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February 16, 2015

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Teachers train the future leaders, presidents, and innovators of this world. You have the power to see the potential in every student that walks through your door. Let TeachersFirst empower you with the tools and the know-how to reach and teach your students to aim for the stars.


Membership's Rewards
Keep the lines of communication open with your parents and families. TeachersFirst has created a set of “ready to go” email messages to encourage and help parents help their students. This great, time-saving feature is available to MEMBERS ONLY. You can personalize each message with your name and your students’ names. A preview window is available to view before you send the emails. When you log in to your TeachersFirst account, the link to this feature is on the Start Page.


Speaking of Membership
Did you know that there are lots of ways TeachersFirst's FREE membership can save you TIME? If you are not already a member, check out reasons for joining, such as our new email messages (mentioned above), a handy list of the latest new offerings in YOUR subject area(s), and a handy tool to mark and tag favorite resources. Sign up now. Tell your teachers friends. They will thank you!


"C" - The Edge
The TeachersFirst Edge features teacher-reviewed, free, online tools (many with free app versions) to help you and your students create projects or simply make your digital life a little easier. This week we are highlighting Collaboration Tools, Chat/Microblogging tools, and Concept Maps/Mind Maps. Although we list these tools under the appropriate subjects where they might fit, the little turquoise “E” icon in the review means this is a tool where you or your students can create or collaborate in making something of your own.


No Monkey Business
Geo and Meri are now in India (in a facility that trains monkeys). Join our teen bloggers as they continue their mission to find Dewey: the Truth-Sniffing Dog. Find out what they will explore first on Globetracker’s Mission. Help students (grades 2-6) learn more by joining the Mission in 2015 to learn map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and much more. Your kids will love traveling the world through the eyes of teens Geo and Meri. Check out complete teacher information, standards, and lesson ideas for using the mission. There are even Google Earth files for you to “watch” the Mission unfold. For extra fun, set your class Twitter account to follow the teens’ Twitter account, @geoandmeri.


REGISTER NOW for all Spring OK2Ask FREE Online PD
TeachersFirst brings you “just in time” topics to keep your professional development fresh! Check out the many offerings from OK2Ask in 2015. Coming up soon... Google Part 4: Using YouTube and Google Maps and a sharing session for Tech Coaches. Registration is now OPEN for all winter and spring sessions. Read our FAQ for general information about certificates, etc. Please be sure to read the detailed descriptions and suggested technology comfort levels BEFORE you register for the best match for your learning needs. See a full preview of offerings through May in this PDF. Most sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time.


Flying Through February
This week we will be celebrating Presidents Day and Chinese New Year. And don’t forget February is also Black History Month and Dental Health Month. It will soon be time to get ready for Dr. Seuss’s Birthday! You’ll find resources for events and observances throughout 2015 in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Presidents' Day Plans?
What does your school do for Presidents’ Day? Do all students and staff have off? Is this day a teacher training day? Or maybe you had off, and now it is a snow make-up day? This week’s teacher poll asks: Do you have school on Presidents’ Day? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Why Reinvent The Wheel?
Did you know that TeachersFirst has several units READY TO GO! Check out our Biomes of the World, Using Art to Define the Renaissance, Math Celebration Fair, and several others.


Time Off?
What does your February schedule look like? Do you have any extended weekends or special days off for Presidents’ Day or winter break? Share the XW1W question for the week of February 15: Do you have any extra days off of school in February? If so, for what reasons? Make this the year you make a class Twitter account to learn from classes near and far. Your students can hear about life in other places and cultures through #XW1W. TeachersFirst’s Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project uses simple tweets (or links to blog posts) to share the responses to a weekly question. Help your class “see” what life is like in other places. It all works because of something called a hashtag. Learn how to get started with these simple directions and FAQ.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites find online tools, virtual manipulatives, and more:

  • ESL videos
  • Take a Deep Sea Dive
  • Toss Virtual Dice
  • Group Maker Tool
  • Timeline for U.S.-Cuba Relations
  • Slide maker
  • Slick Writing Tool
  • Online safety for little ones
  • Create a Roman Mosaic
  • And more

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


As you celebrate Presidents’ Day in your classroom, may you always remember that every great leader once learned from a great teacher.

The TeachersFirst Team