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February 23, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Will March come in like a lion or a lamb? This year, teachers who have been dealing with the unusually COLD winter just want March to get here quickly! Although the cold can be tough, keep your eyes on the positive side of being snow (or ice) bound. You have more time to explore the FREE and great stuff available on TeachersFirst! Take a fresh look while you warm up by the heater.


Post-War Era—Book!
What was life like after World War II? Our newest installment of CurriConnects explores life during the Civil Rights movement, the tumultuous 60s, Vietnam, JFK years, Reagan, Clinton, Woodstock, and more. Use CurriConnects leveled lists to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. Any student can find a book on the topic at the appropriate interest and Lexile® level.


FREE online PD - OK2Ask Open for Spring Registration
TeachersFirst brings you “just in time” topics to keep your professional development fresh! Check out the many offerings from OK2Ask in 2015. This week we have our Sharing and Solutions for Technology Coaches and trainers. Coming up in March: Google Templates, Juggling the BYOD or 1:1 classroom, Professional Resources, and Online Tools. Registration is now OPEN for all 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.


Animals in (or out of) the House
Do you have any pets in your home? Maybe your family raises chicken or even has a farm? Share the XW1W question for the week of February 22: Do you have any pets or animals at your house? 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.


Something New... Members Only
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 fabulous 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.


How to... Become a Member
Did you know that TeachersFirst offers a FREE membership to 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!


Bring a Device: Yes or No?
What is your classroom (or school) policy for bringing electronic devices? Are students allowed to bring them daily? Can they use phones or other devices during indoor recess or study halls? Or does your school not allow any devices? This week’s teacher poll asks: Do you allow students to bring devices to your classroom? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


What is “D” 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 Digital Storytelling, Downloads, and Drawing/Whiteboards. Digital Storytelling tools allow users to create narratives using a combination of digital media. Downloads includes any tool that requires both a download and installation. Drawing and Whiteboard resources are used primarily to create and edit drawings or whiteboards. 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.


Trash or Treasures
Geo and Meri are now in India digging through the trash (literally), looking for a treasure (their cell phone). Join the 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.


What’s a... Wiki?
One of the frequently asked questions in our OK2Ask sessions is, ”What’s a wiki?” If you have been wondering but were embarrassed to ask, try the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through to understand the what, why, and how of wikis. Teachers who know and use wikis know how great they are as a tool for teaching and for students to create and share. If you are already a wiki-user, why not share the Wiki Walk-Through with your colleagues who are wiki-wary?


 Marching into a New Month
This week you have another opportunity to teach about both Black History Month and Dental Health Month. It will soon be time to get ready for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday! March also bring us Women’s History Month, Music in our Schools Month, Pi Day, and more! You’ll find resources for events and observances throughout 2015 in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites find Sports, Science, and Sounds:

  • Alphabet videos for the very young
  • Penguins, Polar Bears, and Arctic Adventures
  • Science Comics
  • Art plus Photography for mature students
  • Cyber warfare
  • Current events
  • Edit and remix videos
  • Flaws in politics
  • Instruments from around the world
  • Sports
  • Protect your Email
  • Stressed out?
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this March 1 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived February 22 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


Whether March is more like a lion or lamb in your location, we hope that the resources available at TeachersFirst will make this time more bearable and even productive. Hang inside – warmer weather will be here... eventually.

The TeachersFirst Team