TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List

March 2, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Teachers train future readers with informational texts, online magazines, audio books, and more. This week (in honor of Read Across America), we at TeachersFirst challenge all teachers to carve out time to read something that YOU will enjoy. Whether it is during DEAR time in your class or snug on your sofa, enjoy a book (paper or digital). You have earned it!


Google Templates, BYOD, Online Tools—FREE PD
TeachersFirst brings you “just in time” topics to keep your professional development fresh! Check out the many offerings from OK2Ask in 2015. Coming up in March: Google Templates, Juggling the BYOD or 1:1 classroom, Professional Resources, and Online Tools. Registration is now OPEN for all 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.


Historical Booklists
What was life like after World War II? Our newest installment of CurriConnects explores life during the Civil Rights movement, the tumultuous 60s, Vietnam, the JFK years, Reagan, Clinton, Woodstock, and more. Use CurriConnects leveled lists to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. Any student can find a book on the topic at the appropriate interest and Lexile® level.


Game Time
Tag - you are it! Or would you rather play a fun board game? Share the XW1W question for the week of March 1: What is your favorite game to play with your family? 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.


Keep the lines of communication open with your parents and families. TeachersFirst has created a set of “ready to go” email messages to encourage and help parents help their students. This fabulous feature is available to MEMBERS ONLY. You can personalize each message with your name and your students’ names. A preview window is available to view before you send the emails. When you log in to your TeachersFirst account, the link to this feature is on the Start Page.


How Do I Become a Member?
Did you know that TeachersFirst offers a FREE membership to save you TIME? If you are not already a member, check out reasons for joining, such as our new email messages (mentioned above), a handy list of the latest new offerings in YOUR subject area(s), and a handy tool to mark and tag favorite resources. Sign up now. Tell your teachers friends. They will thank you!


How often do you meet with parents for conferences? Do you have conferences once per year, twice per year, or maybe never? This week’s teacher poll asks: How often do you have parent-teacher conferences? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


EDGE... F - G - I
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 File Converters, Geo/Mapping tools, and Images/Photo tools (tools to edit or create images). 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.


Mission Still Possible
Geo and Meri continue through Asia on their mission to get to Veritas International and find Dewey. Join the teen bloggers as they continue their mission 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.


Blog Fog
Until you have spent some time with wikis and blogs, the differences between them (and reasons for them) can be pretty foggy. Visit TeachersFirst’s Blog Basics for the Classroom to understand the what, why, and how of blogs. Find and share all the answers you need about blogs, including ways to get started and ideas to make blogging part of your class routine. Blogs are not just for English teachers or “good” writers!


Marching in to a New Month
It is NOW time for Dr. Seuss' Birthday! March also bring us Women's History Month, Music in our Schools Month, Pi Day, The Ides of March, Saint Patrick’s Day, and more! You’ll find resources for events and observances throughout 2015 in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites find Art, Online Tools, and Mind stretchers:

  • Listen to Peter Rabbit
  • Challenging Math Puzzles
  • War of the Words
  • Digital Literacy for all
  • Search Engine and more
  • Comments in a Bubble
  • Free Science Kits for the Young
  • Kotobana Art Fun
  • House design
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this March 8 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived March 1 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


May this week be filled with reading... both in and out of your classroom.

The TeachersFirst Team