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October 21, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

You are probably ending the first marking period, or you did so very recently. This first set of grades tells the story of which students need some extra coaching and which ones are off and running. It’s early in the game, and you are huddling on the sidelines, conferring with your colleagues to adapt your game winning strategy. Remember that TeachersFirst is on your team and brings a large squad of Thinking Teachers to help.


One week to departure!
Geo and Meri are almost ready to leave on this year’s Globetracker’s Mission. With any luck, their travels won’t be sidetracked by any kind of shutdown! The preview episode for 2013-14 is currently online, and the two blogging teens 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. Your 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.


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.


C-ing is believing
The TeachersFirst Edge believes in free, reviewed, web-based tools to make learning more engaging, more effective, and more creative. And if the web tools have a FREE mobile app to match, we tell you. Find the tool categories listed alphabetically at the left, including three Cs: tools for Chat and microblogging, for Collaboration and for Concept maps and mindmaps.


Making connections
Connected Educators Month (CEM) is all about YOUR learning. Discover connections with educators and learning opportunities throughout the month of October. TeachersFirst is one of the organizations sharing the “connection,” including our OK2Ask offerings throughout the year to keep you connected with 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!


Series learning
The World Series begins this week. Go batty with baseball in your classroom to connect with your math, social studies, or science curriculum. October is also National Bullying Prevention Month and Dinosaur Month. The end of the month (Oct 23-31) is Red Ribbon Week. We can’t forget Halloween and Fall Festivals! November is Native American Heritage Month. Too many events to remember? Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for date-related learning, handy any time.


Common Core Literacy, Wikis, and more Google
Our upcoming OK2Ask® offerings, TeachersFirst’s FREE, LIVE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development, are serving up fall treats with no tricks. You can register NOW for the remaining 2013 sessions. Winter and spring offerings will open for registration toward the end of 2013. Read more about OK2Ask and plan to attend these upcoming sessions (all 7:00-8:15 pm EDT):

  • Common Core Literacy Ideas (Grades K-8); Monday, Oct 28
  • Intro to the NEW Wikispaces Classroom; Monday, Nov 11
  • Google 6-Part Series (Part 2): Google Search Secrets; Tuesday, Nov 19


Apples: The core of learning?
We are what we eat, and especially what we LIKE to eat. The XW1W question for the week of October 20: What is your favorite way to use or eat apples? Help your students experience everyday life in far off places through #XW1W. Share 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.


What do you really think?
Tell us your thoughts about the Common Core Standards. Share your thoughts anonymously in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find great tools for BYOD and traditional web resources:

  • A trio of wonderful writing sites
  • A clever video editor
  • Instant game show style quizzes
  • Kennedy interactives
  • Audacious avatars (and faces)
  • Time management made simple
  • Tool for cloud sharing
  • Budgeting
  • A Comprehensive math resource
  • Healthy eating
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this October 27 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived October 20 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 score some big learning plays this week.

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