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September 9, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

This week is the anniversary of 9/11, and our students know nothing about it. Many newer teachers remember only a sad or frightening day when they were in middle school. Some of us remember parents or grandparents who talked about where they were when they learned about Pearl Harbor. With all the events in the world today, has Sept 11 become just another day to ask the old people about? No matter what topic or event you want to discuss with students, TeachersFirst has resources to offer a new perspective.


OK2Ask® schedule for 2013-14
What a year this will be for OK2Ask®, our series of FREE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development! We have a wide variety of topics planned, including a Google six-part series, Common Core, and many topics YOU have requested. We have also added “technology comfort levels” to session descriptions so attendees know what to expect. See the full schedule in pdf format, read more about OK2Ask, and register NOW for sessions that occur in Sept-November. Winter and spring offerings will open for registration at later dates.


Looking for Geo and Meri?
Teachers are asking: Will there be a Globetracker’s Mission this year? Yes! The Mission this year will focus on North America, primarily the United States. A preview episode will be online late in September and new weekly episodes will begin late October and run until late April. Start planning now to incorporate this engaging “blog” from teens Geo and Meri as part of your social studies curriculum in grades 2-6. Teach map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and more as you follow the teens’ adventures and vote for what happens next!


September Sizzles
There is a LOT going on in September besides getting your class into shape. This week marks Yom Kippur and the anniversary of 9/11. National Hispanic Heritage Month begins September 15. Constitution Day is September 17. Find vetted resources for these and many other events throughout the school year on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. Share these resource collections with a friend by clicking the handy “share” widget at the top. We KNOW you are on Pinterest!


Look REALLY smart
Impress your web page readers by sharing great new links and reviews every week. Add TeachersFirst’s new embeddable widget with the weekly Featured Sites, usable on any teacher or edtech web page. Your colleagues and parents will think YOU went out to find the latest and best. If you know how to copy and paste to use an embed code, you can choose from two widget options. (Don’t know how? Try this resource to help you out.) Our embeddable widgets are free and available for use by any teacher, library/media specialist, edtech coach, ITRT, etc.


Share an opinion, learn about others
Extend your classroom this year by sharing the details of everyday life  and opinions where you live with classrooms around the world. Invite a teacher friend to join the #XW1W project with you! See and share 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 September 8: Does technology help students or make them dependent?


September 11
Today’s students recall nothing about September 11. Will you talk about Sept 11 in your class? Share your plans in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find clever combinations and creative do-it-yourself tools:

  • Fictitious tweets
  • Overfishing visualized
  • Financial literacy for all ages
  • Math and maps combined
  • A way to build musical roadmaps
  • More maps—made interactive
  • A stained-glass style photo collage tool
  • Memory games YOU create
  • Democracy and jazz
  • A word tool that Vanna White would love
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this September 15 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived September 8 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your students open their eyes to a new perspective this week.

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