TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List


Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

In less than four weeks, we will be stuffing turkeys and ourselves. Before we make the grocery list, TeachersFirst is sharing our thankful list over the next few weeks. We give thanks for what you bring to teaching: your passion and your personal interests. The extras you bring to your classroom may be just the condiments that make learning taste best. What makes you thankful about teaching?


Reading through tough situations
You probably worry about certain students whose difficult personal situations interfere with their achievement and their overall well-being. If you have a student coping with death, divorce, or other challenges, you might want to suggest books from TeachersFirst’s CurriConnects Book List: Books for Tough Situations. This leveled book list is handy for school counselors, librarian/media specialists, and any classroom teacher. Share it with parents and students as needed. You never know how much a good book will open the dialog and help a student find a path through tough times. This list also makes a great thematic list for literature discussions about empathy.


Speaking of tough situations
It has happened to all of us: You plan an amazing lesson, reserve the laptops, get your tech adrenalin pumping for a productive lesson, and something goes terribly wrong. Try TeachersFirst’s, Been There, Done That, time-tested tips from the trenches to help technology-based lessons run smoothly. Take one, pass it on with the share widget at the top of the page.


What's happening?
It feels as though we teachers just get a grip on what’s happening today when we notice another upcoming “happening” that would be perfect hook to connect our students with curriculum. November brings Native American Heritage Month and of course Election Day, Veteran’s Day, and Thanksgiving. Find resources—ready at a click—to connect your curriculum with upcoming events at the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar, always ready, just in time. (Don’t miss our Native American Crafts unit!)


Common Core: The fuss over non-fiction
If you teach in a state that has adopted the Common Core State Standards, you are grappling with how they will affect your teaching, especially the shifted emphasis on informational texts. TeachersFirst offers a new Q/A article for elementary teachers to help you to make sense of this shift and provide you with some practical tips and resources to get started.


Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W for the week of October 28: How many ways do you use pumpkins? Share the details of life where you live and learn about others with Across the World Once a Week (XW1W). This quick activity 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 with just a moment or two of class time.


Fall into family literacy
Fall is the perfect time for family fun. Our partner site, TeachersAndFamilies, offers TogetheRead, a free family literacy feature, to help students build effective reading strategies as families enjoy age-appropriate books for all, centered around a common theme. Each monthly theme includes free or low-cost family activities to go along with books for all age groups (even teens). November’s theme is Forgetting and Forgotten, a wonderful blend of books about memory, memories, and long lost surprises. Share TogetheRead with your students and parents as a fall family favorite, perhaps along with the address and hours of the local library.


November Harvest
November’s OK2Ask® sessions offer a chance to collaborate with other technology coaches/integration specialists and a session for any teacher to gather ideas. These online professional development “snack sessions” last just over an hour and  fill your ideas baskets—for free. Professional development certificates are available for those who participate fully. See the full schedule from now through May, 2013. Register now for November sessions. Registration for January, 2013 sessions will open in a few weeks. All sessions meet 7:00- 8:15 pm Eastern time unless otherwise noted.

Inspiring and Implementing: Sharing and Solutions for Technology Coaches/trainers; Thursday November 8

Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Thursday November 15


Cruisin' teens
Geo and Meri are cruising around South America this week on Globetracker’s Mission. This Ready to Go content is always available bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page. Fire up your projector for geography, map skills, landforms, and more with your students in grades 2-6. You can even follow @geoandmeri on Twitter or see their tweets in the sidebar of their blog.


Sizing up?
What is your typical class size this year? Respond to the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find sites to make your students think and to help you learn:

  • Revolutionary Boston
  • Icons and clip art- free to use
  • Math fact practice
  • Common Core math resources
  • Tech tips on embedding and uses for QR codes
  • Wind energy
  • Two inspiring sites for design thinking
  • A handy way to share images and screenshots
  • A Pandora-esque book finder

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this October 28 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived October 28 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you discover a new “special sauce” for your lessons this week.


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