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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

(Yawn) This Monday is our students’ sleepiest day of the school year in most of the U.S. The start of Daylight Saving takes the spring out of our students’ steps until they adjust—sometime around Wednesday! Add some powerful sounds and sites from TeachersFirst to startle those sleepy minds.


Music to your ears
March is Music in Your Schools Month. With budget cuts, many students have no formal exposure to music in school, but maybe you can help. Try this lesson plan to teach poetry and music together. Or try one of these sound and/or music sites to include music in science class.


There are certain professional reference sites all teachers need. Find links to important professional information such as state departments of education, standards, and more compiled in one place at TeachersFirst’s Quick Links to Outside Organizations and Professional Organizations for Teachers. We have even included some grant opportunities for teachers (ones that recur, in case you don’t have time to apply this time). Keep this resource at your fingertips for when you need it.


This month’s TogetheRead theme is Windblown. TogetheRead, from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies,  is a free family literacy feature to help students build effective reading strategies while 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. Visit TogetheRead to see the March theme and sign up for email previews of coming booklists.  Share this freebie with your students and their parents as a “good value” for any family. Perhaps even give them the address and hours of your local public library.


Hopeful signs
As we await the warmth of spring, we have plenty of learning occasions during March. It’s Women’s History Month. This week we have Pi Day and the Ides of March. Then comes St. Patrick’s Day. We will wrap up March with Easter. Plan for these and other events with the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.

An elementary handle on Common Core
If you teach elementary, you may be struggling to plan ways for students to grasp informational texts and do short, focused research projects (SFRPs) a la Common Core. Find an example of one such project from a veteran elementary library/media specialist. If you teach the water cycle, you won’t want to miss this The Common Core Shift: Short, Focused Research Projects in Elementary Grades.


New "rooms," same Thinking Teachers
OK2Ask® has moved into new “rooms,” and we invite you to see our new space! Sign up for a spring session of OK2Ask free, live, online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development. Our new rooms are built by Adobe® Connect™ and require nothing but the Flash plug in you most likely have on your computer—and an Internet connection. (Tablet users can download the Adobe Connect app to attend, though we recommend having a regular keyboard to be able to participate fully.) Registration is now open for ALL spring OK2Ask® sessions. Find times and descriptions to register:

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

Sharing and Solutions for Technology Coaches/Trainers (60 min session); Thursday March 21

Now I See! Infographics as content scaffold and creative, formative assessment, even if you don’t think visually; DATE CHANGE! Tuesday, April 9

One to One: Ideas and Tips for Teaching in a 1:1 Classroom; Monday April 29

Ready, Set, Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments”; Monday May 6


Always at hand
Gives you students a peek into everyday life in other places with Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w). Share responses about life where you live and learn about others. This quick activity uses microblogging and something called a hashtag. It’s easy! Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ. XW1W for the week of March 10: What object(s) do you keep with you at all times? 


Travel weary?
Geo and Meri are en route to Sweden on Globetracker’s Mission. After so many months, they must be tiring of the worldwide chase! Read their thoughts with your students in grades 2-6 as you learn geography, map skills, landforms as they follow the blog posts of Geo and Meri. Globetracker’s Mission is Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page.


Which would you do during an unexpected week of free time? Share your daydreaming thoughts via weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find resources to fascinate and challenge:

  • A very creative writing tool
  • Visually-rich history
  • Animals of the Serengeti
  • Editorial cartoons
  • STEM connections to real life
  • QR codes with images
  • A visual tool to explore symmetry
  • English for teens
  • A blog that talks?

And MORE. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this March 17 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived March 10 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your yawning students awaken to new insights this week.

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