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February 9, 2015

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Teaching in the winter brings about many challenges and interruptions. You will have more students out sick. The weather is also, well, unpredictable: delays, early dismissals, and students dreaming of the snow outside the window. Before you know it, the interruptions will end and testing season will begin. Grab some great ideas from TeachersFirst to help smooth the interruptions.


BYOD Dream Tools
TeachersFirst has collected BYOD Dream Tools that are perfect additions to your 1-1 or BYOD classroom. Find reviewed tools available for FREE on the web, iOS, and Android, perfect for accomplishing any learning task on any “device.”


The Edge of Learning: A to B
The TeachersFirst Edge features teacher-reviewed, free, online tools (many with free app versions) to help you and your students create projects or simply make your digital life a little easier. This week we are highlighting Edge categories A to B. Although we list these tools under the appropriate subjects where they might fit, the little turquoise “E” icon in the review means this is a tool where you or your students can create or collaborate in making something of your own. TeachersFirst Edge offers many subjects: Animation, Apps, Audio, Blogs, and Bookmarks. What does it all mean? Animation tools allow you to create or edit animation. Apps usually require a download. They are programs that you load or run on a device. Audio tools are primarily for creating and/or editing audio. Blogs and Bookmarks offer tools to use in both of these areas. Explore all of the categories of the Edge.


Mission Continues... To Hong Kong
Geo and Meri visited Korea and now continue their mission on to Hong Kong to find Dewey: the Truth-Sniffing Dog. Find out what they will explore first on Globetracker’s Mission. Help students (grades 2-6) learn more 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.


OK2Ask Spring Registration is OPEN
TeachersFirst brings you “just in time” topics to keep your professional development fresh! Check out the many offerings from OK2Ask® in 2015. Coming up soon... Common Core Writing K-12, Using YouTube and Google Maps, and a sharing session for Tech Coaches. Registration is now OPEN for all winter and spring 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. Most sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time.


February Plans
This week we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Coming up soon we will prepare for National Inventors’ Day, Presidents Day, and Chinese New Year. And don’t forget Black History Month and Dental Health Month. You’ll find resources for events and observances throughout 2015 in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


How do you Learn Best?
How do you learn and process new information the best? Do you prefer small focus groups or large group instruction (meetings)? Do you find self-paced online learning most beneficial? This week’s teacher poll asks: In what professional development format do you learn best? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Lincoln Lessons
Presidents Day and Lincoln’s birthday are two good reasons to honor Lincoln this month. Add the 150th anniversary of both the Emancipation Proclamation and the Battle of Gettysburg (in 2013), and you have even more reasons to share TeachersFirst’s Lincoln Lessons. There are lesson ideas for ALL subjects and grade levels.


Best Time of the Day?
What is the highlight of your school day? Do you enjoy math or science labs? Maybe recess or lunch is your favorite part of the day? Share the XW1W question for the week of February 8: What is your favorite part of the school day? 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. TeachersFirst’s 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.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find timelines, typing, talking cards, and more:

  • Code for Kids
  • World War I Food
  • Interactive Math for the Young
  • Aerial Maps
  • World Language Add-On
  • Snow Day
  • Periodic Table Reactions
  • Writing with a Touch of Art
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this February 15 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived February 8 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


May your students’ daydreams of the snow be interrupted by the many learning experience inside the classroom.

The TeachersFirst Team