TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List


Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Blossoming! The trees are getting buds, the Washington DC cherry blossoms are far ahead of schedule, and spring is bursting forth. Our students are also blossoming as we enter the final quarter of the school year and see how far they have come since last fall. Take a moment to look at a few of the buds on the trees before they turn into routine leaves. The moment of when student learning blossoms is our reward for nurturing them through the winter.


Wear it proudly
Are you a Thinking Teacher? Use your free TeachersFirst membership to win an eye-catching Thinking Teacher Tshirt. Leave a helpful comment on a TeachersFirst resource, telling others how you use it or why you gave it a certain rating. We draw one name randomly each month from the most helpful comments. We want to hear from Thinking Teachers!


Spring (learning) fever at OK2Ask®
Spring into the last portion of the school year with new ideas from OK2Ask®. In April, we’ll share wisdom to erase web worries. In May, an award-winning elementary math teacher will share a new session on Energizing Math. Don’t miss these free, online teacher professional development “snack sessions” ready for you attend from the comfort of your patio or porch. Yes, we do provide professional development certificates. We will announce our summer OK2Ask® schedule in May.

Web Worries: What teachers should know about online behavior 
Thursday, April 12, 2012 at two times; Read the details and register

Energizing Math: ideas, resources, and collaboration for K-8 math teachers
Tues, May 22. ONE session 7-8:30 pm EDT ONLY; Read the details and register


Can TeachersFirst bat 1000 in time for our birthday?
Our free, ad-free service will be 14 years old in April. Don’t you think a teenager deserves some recognition for doing good things? Stop by our Facebook page to tell us what you like about TeachersFirst. Spread the word about TeachersFirst to other teacher friends. Can you help us hit 1000 “Likes” in time for our mid-April birthday?


Reading for all
Reading is at the core of everything we teach (and test). Even if you teach calculus, your students need strong reading skills to grasp problems. You will find resources to promote literacy from pre-K to college level on our Reading for All page. Share it with your literacy coaches, reading specialists and content area teachers.


Project season!
Just in time for culminating project season, TeachersFirst reminds you how handy rubrics are before during and after projects. Try Rubrics to the Rescue for professional tips and tools to make and use rubrics for those intense projects. Share the expectations before they start. Find ready-made and easy-to-create rubric options in Rubrics to the Rescue.


Lost in Poetry Month
The April installment of Help I Lost My Library/Media Specialist features poetry read-alouds and activities for elementary grades in honor of National Poetry Month. Even if you do not teach language arts or reading, poetry can find its way into your math or science or social studies classes using the great ideas offered by this library/media specialist, our gift to schools where the “library lady” (or gentleman) has disappeared due to budget cuts.


Fools, Baseball, Autism Awareness, and Poetry!
April starts in one week. Fortunately April Fool’s day falls on a Sunday, so we miss out on tacks on our chairs, chalk in the eraser, and computer screensavers of ugly bugs. Why not celebrate humor productively with comics and comic creation this April Fool’s? Celebrate Baseball’s opening day and National Poetry Month with offerings from the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. April is also Autism Awareness month. Teachers at any grade level will find timely resources on the calendar. The April calendar is packed.


Your pet peeve?
Which teacher pet peeve depletes learning the most in your class?
Click your response to the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


The Big Easy
Geo and Meri are in New Orleans this week on Globetracker’s Mission. Your students have learned standards-based map skills, geography and more since October as they travel with the intrepid teens. Don’t tell your students, but the mission will wrap up in mid-April, followed by a review activities to pull it all together and recap what students have learned. You can always rewind to prior episodes using the <<episode link at the top. Catch up with Geo and Meri when you have a chance.


Do you think like a teacher?
I know I do. Enjoy some camaraderie by stopping by the TeachersFirst editor’s blog, Think Like a Teacher to make you feel better after a tough day, for a thought-provoking question, or simply to have a chuckle. Find out what the lead “Thinking Teacher” is working on and wondering. I welcome your comments and links to other teacher blogs.



Around the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W  for the week of Mar 25: What spice or seasoning does your family use the most? 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 in our Featured Sites, find sites to help students think, write, graph, and listen:

  • Audio versions of classic stories
  • A cool tool for audible QR codes
  • Mad scientists
  • Thought provoking literary combos
  • A terrific chart maker
  • Two ways to look at dollar bills
  • An autism-friendly browser
  • Several other “cool tools”

Don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your classes be awash with blossoming ideas (and budding questions) this week.


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