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May 25, 2015

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Happy Memorial Day! We hope that all teachers are enjoying the extra day off to celebrate and remember. We also thank all of our teachers who also served our country in the military.


Summer Sparklers for Students
Some schools may already be finished for the year; others have a few weeks to go. If you are preparing for a late 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!


Award Winning Books
Our latest CurriConnects theme, Award Winning Books, offers a collection of fabulous books that won various awards: Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Book Award, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, among others. CurriConnects book lists provide choices for student independent reading in support of curriculum content. This particular list is rich in variety and offers both fiction and information text. All of our CurriConnects lists include Lexile® levels, interest levels, and a short “blurb” to help any student find a book of interest. Share the lists with your school library/media specialist or your local public library to locate the books on the shelves or on interlibrary loan.


How Do You Remember?
Does your entire school do anything to acknowledge Memorial Day? Maybe you do some activities within your own classroom? This week’s Teacher Poll asks: Does your school acknowledge Memorial Day? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


ISTE—Coming Soon!
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® On Demand webcast at 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® On Demand link will be front and center 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.


Memorial Day and MORE!
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 Wednesdays for five weeks. All regular summer sessions begin at 6pm EDT. 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.


Memorial Day—A Time to Remember
What (if anything) does your community do to celebrate Memorial Day? Is there a parade, or fireworks, or do local business close for the day? The XW1W question for the week of May 24: Do you celebrate Memorial Day where you live? How? 

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 cool tools, animation, and some jokes:

  • Check Your Grammar
  • Writing Prompts—Visually
  • Bugs!
  • Presentations made Easy
  • Trippin for ESL
  • Coding for all ages
  • Jokes and Riddles
  • Declaration of Independence gone Digital
  • Alerts via Twitter
  • Interactive Timeline
  • Groovy Economics
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this May 31 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived May 24 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


As your long weekend draws to a close and you are back in the trenches for one final round, we hope that TeachersFirst can be your virtual survival kit to make it to the finish line. You are almost there!


The TeachersFirst Team