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April 6, 2015

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

It is that time of the year! It is time to put on your hard hats and delve into testing season! Make sure you are strapped in; it’s a bumpy ride. You have worked hard all year, and now is the time for your students to shine. If you feel lost during the season, your hard hat has a light... TeachersFirst: Free resources and Free PD! Let TeachersFirst help you.


I think that I shall never see...
National Poetry Month is more than a fest for English Teachers. It is a chance for readers of all ages to take up a book about poets and poetry. Share the CurriConnects list on Poetry and Poets with your teacher-librarian and your students.

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. Students can find books at their appropriate interest and Lexile® level.

Cool Tools—Edge—W tools
This is our final week of highlighting our exciting Edge tools! 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 highlight two edge categories: Wikis and Web Page Makers. Both categories feature tools to create or edit (wikis and/or web pages). 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.


OK2Ask Spring 2015 Sessions
This week the spring season of TeachersFirst’s FREE OK2Ask webinars continues. Check out the many offerings from OK2Ask in 2015. Registration is 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. Most sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time.

  • Tour of TeachersFirst Edge Tools and Ideas; Thu Apr. 9
  • Google Advanced Cool Tools; Mon Apr. 13
  • Building Ethical Digital Citizens; Tue Apr. 28
  • Ready. Set. Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments”; Mon May 4


April Showers of Activities!
It will soon be the opening of baseball season and Take Your Son or Daughter To Work Day. Find ideas for National Poetry Month, Earth Day, Autism Awareness, and more. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for April and throughout the entire year.


Animals and People
The April theme from TogetheRead is “Animals and People!” TogetheRead provides a list of recommended books, questions, and activities designed to build stronger readers. The themes include books for all ages, centered around the same theme. Parents find questions to ask and activities to do as the family reads, deepening comprehension before, during, and after reading. TogetheRead lets the entire family support literacy.


Two, Three, Four... Or More?
How is your school year (or grading) broken up? Do you have four quarters or marking periods, semesters, trimesters, or something different? This week’s teacher poll asks: How is your year (and grading) divided? Tell us about it on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Science Fair goes Google!
Does your school have an annual Science Fair? Share this additional challenge with your students. The Google Science Fair (for ages 13-18 only) has begun! Submissions will be accepted until May. Learn more about this annual competition in our TeachersFirst review.


Doctor, Doctor?
What is health care where like where you live? Might it be different elsewhere? The XW1W question for the week of April 5: How close is the nearest hospital to your home or school? Make this the year you make a class Twitter account to learn from classes near and far.

Students can learn 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 their 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.


Water Everywhere
Did you know that over 50 countries around the world will be participating in the World Water Monitoring Challenge? You can monitor a lake, stream, bay, or any other nearby body of water. The official kickoff for the challenge was on World Water Day, March 22. However, the challenge continues through December 31. How can you get your class involved? Learn more about the World Water Monitoring Challenge here.


Still Seeking Science Teachers
Just a reminder that MySciLife—SFL’s social learning envorinment for middle school science—is still recruiting interested teachers for next year. If you or one of your friends is a creative middle level (gr 6-9) science teacher who enjoys student-centered learning, please read the details, then submit your information via the link to “To apply online” at the bottom of the page. Spaces are limited, so apply NOW. MySciLife® brings science to life.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites find birds, STEM, and more:

  • White House Films
  • Mental Floss
  • Build a 3D city
  • Historical Maps
  • Engineering
  • Migrant Trail
  • Virtual Instruments
  • Numeracy for all ages
  • Spanish with Noah
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this April 12 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived April 5 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.

Keep on digging through the tunnels of testing and learning. Let TeachersFirst be the light to help you find the best resources for you and your classroom.

The TeachersFirst Team