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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Summer is definitely here this week. You can smell the chlorine in the pool and hear the sighs of relief as even the longest school years end. Whatever your favorite sign of summer, we hope you are able to savor it. As you take a break, we hope you will find some time to take a leisurely stroll through TeachersFirst 3.0. We intentionally chose the summertime to launch our new site so you would have time to explore and learn when you are ready.

Where is the Thinking Teacher?
The Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst are headed to Philadelphia June 26-29 for the ISTE conference. Watch for people wearing Thinking Teacher shirts. Be sure to say hello and let us know you are a TeachersFirst user. We love meeting you. Stop at our booth (#2809) to earn your own shirt or some great badge ribbons to tell the world that you are a Thinking Teacher/Teaching Thinker. Meet me at my presentations:

  • China: Expanding Collaboration through School Visits
    Sunday, 6/26/2011, 7:00pm - 8:30pm; PACC Broad St Atrium , Table: 2

  • Hands off, Vanna! Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard Learning
    Wednesday, 6/29/2011, 8:30am - 9:30am; PACC 113A

  • Cycles vs. Checklists: Fostering Creative Process in an Accountability World
    Wednesday, 6/29/2011, 10:15am - 11:15am; PACC 204B


OK2Ask™ LIVE from ISTE and all summer long
Most teachers cannot travel to Philadelphia, so we will come to you. Summer OK2Ask™ kicks off on June 28 with OK2Ask™ LIVE from ISTE in Philadelphia. Tune in via the link on the TeachersFirst home page from 3:30-4:30 pm EDT to hear Thinking Teachers willing to share what they have seen and learned at this ed tech conference. Mark your calendar now. Our full summer OK2Ask™ schedule is online. Registration is now open for:

Great Ideas! Exploring the Resources of the new TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons;™ Tues, July 19, 2011; One session only: 6:00-7:15 pm EDT


This week's TeachersFirst 3.0 BEST FIND
Maybe you wonder what those little aqua E's are on some TeachersFirst reviews. If you have never looked at the TeachersFirst Edge, this is the summer to take a look. The Edge is our collection of tools to make things -- some call them web 2.0 tools. Click to Go to the Edge from our home page or the What's Hot tab. Find understandable explanations of classroom-friendly tools you and your students can use to create things for free. Make comics, graphic organizers, presentations, and much more. Share your creations easily by email or on the web. Keep it safe and within school policies using our helpful tips from experienced teachers. Little icons at the end of the reviews indicate the technology expertise required to learn a tool, so you can start with something simple or play with the ultra-tech toys. You don't have to buy anything to create a whole new way of learning. Find out why other teachers are talking about the TeachersFirst Edge.


This Week's Poll
What does your school's Acceptable Use Policy include about cyberbullying? Share your response to this new Weekly Poll front and center on the TeachersFirst home page. The new poll format lets you click to see the poll results instantly!


Tell the world that you're a Thinking Teacher!
In these days of teacher bashing, it is even more important to tell the world good things about teachers. We are watching your blogs and tweets. Soon, we will be surprising random teachers who spread the word about TeachersFirst with a special gift. If you have a blog or web page, write a post about why you like TeachersFirst. Tweet about us several times. Share TeachersFirst on Facebook. Then stay tuned for more details on how Thinking Teachers like you can proudly "wear" profession for all to see.


Many eyes help
For the next few weeks, we will be discovering things we forgot to pack or boxes we mislabeled in our move to TeachersFirst 3.0. We welcome your help spotting the things we need to fix. If you discover a concern on TeachersFirst 3.0, feel free to contact us.


Members only
If you have a free TeachersFirst membership, you probably have tried logging into TeachersFirst 3.0 to be able to comment on resources and mark/tag favorites among our 12,500+ reviewed resources. During the transition to our full TeachersFirst 3.0 member features, we are still finalizing these tools, so please be patient with us. Your ability to edit/tag your TeachersFirst Favorites will be working again by July 1. A brand new system will be available in time for the 2011-12 school year for you to share selected Favs on a public page for students and parents to see and use your recommendations.

Don't have a FREE TeachersFirst membership? Those who receive our Update emails are not automatically "members." You have to sign up. Find out more about FREE member features and sign up NOW. (P.S. We don't sell or give away ANY information about you to ANYONE.)


Planning ahead
Get the fireworks ready! July 4 is approaching. Don't miss ideas and resources for this and many other calendar dates in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar, front and center on the TeachersFirst home page. Look ahead at the helpful collections for next school year... before you head off to the beach!


Summer Sparklers squelch the slide
Summer Sparklers is a collection of teacher-reviewed web resources to keep kids learning all summer long. This editors' choice collection includes tools for students and/or parents to create something together, sites that reinforce skills to prevent "summer slide," and challenges to spark thinking at any age. Written by teachers for teachers, the page is a treasure trove for parents --and even babysitters-- especially on a rainy day. Be sure to share the link as a summer parting gift or on you web page for the summer.


This week's XW1W question: How many times a week do you eat fish?
Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) uses microblogging or blogging tools to share responses about everyday life from any corner of the world. The XW1W FAQ page explains it all. Make today's instant communications an instant learning experience.


Featured Sites
This week's featured sites include new tools, new views, and engaging reviews:

  • Another great comics tool
  • Multiple subject interactives to head off summer slide
  • A timeline of disease and vaccines
  • More math sites!
  • Democracy for kids and a history find
  • An awesome new way to see the web
  • A daily graphic about the world
  • Lesson plans for IT
  • And more!

May your week bring a splash of something refreshing and a complete change of pace. You have earned it.

Your "teacher to go,"
Candace Hackett Shively
Director of K-12 Initiatives