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June 17, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Make a splash for dads this week. Their importance to our students is invaluable. If you are still in school, invite the dads to stop by and enjoy the end-of-year follies. If you are savoring summer, promise that you will find a new way to involve dads next year. If you ARE a dad, thank you for supporting your own kids and the many who see you as a surrogate dad. TeachersFirst salutes all dads, and we hope you have a chance to spend time with your own dad this week, either in person or in your thoughts.


Thank you and one LAST chance
Thanks to all who have answered our TeachersFirst annual user survey. We use this survey to document the impact that your use of TeachersFirst has on student learning and your own professional growth. Our funders want this information. If you have not responded, we have extended the survey for a few more days in hopes of hitting our target number of responses to share with our funders. Take five minutes to help us tell our funders who is using our free, ad-free service and why it matters in your classroom. This annual user survey is your freebie insurance. Please complete the survey TODAY. Thank you.


Summer schedule shifts
TeachersFirst is just as busy in summer as you are, but we know you have plenty to do away from your computer or online device. During July, we change the Brain Twisters every other week (June 28 and July 12, and we resume weekly editions July 26). We send the Updates every other week (with encore editions on July 7 and 21) while teachers are traveling, taking courses, or simply taking a breather. Take some time this summer to explore the features of TeachersFirst you never seem to have time for. Our Great Ideas and Great Timesavers sessions from OK2Ask® will help you get started. You can also browse the archived Featured Sites you may have missed during the school year.


ISTE bound
TeachersFirst is headed to ISTE in San Antonio next week, June 23-26. If you plan to be there, add us to your plans. Visit us in the Exhibit Hall (booth 5216). Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to those wearing Thinking Teachers shirts throughout the conference. (Earn one for yourself at or booth!) Meet Candy Shively and Melissa Henning at our presentations and meet other Thinking Teachers during OK2Ask® LIVE from our ISTE booth (5216) on Tuesday June 25 at 3:30-4:30 Central time.  If you are a technology integration specialist or edtech coach by any name, please come to the first get-together for the new ISTE Edtech Coach SIGETC on Monday afternoon. We can’t wait to meet you!

Not going to ISTE? Fear not. Teachers lucky enough to attend will be sharing LIVE from our booth on Tuesday, June 25 3:30-4:30 Central (4:30-5:30 Eastern). Join us virtually!
Watch the live webcast via the link front-and-center on the TeachersFirst home page that day.


As lovely as a tree?
I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as... a chance to read and connect? Our brand new CurriConnects Book List offers books for students to read independently about Poets and Poetry. Use CurriConnects to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. These lists include interest levels and Lexile® levels (where available) so every student can find a book he/she can comfortably read. Explore all the CurriConnects topics to find connections your students can use throughout next school year, from kindergarten through high school.


Just in time fireworks
Independence Day is coming up soon. Find resources for July 4 and other events on our handy Classroom Planning Calendar. Summer is s great time to look ahead in the calendar. Just click “next month” to see offerings throughout the school year.


Before it's too late
July and August are packed with OK2Ask® offerings for teachers. Sessions are available nearly every Tuesday and Thursday. Browse the offerings and register now, before sessions fill up. 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.


July anniversary
On July 1 - 3 our nation commemorates 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 in the back seat!


Splash time
Swimming and summer go together, right? Tell us where you make a splash. 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 16: Do you swim in summer? Where? 


Parting gift
If you could give one summer gift, which would you give to your students? Share your choice via the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find inspiration, professional growth, and handy tools:

  • World War II pictures
  • Several ways to inspire writing
  • Questions and Quotes
  • A private journal
  • Literacy lessons from films and more
  • Handy Common Core materials
  • 3D artifacts
  • Climate change
  • Sound clips
  • Mnemonics
  • And MORE

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this June 23 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived June 16 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you notice the power of dads this week.

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