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February 17, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Many schools are on midwinter break this week if they are not making up snow days. No matter what your weather or your school calendar, you are probably trying to plan for the “must do” curriculum content your students are required to master this school year. February marks the beginning of the long straightaway on this academic race, and Team TeachersFirst is ready and waiting to keep you “on track.”


Listen and read
If you have struggling readers or ELL students, you know how hard it is for them to build reading skills. Why not try TeachersFirst’s collection of free audio books, including interactive audio books and audio books with text for readers to follow along. You might even want to download an mp3  for your own listening pleasure.


Before you know it, it will be March 2, Dr. Suess’ birthday. Why not plan now for this special day. Even calculus students can write a clever Suess-rhyme about the concepts they study and the places they’ll go. Find ideas to inspire any class at TeachersFirst’s Resources for Dr. Seuss.


Salute to the presidents and one more week of Olympics
As we celebrate Presidents Day, the Sochi Olympics have less than a week remaining. February is also flying by as we recognize Dental Health Month and Black History Month. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for the rest of February and the months to come.

DAT’s it!
If you follow search for TeachersFirst on Twitter, you’ll see not only the tweets we send from our @teachersfirst account, but also the many tweets that have been bouncing around about our page of free, teacher-reviewed BYOD Dream Tools, device agnostic tools that work on every kind of device, including Android, iOS, and netbooks. If you’ve missed it, bookmark it now: DAT’s it!

Registration is open for spring OK2Ask®, our free, online professional development series. Choose a “snack session” and register NOW for Feb-May (all at 7:00pm Eastern time). Please be sure to READ the descriptions to be sure you have the prerequisites (if any) and/or technology comfort levels:

  • Google Series (Part 4): Using Google Templates; Tues. Feb 18
  • Juggling the BYOD or 1:1 Classroom; Mon. Feb 24
  • Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Thurs. Mar. 6
  • Google Series (Part 5): Google Earth and Maps Tues. Mar. 18
  • Common Core Math Ideas K-8; Mon. Mar. 24
  • Introduction to Writing with Common Core; Thurs. Mar. 27
  • Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and Tools for Learning Support, Speech/language, Emotional Support, and more; Mon. Apr. 7
  • Google Series (Part 6): Cool Tools; Tues. Apr. 15
  • Gifted Resources Galore: Tips and Tools for Meeting the Needs of Your Gifted Students; Tues. Apr. 29
  • Ready.. Set.. Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments”; Thurs. May 8



Motown for Geo and Meri
Geo and Meri are in the motor city this week on Globetracker’s Mission, still trying to track down the elusive Louie. Read new posts every Sunday to learn standards-based geography, landforms, and major U.S. landmarks in grades 2-6. Vote each week, telling the teens what to do next.


How much?
Weather affects the way we live, and every location has a different “normal.” Share the XW1W question for the week of Feb 16: How much snow do you normally get per year (if any)? Help your students experience life through the eyes of others in distant 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.


An endless school year?
Has your school year been extended due to weather days? Tell us in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find

  • Amazing Machu Picchu
  • Two code writing tools (as in computer code)
  • Images and sounds from around the world
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Cockroaches up close and personal (!)
  • Music for elementary grades and up
  • Amazing art videos
  • A clever QR tool
  • A comic maker
  • “Flash cards” from a Google spreadsheet
  • A game about bullying, peer pressure, and more
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Feb 23 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived February 16 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you rev the engines of learning this week, either for your students or for yourself.

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