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June 16, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Happy Father’s Day to all the teacher-dads! TeachersFirst knows how important you are to the success of all students. Take a break, relax, and enjoy a little hammock time in honor of all you do for your own kids and the ones you teach. And to all those celebrating with your own dad this week, be sure to thank him for showing you what a great teacher a dad can be. You probably would not be as good at what you do without the support he gave you growing up. When your celebrations are over, TeachersFirst will be here, ready with the resources you need.


See you in (or from) Atlanta
The Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst will be at the ISTE conference in Atlanta in less than two weeks. We are helping with the new Coaching Playground, presenting about Nourishing Gifted with Technology in Any Classroom, and talking to teachers like you at our booth (#3118). If you are going, plan to meet us there. You could even earn a coveted Thinking Teacher T-shirt! If a trip to Atlanta is out of the question, join the ISTE experience via OK2Ask® LIVE, a webcast direct from our booth on Monday, June 30, 2014, at 3:30 pm Eastern time. It’s almost like being there—without the airfare! Mark your calendar and click on the OK2Ask® LIVE link front and center on the TeachersFirst home page on June 30!

If you live in the Atlanta area and would like to see the EXHBIT HALL ONLY at ISTE, we have a few three-day Exhibit Hall passes. See more details and apply for a pass here. We will mail passes out to qualifying applicants on a first come, first served basis while supplies last.


Colonial Times Read-alouds PLUS Common Core
As you scramble to meet the demands of the Common Core, it can feel like “something has to give.” Many of you report that social studies has taken a back seat since science testing has begun, and some fear that students will lose a sense of our history and heritage. Our latest “Read-alouds PLUS” article for elementary grades will show you how you can leverage the power of daily read-alouds to practice ELA Common Core Standards while infusing social studies content, specifically the early colonial period. Watch for more Common Core articles coming throughout the summer.


Middle school science teachers bring science to LIFE!
If you are a creative, student-centered science teacher (gr 6-9), MySciLife® wants YOU. Apply now—for FREE—to be part of MySciLife, an exciting, new way for your students to be successful science learners. Students create an identity as a science concept—such as an organism, animal, object, scientist, or force—and develop their identity via status updates, interactions, and creative technology tools familiar to today’s youth. (Sound like a popular social network you know?) It all takes place within the safe MySciLife community. As a MySciLife Pilot Teacher Ambassador, you use MySciLife® in teaching YOUR school’s science curriculum. Read about the research results, watch the video, and APPLY NOW to be part of the next exciting phase of this project in 2014-15. (Note: MySciLife will ALWAYS be free for teachers and students. This is not a come-on for a commercial entity. We are a non-profit.) Space is limited. Submit your information via the link to the online application form on the MySciLife page.

Do you tell teachers about TeachersFirst?
Summer is PD season. If you feature TeachersFirst in teacher professional development workshops, teach a grad class about us, or coach teachers about TeachersFirst in your role as a technology integration specialist, we can help. Complete this form telling us where you plan to feature TeachersFirst. We will send out TeachersFirst cards and an ever-popular Thinking Teacher T-shirt for qualifying sessions. Complete the form NOW to be sure supplies do not run out.


Summer OK2Ask®
OK2Ask, our free series of online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development, resumes for six weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning in July. Registration is now open. Please read descriptions carefully to be sure you have prerequisites and/or the appropriate technology comfort levels BEFORE you signup. Note that ALL summer certificates will be issued at the end of the summer. No exceptions. All summer sessions begin at 6 pm EDT. Learn more about OK2Ask. The full downloadable summer schedule in pdf format is also available. Mark your calendar for the professional development YOU choose!


Planning for Gettysburg?
If your summer travels (or lesson planning) include Gettysburg, don’t miss Gettysburg by the Numbers, an engaging way to move beyond dates and data to questions and connections. It’s mobile friendly, so take it on the road with you or make it your class’s virtual field trip. It’s ready to go for your projector or interactive whiteboard, too.


On the calendar
TeachersFirst has resources for Ramadan (June 28 - July 28) and Independence Day ready for you on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. Summer is the perfect time to scout ahead for fall events and resources to include in your plans.


Summer swims
Summer is HOT, and we handle it differently depending on where we live. Share the XW1W question for the week of June 15 to learn about summers far away: Do you swim in summer? Where? Help your students stop and think about life in other cultures with #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.


Summer gift
If you could give one summer gift, which would you give to your students? Choose from the options in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find tools and treasures:

  • Science games for young ones
  • A no-membership whiteboard/drawing tool
  • A handy link sharing tool
  • Copyright-free photos
  • Documentaries up close
  • The human side of economic downturn
  • A super civics podcast
  • Two great math finds
  • A decision maker tool
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this JUNE 22 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived June 15 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you enjoy some moments with family this week.

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