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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

As we move into November, we are thankful for the millions of teachers and students who visit our site. Even as Hurricane Sandy was coming ashore this past week, we had classes from Ho Chi Minh City to Hampton, New Hampshire visiting TeachersFirst at the same time. We are grateful both for our servers staying online during Sandy and for our many, many users the world over, including you.

Our hearts go out to the many teachers and students in Sandy’s path, many of whom are experiencing widespread damage, closed schools, no power, or no Internet access. We hope the rest of us who were lucky enough to continue school/life as usual will find a way to send support via the Red Cross or another reputable agency.

A week at the Edge
Our review team has found so many good Edge tools lately that we making the Featured Sites this week an All Edge edition. What is the TeachersFirst Edge? Edge sites are tools that let you or your students create, store, and/or share your own content and projects, everything from bookmark lists to animations and maps. If you see a small turquoise E on a review, it means that resource is an “Edge” tool. You find Edge tools among our listings in nearly all subjects and grades. Edge reviews include extra information about tool features and technical needs. A thermometer indicates the level of tech challenge this tool may be. Open the review fully to see the list of specific characteristics. Roll over or click each characteristic for tips to use it with your students. Go directly to the Edge from our home page to view Edge sites sorted by categories. Use the left sidebar to choose a category, such as Presentations, Digital Storytelling, Animation, etc. We make it easy!


November brings Native American Heritage Month and this week Election Day. Soon we have 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!)


Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W for the week of November 4: Who stays up latest at your house? 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.


Two Thursdays in November
November’s two Thursday 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” are just the no-calorie munchies you need before our holiday hiatus. See the full schedule through May, 2013. Register now for November sessions. Registration for January, 2013 sessions opens Dec 1st. 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


A different pilgrim
It may be pilgrim season in elementary schools, but high school English teachers follow a literary pilgrim. If you teach Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, you’ll love TeachersFirst’s response journal unit for this Pulitzer prize-winning book.  Find chapter by chapter prompts to keep your class thinking and writing.


Lat and Long with Geo and Meri
Geo and Meri are taking a canopy tour this week on Globetracker’s Mission. They are also explaining latitude and longitude, oft-confused concepts for our students. Why not let them learn from the teens? This Ready to Go content is handy at 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.


Election polling
How will you discuss the election in your classes? Respond to the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find Edge tools for writing, chat, music, and creating projects in any subject area, some of which require NO sign-up:

  • A pair of music makers
  • Two ways to “chat” to learn
  • Classroom portraits: a window on culture
  • Instant polls
  • Audio comments on your blog or website
  • How to guides to watch or create
  • Speech to text and text to speech tools
  • A book creator

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this November 11 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived November 4 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your students make you feel like one in a million this week.


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