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June 30, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Fire up the grill, and bring on the picnics! It’s is almost July 4th, and no one knows how to party better than a teacher! As you declare independence from school and all things work related, TeachersFirst will be ready with refreshing ideas to accompany the leftover burgers and dogs. For now, launch those fireworks!


Join us!
The Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst are at the ISTE conference in Atlanta this week. Join us at the new Coaching Playground (Monday, June 30). See yours truly and my colleague, Melissa Henning, present about Nourishing Gifted with Technology in Any Classroom (also on Monday). Talk to the Thinking Teachers at booth 3118 during Exhibit Hall hours. If you see someone walking around in a Thinking Teacher shirt, stop and talk to them. It might be one of our staff or simply a loyal TeachersFirst user like you! You could even earn a coveted Thinking Teacher T-shirt at our booth 3118.

If are not here in Atlanta, experience ISTE via OK2Ask® LIVE, a webcast direct from our booth on Monday, June 30 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm Eastern time. It’s almost like being there—without the airfare! Click the OK2Ask® LIVE link front and center on the TeachersFirst home page on Monday at 3:30!


July schedule
TeachersFirst never takes a break, but we do slow our pace during July to accommodate teachers’ summer breaks and travel. The Update will come out every other week and repeat on the next Sunday. New Updates will come out on July 6 (repeat July 13), July 20 (repeat July 27). The Weekly Brain Twisters will change every other Friday, with new Twisters appearing July 4 and 18 and resuming weekly changes August 1. We hope this schedule will keep you from missing any of the latest finds from TeachersFirst as you travel or step away from your computer. Enjoy your summer!


Been There, Done That
Sometimes the best summer learning comes in small tidbits. Discover handy ways to make your tech-infused lessons go more smoothly with TeachersFirst’s Been There, Done That tech tips. Savor a clever idea or two from experienced, Thinking Teachers or share the entire batch with colleagues who need a little extra confidence.


Summer OK2Ask®
OK2Ask® summer sessions start next week! This free series of online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development runs 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. Mark your calendar for the professional development YOU choose!


Summer Reading is not just for kids
Perhaps you prefer a more traditional way to learn: sitting on the beach with a book. TeachersFirst is here to help.  We know that in your day-to-day teaching life you might not have time to read all you’d like for professional growth and emotional well-being, but this article shares books and blogs to re-ignite your teaching flame.


On the calendar
TeachersFirst has resources for Ramadan (going on now) 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.


Everyone loves a celebration. Share the XW1W question for the week of June 29 to learn celebrations in far off places: Where and when do you see fireworks? 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.


Equal access?
How available are school computers/devices for you to use with all students? Please tell us in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Doing a workshop or other PD about TeachersFirst?
If you feature TeachersFirst in teacher professional development workshops, teach a grad class about us, or tell teachers about TeachersFirst in your role as a technology coach, 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.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find outstanding tools and resources for ACTIVE learning:

  • A way to gamify geography
  • A no-membership writing collaboration
  • Statistics about... many things!
  • A tool to teach parents
  • A web site evaluator
  • Personalized news
  • A tool to experience and create learning explorations
  • A unique global learning event
  • A comic creator
  • Geometric constructions
  • A pair of marvelous math finds
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this JULY 6 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived June 29 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May your time relaxing for the 4th spark new ideas for next year.

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