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October 14, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Exploration is what Columbus Day is all about. A few of us have an actual holiday. Many more have inservice sessions to learn and collaborate. No matter where your voyage is headed, TeachersFirst is on board with you.


Nevermore must students read Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven” as a whole class endeavor. TeachersFirst’s Interactive Raven makes poetry personal (and hauntingly engaging). Share it with your students and colleagues! Better yet, Pin it on Pinterest to tell the tale of learning. Yes, the Interactive Raven is mobile-device friendly! No wonder it is one of our most popular resources.


Crafty Ideas
If you are planning a Fall Festival, don’t miss these ideas from TeachersFirst, especially directions for Native American crafts, such as a cornhusk doll. Old traditions make new appreciation for using every scrap of the harvest.


Two B or not?
The TeachersFirst Edge features free, web-based tools, reviewed by Thinking Teachers to make your learning life easier or more creative. Find the tool categories listed alphabetically at the left, including two “B”s: tools for blogs and for bookmarks.


Are you connected?
October is Connected Educators Month (CEM). Celebrate your connections with educators and learning opportunities throughout the month. TeachersFirst is one of the organizations sharing the “connection,” including our OK2Ask offerings that run throughout the year to keep you connected to best practices, great resources , and a community of educators from across the country and around the world. CEM offers a shared calendar of events, several themes, and lots more. Whether you are just a little curious about connecting or an avid “joiner,” take the time to “connect” with other educators. Tell them TeachersFirst sent you!


On the road again—almost
Geo and Meri are itching to leave on this year’s Globetracker’s Mission. The preview episode is already online, and the two blogging teens will depart on Sunday, October 27. New weekly episodes will appear every Sunday until April, teaching geography, landforms, and major U.S. landmarks throughout this year’s North American mission. You students in grades 2-6 can vote each week, telling the teens what to do next. Preview Globetracker’s Mission now, and mark space in your lesson plans for engaging travel and learning.


Tying up October
The boys of summer are well into the playoffs. Why not take a swing at some baseball in your classroom? It’s also National Bullying Prevention Month and Dinosaur Month. And this week is Columbus Day! Your head could spin with so much going on. Tie up the last week of the month (Oct 23-31) with Red Ribbon Week. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for date-related learning, handy any time.


Google and CCSS
Treat yourself with OK2Ask®, TeachersFirst’s FREE, LIVE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development. The full schedule in pdf format is online, and you can register NOW for Oct-November sessions. Winter and spring offerings will open for registration a bit later. Read more about OK2Ask and plan to attend these upcoming sessions (all 7:00-8:15 pm EDT):

  • Google 6-Part Series (Part 1): The Top View of Google; Tuesday, October 15
  • Common Core Literacy Ideas (Grades K-8); Monday, October 28


Weather or not?
Weather affects every culture, and sometimes rain or lack of it changes everything about the way people live. Help your students experience life in far off places through #XW1W. Share details of everyday life with classrooms around the world. The Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project uses simple tweets or blog posts to share the responses to a weekly question and help you “see” what life is like in other places. It all works because of something called a hashtag. Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ. XW1W question for the week of October 13: How much rain (or equivalent) does your town usually get per year?


Homework help?
Teachers are real sticklers when it comes to their own kids’ homework. What homework support do/did your give your OWN K-8 children that you wish all parents would give? Share your response in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find resources and tools galore for:

  • Dinosaurs
  • Math -- all ages!
  • Organizing videos
  • JFK and Lee Harvey Oswald
  • Sharks!
  • History and CCSS
  • Population patterns
  • English in movies
  • Electrical ciruits
  • Cells
  • Trending Tweets
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this October 20 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived October 13 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 sail into something adventurous this week.

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