TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List

July 8, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

We barely blinked and June is gone. We hope you can find a good balance during July: one part family fun and travel, one part “summer income” or volunteer work, one part learning just for you, and one part relaxed planning for 2013-14. TeachersFirst is ready to help with the last two. Don’t forget to catch a 4th of July parade and some great fireworks.


A rousing ISTE thank you!
Thanks to all the amazing educators who spoke to us at our booth at ISTE, talked to our Thinking Teachers throughout the conference (gotta love those T Shirts!), and spoke with us at presentations or during OK2Ask® LIVE. It was an outstanding conference, although everyone has tired feet!

If you “met” TeachersFirst for the first time at ISTE and are receiving your first Update, welcome! Our recent user surveys tell us that the Update is one of their favorite features of TeachersFirst.

The archived recording of OK2Ask LIVE from ISTE will be available soon for those unable to attend the conference. Listen to teachers share the highlights with their peers everywhere. Watch for the link under News and Updates on our home page.


Gettysburg 150th
This week we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Our Featured Sites this week include some recent additions to our extensive civil war resources. We are also proud to feature our newest classroom ready content, 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! Take it on your vacation trip!


July schedule adjustments
TeachersFirst changes our schedule a bit in July when you are away from your computer a bit. The Brain Twisters change every other week (June 28 and July 12, resuming weekly editions July 26). We send the Updates every other week (June 30 and July 14 with encore editions on July 7 and 21). Take time this summer to explore features of TeachersFirst you have never explored. Why not browse the archived Featured Sites you may have missed during the school year?


The July TogetheRead theme is Mistakes, including tales of consequences, fortunate mistakes, and even perfectionism. The TogetheRead family literacy feature come from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies. Each free monthly TogetheRead theme offers books for all ages around a common theme—and activity ideas to go along with them. Built in are prompts to build effective reading strategies as families share reading. Share the TogetheRead link on your class web page or online school newsletter. Sign up for advanced notice of upcoming themes.


More from the “Edge”
You have probably heard us mention about something called the TeachersFirst Edge and wondered what it was. The TeachersFirst Edge is collection of teacher-reviewed, online tools that you and your students can use to “make things.” These free tools range from very easy to a bit tech-challenging. The little turquoise E icon on some reviews indicates Edge tools. These reviews include a little additional information about using them safely, memberships, etc. To make it easier to find a tool for a specific task, we even group them into categories. Why not explore the Edge this summer, one category at a time? Find Animation tools,  tools for making Concept Maps/Mind Maps, and handy File Converters. You will be amazed what you can do with a little time to explore.


Just in time
Independence Day is this week. Ramadan begins July 9. Find these 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.


Summer sensations
Our Great Ideas and Great Timesavers sessions from OK2Ask® will open your eyes about features of TeachersFirst you never knew. These are just two of the many upcoming, free offerings for teachers from OK2Ask®. Our sensational snack sessions are available nearly every Tuesday and Thursday through July and most of August. 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.


4th of July celebrations and fireworks go together, right? Share your fireworks story. 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 weeks of June 30 and July 7: What is the farthest you have ever traveled from home? 


Summer refreshment
Ahh, summer. How long does it take you to “recover” after school gets out? Share your experience via the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find outstanding tools, fascinating challenges, and some genuine gems:

  • A private place to build daily writing fluency
  • Gettysburg sites for the 150th
  • A math grid tool
  • A text-based game creator
  • Safe (self-destructing) links
  • A location guessing game
  • Amazing interactive video tool
  • A new angle on the “edu-ese” we speak
  • Rubics and badges
  • A great tool for BYOD responses
  • And MORE

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this July 14 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived June 30 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you enjoy good books and picnics during July, feasts for mind and body.

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