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June 3, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

You know how you feel when parents don’t show up for conferences? The Thinking Teachers at TeachersFirst occasionally feel the same way, knowing that thousands and thousands of you use our site without ever talking with us. As you wrap up your school year or start your summer, we are still here doing our best for you. Please try to find the time for that brief “conference” with us.


Your response needed - NOW!
Please “give back” to TeachersFirst: 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 use TeachersFirst, PLEASE take five minutes to answer our annual user survey. We need many, many meaningful responses. What teachers say really matters. Please complete the survey no later than June 14. Tell your friends. Thank you.


History your way
This July marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. TeachersFirst is proud to announce Gettysburg by the Numbers, an interactive experience of the Battle of Gettysburg through numbers and infographics. Trace the data to thought-provoking questions that inspire connections. Move beyond dates and facts to make the battle personally meaningful and real. Gettysburg by the Numbers builds understanding far more lasting than a three-day anniversary in July. Take it on vacation with you! This resource is designed to work well on tablet mobile devices.


Play ball!
June’s TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, is Have a Ball—a collection of books about anything having to do with a “ball.” Build reading enjoyment for children, teens, and their families via this collection of books and no-cost activities. Embedded in the book reviews and activity suggestions are discussion questions to promote effective reading strategies. Book selections span all age groups, centering on the common theme so everyone in the family can join in. Check out a new free theme each month from TogetheRead.


This week marks the 69th anniversary of D-Day. Do you teach about World War II? Take time to note this momentous day with TeachersFirst's D-Day Resources, easy to find on our handy Classroom Planning Calendar.


Sizzling learning
Sizzle into summer by sharing these take-homes with your students and their parents before they go:


Twice a week, beginning in July
We have packed a full bag of OK2Ask® offerings for this summer. Sessions are scheduled nearly every Tuesday and Thursday in July and August. Browse the offerings and register now. Summer sessions are slightly longer to allow more time for exploration and questions. Note that OK2Ask information and registration have moved to a new location, 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 offer professional development certificates to those who meet the participation criteria.


Near or far?
Vacations vary from family to family, 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 June 2: How far does your family travel in summer?


Summer plans?
What kind of travel do you have planned for this summer? Share your ideas via the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find resources for tiny ones to teens:

  • Dinosaurs
  • Basic skills
  • The Titanic
  • Filterable searching
  • Weather wherever, whenever
  • A decision making simulation
  • Audible politics
  • Science videos
  • Online questions, discussions, and opinions
  • Fancy (and simple) photo editing
  • And MORE

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this June 9 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived June 2 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you receive some unexpected and helpful feedback this week.

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