TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List

May 20, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

If you are reading this, you are a motivated teacher and life-long learner. This time of the school year for many teachers is about survival: how do we get through the last chunk of curriculum, plan around the many spring “special” events, and maintain student engagement when there are warm days and blue skies outside the window? Somehow, motivated teachers keep their “radar” for good teaching ideas in full-scan mode even when they are so busy they forget their own child’s name (or accidentally use the dog’s name instead).  Congratulations to you for your “radar.” TeachersFirst always has something new for you on the screen.


One favor, please. Just one. And pass it on.
TeachersFirst does a lot for you.  And we do it for free, ad-free. We NEED you to do one thing for us. We NEED you to answer our annual user survey. We must document the impact that your use of TeachersFirst has on student learning and your own professional growth. Our funders want this information. If you spend time using TeachersFirst, PLEASE take five minutes to answer our annual user survey. Then please pass it on to your TeachersFirst-user colleagues or your “PLN.” We need as many meaningful responses as we can get. Pass it on. Thank you.


Gettysburg by the Numbers: Beyond 150
One hundred-fifty years ago, the United States was in the midst of the Civil War. This July marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. But how do we help today’s students connect to events so long ago and far away? TeachersFirst is proud to announce Gettysburg by the Numbers, an interactive experience of the Battle of Gettysburg through numbers and infographics that raise questions and invite connections. Invite your students to move beyond dates and facts to questions that make the battle more meaningful and real. Gettysburg by the Numbers builds understanding far more lasting than a three-day anniversary in July.


Savoring Summer and making it slide-proof
School ends soon in some states. Here are more summer “extras” to share with your students and their parents:

  • TeachersFirst’s Summer Sparklers help prevent summer slide with engaging activities to review and create.
  • The weekly Brain Twister (elementary and middle school). Changes weekly (biweekly during July) on Fridays. Questions recap and challenge across the curriculum.
  • Special Occasion Ideas: TeachersFirst Editors' Choices Creative tools for gifts and sharing for Father’s Day, graduations, family vacation memories, etc.


Summer treats for teachers—no calories added!
Grab a glass of refreshing iced tea and a treat this summer. Put these treats in your pantry for summer some “me time” with TeachersFirst:


Summer OK2Ask® Registration
The summer offerings for OK2Ask® are now ready for preview and early registration. Summer sessions begin in early July and last seven weeks! Sessions are slightly longer this summer to allow more time for exploration and questions. Download a full listing (pdf file) to print out or share at the copy machine. Note that we have moved OK2Ask information and registration to a new location as of summer, so update your bookmarks. See the full summer catalog and register. Read more about OK2Ask, free online “snack sessions” for self-directed teacher professional development, including FAQs. Yes, we do offer professional development certificates to those who meet participation criteria.


Play time
Outdoor games vary from place to place and culture to culture. Tell us about yours. See responses from other people in other places via Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w). Your responses about life where you live help others learn—and vice versa. 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 May 19: What outdoor game(s) do you play on weekends? 


Budget dreams
If school budgets ease, which would you want to see happen first? Share what moves you via the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find both the basic, the sophisticated, and loads of social studies:

  • U.S. historical images
  • The Civil War through music and through art
  • The House of Representatives—not always like today!
  • Dolch practice and other basics
  • Grammar checking where YOU supply the solution
  • Text messaging for your classroom
  • A powerful research collector
  • American presidents for ELL
  • Writing and Common Core
  • Anatomy
  • And MORE.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this May 26 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived May 19 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May your week bring some healthy blips of learning excitement (and perhaps a chance to savor a little of the May sunshine). And don’t forget the TeachersFirst User Survey.

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