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May 18, 2015

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

As teachers, we know the importance of a lifelong education, the value of reading for both pleasure and to learn, and the necessity to take time to relax. We hope this week’s update offers you tips and tricks for professional development, reading tools for both you and your students, and of course finding time for YOU!


Summer Book Club
We are very excited to be planning a new Professional Development offering for our members. We will be hosting a book club for those who are interested in professional summer reading. Our book club will offer 45 professional development points for those who read the book and participate in the discussions. We will also have the author join us for two webinars!  Our parent company, The Source For Learning, will purchase the books for all participants. Space is limited. More information is available here.


ISTE Bound
As always, TeachersFirst is headed to the ISTE conference in June. If you are going, plan to meet up with us there (more details in June Updates). If you cannot afford a trip to Philadelphia, we can help! We will be doing an OK2Ask® LIVE webcast from ISTE. Plan to watch and listen to teachers as they share their fabulous ISTE discoveries. It is almost like being there—without the airfare. Mark your calendars now! The OK2Ask® LIVE link will be front and center on the TeachersFirst home page.


Avoid the Summer Slide
Some schools have only a few weeks of school left. If you are preparing for a May final day, NOW is the time to share the TeachersFirst Summer Sparklers with parents and students. Prevent “summer slide” while inspiring creativity (and learning) with this handpicked collection of creative tools, clever sites, individualized challenges, and interactives for all ages. Put the link on your summer learning web page and share it in your monthly e-newsletter. Parents will appreciate it!


Terrific Teaching Techniques
How do you enjoy teaching and learning in May? Do you enjoy taking your class on a field trip? Do you enjoy taking your classroom “outside” of the building? Is May your time for big projects and culminating tests? Or maybe you keep the same routine through May. Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Summer Reading isn't Just for Kids!
Maybe you prefer a more traditional way to learn: sitting on the beach with a book. Now is the time to start collecting that stack of reading, and TeachersFirst is here to help. We know that in your day-to-day teaching life you might not have time to read all you’d like for your own professional growth and emotional well-being, but this article shares books and blogs to re-ignite your teaching flame.


May Happenings
May and June are the time for thank-you gifts to school staff and parent volunteers. Memorial Day is the time to remember, let’s not forget. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for May and throughout the entire year.


OK2Ask® Summer FREE PD!
Summer OK2Ask sessions resume in early July and will be held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesday for five weeks. All regular summer sessions begin at 6pm EDT. Watch the update for more exciting OK2Ask® Summer news! OK2Ask® is a series of free, online sessions for self-directed professional development. Learn more about OK2Ask. The pdf of the summer schedule is posted now, and registration will open by the end of May. Mark your calendars now for the summer learning that YOU choose.


Don't Want to Wait? Learn Something NOW and Later
If you simply can’t wait for the Summer OK2Ask sessions to begin, you can access the OK2Ask archived recordings anytime. These recordings (mostly 90-minutes) open in Adobe Connect. This online “classroom” space allows you to start, stop, and pause to learn about many teaching topics. Because we cannot assess your learning from an archived session, we are not able to grant certificates for watching a recording. But you will LOVE being able to watch and learn with OK2Ask. See the full archive listing here.


The Gift of Reading
What is your favorite book? Do you have a certain genre that you prefer? The XW1W question for the week of May 17: What is your favorite book?

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 writing, images, and organization:

  • Virtual Dice
  • HomeRoom Mom (for teachers)
  • Storybuilder
  • Street View Game
  • Help Lincoln Become President
  • SchoolsWorld Videos
  • Explore the Columbia River
  • PD Resources for the Educator Innovator
  • Website Creator
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this May 24 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived May 17 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


Summer is only a few weeks away. Let TeachersFirst be your one-stop for all of your professional development during the Summer and throughout the year.


The TeachersFirst Team