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March 9, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

TeachersFirst strives to bring you “right now” topics. This week we challenge you to “dive into the deep end” and test out the water! Did you know that over 50 countries around the world will be participating in the World Water Monitoring Challenge? You can monitor a lake, stream, bay, or any other nearby body of water. The official kickoff for World Water Day is on March 22. However, the challenge continues through December 31. How can you get your class involved? Learn more about the World Water Monitoring Challenge here.


FREE Online Professional Development
TeachersFirst offers free webinars to keep your professional development fresh! Check out the many offerings from OK2Ask® in 2015. Coming up soon: 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.


Science Fair goes Google!
Does your school have an annual Science Fair? Share this additional challenge with your students. The Google Science Fair (for ages 13-18 only) has begun! Submissions will be accepted until May. Learn more about this annual competition in our TeachersFirst review.


Hills and Valleys
What landforms surround you? Can you see any mountains in the distance? Or maybe you live ON a mountain? Share the XW1W question for the week of March 8: How close are you to the mountains? 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.


Teachers' Pets?
Pets can teach students responsibility. But, pets are also a lot of work for a teacher. This week’s teacher poll asks: Do you have a class pet? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


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 Mashups, Multimedia, and Organization tools. Mashups are tools that allow a combination of pre-existing tools to work together. They also may combine information from one source with a tool from another. Multimedia are tools that are used to create or edit MANY different types of media in one final product. Tools could include video, text, images, drawing, audio, and more. Organization Tools help YOU (or your students) organize time, projects, productivity, and your life. 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.


The Mission Goes On
Geo and Meri are enjoying the sights of China. Join the teen bloggers as they continue their mission to find Dewey: the Truth-Sniffing Dog. Find out where they will explore 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.


WOW Them!
Do you like to share your tech “finds” with students or colleagues on your website, blog, or wiki? If so, now you can really look smart! Embed the TeachersFirst Featured Sites widget and have new “finds” every week without ever lifting a finger. If you can copy/paste, you can embed anything! Find the code to copy/paste here. Never embedded anything? We have a resource to help you. Or better yet, ask one of your students for help!


All About Me!
The March theme from TogetheRead is “All About Me!” TogetheRead provides a list of recommended books, questions, and activities designed to build stronger readers. The themes include books for all ages, centered around the same theme. Parents find questions to ask as the family reads, deepening comprehension before, during, and after reading. Included are free and low-cost ideas for activities families can do together, as well. TogetheRead involves the entire family in supporting literacy.


Marching Through The Year
March brings us many celebrations: Pi Day, The Ides of March, Saint Patrick’s Day, and more! March also bring us Women's History Month and Music in our Schools Month. 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 a Bald Eagle, Science Fair Invitation, and more:

  • Google Yourself
  • Get your “feeds” organized
  • Unusual comics
  • Digital Design
  • STEM professional development
  • Visual for the First World War
  • Current Events - news
  • Coding Battles
  • Clear up Comma Confusion
  • Water Challenge
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this March 15 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived March 8 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


May the water of knowledge in your classroom quench the thirsts of your students’ minds.

The TeachersFirst Team