive or maybe Google Apps for Ed? Click your poll response on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find batch #2 of our editor’s all time favorites, including favorites for science, social studies, math, and art:

  • A new look at time—perfect for a New Year!
  • The Battle of Gettysburg
  • Current events wordlessly
  • Build a contraption
  • Color!
  • Numbers in a tree
  • Patterns
  • Math in today’s world
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this January 11 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived January 4 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


May you see promise in all your students this week and throughout the New Year.

The TeachersFirst Team