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August 17, 2015

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Get ready to rev up those engines! It is time for the Back to School race. We have packed this update with practical, successful, and timesaving resources. Think of us as your virtual “pit crew” when the rubber meets the road in your classroom. Ready... Set... GO!


Ready or Not
Start your year off right with terrific, reviewed organization tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. Find new and engaging ways to start yourself, your students, and even parents on the right track for a successful school year! Check out these resources tagged for back to school, including handy tools to arrange your classroom and student seating, as well as ideas on how to get to know your new students, and more! You will love the TeachersFirst’s Getting to Know You ideas for the first day or week of class. And you don’t want to miss our inspirational (ready to go) Bulletin Board Hangups. These FREE thought-provoking quotes are ready to print for your classroom walls.


New Contributors
Do you enjoy helping colleagues learn about technology? Would you like to use that passion to contribute to TeachersFirst? The Source For Learning (SFL) is currently looking for new contributors for our TeachersFirst community. If you are interested in joining our team, please fill out this Google form.


OK2Ask Archives: PD On-Demand
It is hard to believe that our Summer season of OK2Ask has come to an end. Thank you for joining us for a fabulous five weeks! You can access the OK2Ask archived recordings anytime! These recordings (mostly 90-minutes) open in Adobe Connect. The 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. Our Fall 2015 schedule will be posted soon! Watch your weekly update to learn more.


Start Your September Planning Now
TeachersFirst planning calendar is with you throughout the year with just-in-time resources and ideas for how to use them! September brings us Grandparents Day, International Literacy Day, the Anniversary of 9/11, and more. The TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar offers resources related to events and observations on the calendar all throughout the year. Don’t miss it!


Are you a new teacher starting your first teaching job in the fall? Will you be working with a student teacher or mentoring a new teacher? Don’t miss TeachersFirst’s ideas and help for newbie teachers, their cooperating teachers, and mentors. Click the “share” widget to pass it on!


No Matter the Date
The first day of school is a date that matters! Make it memorable with Dates that Matter. Every day, mobile-friendly (and projector ready) Dates That Matter offers a hint at an event from history that happened on that day, followed by questions to help your students connect the event with something they know. Just as the big reveal tells what the event was, you can click Why does it matter? History becomes meaningful—and engaging—in context. Designed for middle grades, Dates That Matter appeals to students and parents alike. Engage the parents at Back to School night, too. Find more teaching ideas for DTM by clicking the little “I” at the end of the Why Does it Matter explanation. Share the Dates That Matter on your school or class web page!


WOW Them!
Do you like to share your tech “finds” with students or colleagues on your website, blog, or wiki? If so, you can really look smart! Embed the TeachersFirst Featured Sites widget and have new “finds” every week without ever lifting a finger. If you can copy/paste, you can embed anything! Find the code to copy/paste here. Never embedded anything? We have a resource to help you. Or better yet, ask one of your students for help!


Tech Time-Savers for those “Odd” Jobs
Teachers love to save time, and we have just the gadgets to help. Looking for a handy, dandy way to share a file, make an online teleprompter, create a seating chart, share a timer, or accomplish some other “odd job”? Check out this collection of online tools to get the job done. Use your free TeachersFirst membership to mark the ones you like as Favorites. It’s sort of like having a drawer full of clever gadgets at your fingertips!


Looking Ahead
What are you most excited about this year? Maybe you are looking forward to meeting a new class to reach and teach, or trying some new technology in class, or maybe you are most looking forward to getting back into a regular routine? This week’s Teacher Poll asks: What are you most looking forward to this year? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Teaching about TeachersFirst?
“Back to School” is PD season. If you feature TeachersFirst in teacher professional development workshops, teach a grad class about us, or coach teachers about TeachersFirst in your role as a technology integration specialist, we can help. Complete this form telling us where you plan to feature TeachersFirst. We will send out some TeachersFirst swag for qualifying sessions. Complete the form NOW to be sure you get the package in time for your presentation.


Every class has students with different learning needs. As you get to know this year’s students, try ideas from TeachersFirst's Differentiating Instruction: Ideas for individual differences for ideas from gifted to special needs as well as some terrific help for your ESL/ELL students. The Thinking Teachers have also pulled together a collection of Editors’ Choice Tools for Pretests to help teachers know what students do (and don’t) know!


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites find Cool Tools, Maps, and more:

  • Sticky Notes
  • Game of Chrome
  • Toolkit for Teachers both New and “Seasoned”
  • Virtual Word Sort
  • Cockroaches vs. Algebra
  • Tool to make YouTube Safer
  • Body Language Explained
  • Big Apple Historical Images
  • Test Prep—FREE
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this August 23 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived August 16 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


May you (and TeachersFirst) rev up your teaching engine this week!

The TeachersFirst Team