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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Even in January, teachers do not know the meaning of “frozen.” Class time melts away like ice cream in August.  Planning time and personal time evaporate like dry ice. Our students change and grow before our eyes.  Moments are fluid, not frozen. Get in the flow with TeachersFirst this January. We promise to prevent learning frostbite.


Shovel learning instead of snow
Expecting a snow day? When bad weather threatens, plan ahead with ideas and resources from TeachersFirst’s Snow Day Resources. Find productive ways to “meet” during snow days, ideas for student projects that can be done at home, and of course some just plain snow day fun. Bring your own cocoa.


What’s in a date?
Connect what your students know to what they should know about important historic events using Dates That Matter. Entice them to wonder about a clue and respond to a series of questions that place the event in context so history matters. This Ready to Go content is available every day (see “Ready to go”) on the TeachersFirst home page. Dates That Matter is also an engaging way to start a faculty meeting or parent night! Find teacher suggestions and previews of upcoming “dates” from the little i at the end of today’s prompt or here.  Dates That Matter is mobile-friendly!


Accomplish your goal
If your New Years resolution is to be better organized, try some of the handy organization tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. Help your organizationally challenged students (and parents?) by sharing selected tools to start 2013 off right. TeachersFirst also has resources to help students improve time management. Just try searching the phrase: time management. Organization is one of many tool categories in the TeachersFirst Edge, our collection of free, teacher-reviewed web-based tools for both teachers and students to create projects or accomplish tasks.


Sip some culture
Share a little to learn a lot. Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) takes just a moment or two of class time for students to get a peek into everyday life in other places. 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 January 13: What is your favorite warm beverage? 


MLK and more
Start planning now for service projects and events to honor Martin Luther King Jr. TeachersFirst has exclusive lesson plans for celebrating MLK in elementary grades. We also have an art and research project, They Had a Dream, Too. Help students learn about the quadrennial event in the U.S., the presidential inauguration (formal swearing in Jan 20 with public celebrations Jan 21). Look ahead to the 100th day of school. Find resources for these events and more on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Common Core part 2
Are you overwhelmed by Common Core? Find helpful information and resources to implement CCSS in your elementary classroom in Common Core Part 2: Moving Forward with Informational Text. Written by an experience library/media specialist about reading and writing informational texts, this article is our second in the series to help you sort out Common Core. Speaking of Common Core, see a related post on Think Like a Teacher, the TeachersFirst editor’s blog.


FREE for YOU to learn
Learn what you need from wherever you wish with OK2Ask®. Registration is now open for OK2Ask® FREE learning opportunities through March.  Registration for April and May sessions will open about 60 days in advance. Join other teachers in live, friendly, online sessions for self-directed professional development. Check for times and descriptions to register NOW:

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

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

Google Goodies! Hidden Treasures and Teacher Favorites 
Thursday February 7

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

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

Hands Off, Vanna: Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard Learning
Thursday March 7

Blooms 2.0: Promoting ALL levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy through Technology 
Monday March 11

Sharing and Solutions for Technology Coaches/Trainers
Thursday March 21


Holy Idaho!
Geo and Meri are putting their knowledge of latitude and longitude to the test this week in Oceania as they travel on Globetracker’s Mission. Your students in grades 2-6 can master lat/long along with geography, map skills, landforms, and more by following Globetracker’s Mission, Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page. Discover why teachers send fan mail to Globetracker (and what Holy Idaho means).


January's best
What do you like most about teaching during January?
Share what you think in the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find slick tools and visually rich learning:

  • Factors that dance!
  • Amazing cultural lessons from Google
  • Instant narration for your slideshows
  • Dynamic math and science demos
  • “Fake” text messages!
  • Clever canvases to collect resources
  • Video conferences online (for free)
  • Healthy eating (in time for the New Year)
  • Teacher grants!
  • Crimes of writing
  • Awesome science articles

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this January 20 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived January 13 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you witness questions that melt into understanding this week.

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