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August 12, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

August rituals are in full swing: Back to School sales, final quick trips to the beach, arranging desks and crayons, preloading information on your teacher web page, attending inservice sessions, and freezing a few extra meals to make it through back to school madness. If back to school this year includes delivering a son or daughter to college (or to kindergarten), congratulations! Whatever your ritual, TeachersFirst is here to help.


Why have a back to school sale?
Why spend money at a sale when you can find and organize the very best for back to school, free and ad-free? All you need is your free TeachersFirst membership to find, collect, and share the very best learning resources, accessible from your computer or mobile device. Learn more about the timesaving features of TeachersFirst free membership. Sign up now for a terrific school year ahead.


Organize it!
If your new school year has not begun, TeachersFirst offers these First Day Ideas to ease anxiety and build classroom community. Then plan ahead month by month with the Classroom Planning Calendar, guaranteed to deliver vetted resources just in time. As you organize your classroom, try these organization tools and online tools to get things off on the right foot. Using web tools with your students—within school policies—is easy with these tips from the TeachersFirst Edge.


Common Core Questions
Don’t miss the latest new article from TeachersFirst about implementing Common Core: Questions and Thinking in Common Core - Part 2. While the article is intended for elementary teachers, the questioning strategies will help those in any Common Core curriculum.


Looking for ways to incorporate writing in your curriculum, especially since Common Core expects extensive writing? Blogs are certainly nothing new, but figuring out how to use them for learning may be new to you. Why not start your students blogging? Check out Blog Basics for the Classroom, including practical tips and ideas. You might even want to begin your own teacher blog to be a role model for your students. Need ideas? Our editor blogs her thoughts weekly on Think Like a Teacher. You can too!


Reading for connections
Whether you teach elementary or high school, math or social studies, help your students connect what they learn in class with their outside experiences, including their independent reading. TeachersFirst’s CurriConnects offers leveled reading lists related to many common curriculum topics, from money to our latest list, Light and Color. Common Core asks for informational texts. We deliver! Get together with your school library/media specialist to bring literacy into math, science, and social studies learning at all levels.


OK2Ask Summer send off
School is open in many locations, and OK2Ask® is wrapping up for the summer. Remaining sessions include a trio of Google offerings this week and Writing with the Web on August 20. See the remaining offerings and register NOW for these FREE sessions. Please pay attention to times and prerequisites! Learn more about OK2Ask, including FAQs. We will announce the OK2Ask fall schedule in early September.


Skype in YOUR class
This week we feature one of many finds to entice you into trying Skype to tear down your classroom walls. Find more Skype ideas in the many TeachersFirst resources tagged “skype,” including the recording of our recent OK2Ask® session on this topic. Grab a teacher friend and some popcorn for a professional development session that will change your world.


Lucky Charms?
Everyone wants good luck at back to school time, but we have varying superstitions about good luck. Tell others what makes “good luck” in your culture. See responses from 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 Aug 11: Do you believe in good luck charms? What? 


Summer's end
The day before you report back to work at the end of summer is your final chance to do something for yourself. What do you do the day before work officially starts at summer's end? Share your choice in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find new ideas for a new school year:

  • Documentaries and slow-mo science
  • A great Skype idea
  • Clever QR codes
  • Shakespeare
  • A new kind of storytelling
  • Mind maps
  • Musical creativity
  • A broad net to cast for research
  • And MORE

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this August 18 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived Aug 11 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 new rituals along with the old.

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