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January 27, 2104

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Frozen. It’s not just the weather these days or a popular movie. Sometimes it is the way we feel about our teaching ideas. If you would like to thaw out your lessons with a difference approach, TeachersFirst has just what you need.


Getting off on the right (unfrozen) foot
Change your frozen path. Start with one Featured Site or browse the recent additions for something fresh. Did you know you will automatically SEE the latest in your chosen subjects/grades simply by joining TeachersFirst (free!) and clicking the “My Start Page” tab when you log in? (Of course you need to choose some subjects when you create your account or Update your profile from your "My Start Page.")


Powerful Pairings
Our newest article on implementing Common Core in elementary features a sampler of powerful pairs of books for read-alouds, books that will help you and your students delve into the Common Core State Standards for BOTH literature and informational text.  Find book duos for all elementary grades and ideas for talking about them during your read-aloud. These read-alouds will help you address three sections of the CCSS for Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, and Integration of Knowledge and Ideas. 


Find it Fast!
Looking for a state department of education web page, a certain set of standards, or an education professional organization? Seeking a grant possibility? Find what you need—quickly—in our Quick Links to Outside Organizations and Professional Organizations for Teachers


February Finds
If you have not passed it yet, you are close to the 100th Day of School. In early February, we will see the Super Bowl (why not do measurement like the refs?), Groundhog Day, and the Sochi Olympics, Also in February: Dental Health Month and Black History Month. (Psst: it’s only a couple of weeks until Valentine’s Day!) We hope you won’t need them, but TeachersFirst also has Snow Day Resources you can include on your class web page—just in case. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for fabulous February Finds.


“Copyright, copy wrong? I’m confused.”
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. Check out TeachersFirst’s Copyright and Fair Use Resources to find copyright-safe sources and to understand this complex topic. If you learn better through live interaction, why not join our OK2Ask® session this week on Building Ethical Digital Citizens (read more below)?


Learn, learn, learn!
Learn LIVE with other teachers in OK2Ask®, our free, online professional development offerings. Choose a “snack session” and register NOW for these Jan/Feb sessions (all at 7:00pm Eastern time). The spring offerings will appear in the catalog and be open for registration later this week. Please be sure to READ the descriptions to be sure you have the prerequisites (if any) and/or technology comfort levels:

  • Building Ethical Digital Citizens; Thurs. Jan. 30, 2014
  • Be the Best: Professional Resources; Thurs. Feb. 6, 2014
  • Google Series (Part 4): Using Google Templates; Tues. Feb 18, 2014
  • Juggling the BYOD or 1:1 Classroom; Mon. Feb 24, 2014


Be the “techspert”
Do you enjoy sharing edtech teaching resources with your colleagues and students? Post the weekly TeachersFirst Featured Sites automatically on your class web page, blog, or wiki using one of the two embed widgets offered here. There are two formats, depending on the space you have available. Copy the embed code, paste it into your page (code view), and Save. Poof! The Featured Sites will change every Saturday night at midnight Eastern U.S. time, and you will always be “the expert” who shares the best, vetted resources for teaching and learning. Thinking Teachers—Teaching Thinkers! (Not sure how to use an embed code? Ask your edtech coach or technology integration specialist to show you or try this helpful resource.)


Louie in Laredo?
Geo and Meri are discovering the rich history and culture of Laredo, Texas this week on Globetracker’s Mission. The intrepid teens share new posts every Sunday so your students (grades 2-6) can learn standards-based geography, landforms, and major U.S. landmarks. Vote each week, telling the teens what to do next.


How far?
Families are more dispersed in some cultures than others. Share the XW1W question for the week of January 26: How far away is your furthest family member? Help your students experience 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.


Revise and recycle
How much of your lesson plans do you re-use (with revisions) from year to year? Give your estimate in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find deceptively simple delights, some clever tools, and timely treats:

  • The Science of Football
  • Creative Commons images WITH automatic credits
  • Composite numbers seen a whole new way
  • Vocabulary in video
  • Two “How to” helpers
  • Space infographics
  • eBooks about differences and health
  • Easy messaging and reminders
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Feb 2 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived January 26 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you witness the ice of ignorance thawing into the flow of learning this week.

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