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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

It’s been quite a year. We see retrospectives about 2012 all around us. In schools, New Years can tempt our attention way to “next year” (meaning next school year), though we are only about halfway through this one! Let’s make the rest of 2012-13 the best old-new year ever. TeachersFirst resolves to help make it great.


Thinking Teachers pay it forward
The effects of the Newtown tragedy and Superstorm Sandy continue for many individuals and communities. As teachers, we all feel a sense of connection to those affected from deep in our souls, and we hold them in our thoughts. TeachersFirst has close ties to one New Jersey school where a member of our Educator Advisory Board teaches. Learning will be easier and holidays have been a little brighter for kids in that small New Jersey town hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.

On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, the Waretown school district received a $10,000 check from our non-profit parent company, The Source for Learning, Inc., to help the children of the K-6 district with some winter necessities. Susan Lafaso, a teacher at Waretown, has long served TeachersFirst as an active member, OK2Ask “frequent flyer,” and helpful contributor on our Advisory Board. We are grateful for Susan’s contributions to all users of TeachersFirst and are happy to give something back to her so she can, in turn, help her students. You can read the full story on the Source for Learning web site.


Abe at his best
The new Lincoln movie is just one of many offerings that honor the sesquicentennial of the Civil War years. TeachersFirst will feature new offerings throughout 2013 to help students learn more about this challenging time for the United States and about the accomplishments of Lincoln in the face of those challenges. Our exclusive Lesson Ideas for Lincoln offer ideas to incorporate Lincoln lessons in many subject areas. Most include links to appropriate web resources to use as part of the lesson.


Goals and plans
The New Year is a wonderful time for setting goals, reflecting, looking ahead, and making some resolutions. TeachersFirst’s New Years Resources offer ways to focus on this fresh start in many subject areas and grade levels. As you plan for the winter months, don’t forget to check the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for just-in-time offerings.


New Year, new learning
Start 2013 with learning for today. Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) takes just a moment or two of class time to help students think about everyday life in other corners of the world. Share responses about life where you live and learn about others with Across the World Once a Week (XW1W). This quick activity uses microblogging and something called a hashtag. It’s easy! Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ. Tell your teacher friends!
XW1W for the week of December 30: What is your New Years resolution? 


Time for YOU
January and February are the perfect time to focus on learning what YOU want to know. OK2Ask® offers FREE learning opportunities for cold, dark evenings. Registration is now open for January and February sessions. These friendly, online sessions for self-directed teacher professional development focus on topics teacher have asked for. Check for times and descriptions to register NOW:

New Years—New Ideas! Professional Resources to Make Your Life Easier, Communication Tools, Classroom Ideas, Sharing Time, and more; Thursday January 10, 2013

Google Docs/Drive:  A Focused Workshop on Docs and Forms Only (Extended Time Session); Monday January 14, 2013

Energizing Math: Ideas, Resources, and Collaboration for K-8 Math Teachers; Thursday January 24, 2013

Google Goodies! Hidden Treasures and Teacher Favorites 
Thursday February 7, 2013

Light up Literacy: PreK-3 Reading/Language Arts Ideas and Resources 
Monday February 11, 2013

Wiki Workshop: An Open Help and Collaboration Session (Extended Time Session); Monday February 25, 2013


Geo and Meri on the move
Geo and Meri are on the move again after spending some time with Uncle GT over the holidays. Which continent will they see next on the worldwide Globetracker’s Mission? Here’s a hint: it’s FAR south! Students in grades 2-6 learn geography, map skills, landforms, and more from Globetracker’s Mission, Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page. If you missed an episode during the pre-holiday mania, you can always “rewind” to catch up.


I resolve...
What is your New Years teaching resolution? Tell us what you would like to improve about your teaching in 2013 by responding to the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find fresh ideas and perspectives:

  • A trio of terrific history offerings
  • Helpful tools for Common Core informational text
  • Dr. Suess’ work before he was famous
  • Thoughtful questions to start your New Year
  • Flashcards from your mobile OR computer
  • Online video editing
  • Web site annotation and sharing

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this January 6 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived December 30 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.
May this week give you a chance to refocus on what you and your students really want to accomplish this school year.

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