TeachersFirst Professional Exclusives

TeachersFirst’s Professional Exclusives help you learn as a teacher, try new technologies, explore new teaching strategies, or understand student differences. Discover how and why to use wikis from the Wiki Walk-Through. Learn to adapt for ESL students in a regular classroom. Learn the how and why of better rubrics – and locate or create them easily. Every TeachersFirst professional exclusive is written by experienced teachers and includes the pragmatic, teacher-friendly details that you count on from our Thinking Teachers.

 

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Writer's Workshop Introduction - Teachersfirst

Grades
1 to 6
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Good writing skills are essential for secondary students. Writer's Workshop is an interdisciplinary writing technique which can build elementary students' fluency in writing through...more
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Good writing skills are essential for secondary students. Writer's Workshop is an interdisciplinary writing technique which can build elementary students' fluency in writing through continuous, repeated exposure to the process of writing. Teachers can introduce elements of Writer's Workshop at any elementary grade. Ideally, however, the process begins in Kindergarten.

tag(s): writing (364)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use this introduction to introduce Writer's Workshop elements in a variety of curriculum situations and classroom settings.

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Bulletin Board Hang Ups - TeachersFirst

Grades
2 to 12
17 Favorites 0  Comments
TeachersFirst provides this collection of printable quotations, ready for your classroom or bulletin board. Inspire, engage, or challenge your students to think with quotes from famous...more
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TeachersFirst provides this collection of printable quotations, ready for your classroom or bulletin board. Inspire, engage, or challenge your students to think with quotes from famous leaders, sports figures, thinkers, and writers. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): bulletin boards (17), quotations (25)

In the Classroom

They look great printed on brightly colored paper! As an opening day activity, challenge small groups of students to interpret the quote hanging closest to them and predict how it may be important in your course this year. For younger students, ask them to write a paraphrase or to illustrate the quote. Be sure to change the quotes periodically and give a prize to the first student who notices. Or give a pop-quiz during the last week of school, asking students to recall as many of the year's quotes as they can (working in small groups will probably help). If you have classroom blogs, ask students to choose and reflect on a specific quote and its relevance to your class throughout the past year.
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Blog Basics for the Classroom - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This comprehensive tutorial gives all the details on using gated blogs safely in the classroom, including explanations of blogging basics, a TeachersFirst Step-by-Step on how to start...more
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This comprehensive tutorial gives all the details on using gated blogs safely in the classroom, including explanations of blogging basics, a TeachersFirst Step-by-Step on how to start one, complete charts of the features of several free blogging tools for teachers, and over two dozen ideas for how to use a blog with your students. Make "writing to learn" approachable and exciting. You will even find a customizable Blogger's Agreement to download and use with students and parents so everyone knows the expectations and consequences for your class blogs.

tag(s): blogs (83)

In the Classroom

You could use this step by step as the framework for a self-directed or "buddy" professional development project. Share it with your principal or professional development coordinator. USe the strategies and ideas here to start a blog for your class or for each student. Don't miss suggestions for a Teacher as Blogger so you can model blogging, too.
 

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TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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There is nothing twicky about a wiki. Learn about this online collaboration tool: what a wiki is, how you might use it in your classroom, how to explain it to ...more
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There is nothing twicky about a wiki. Learn about this online collaboration tool: what a wiki is, how you might use it in your classroom, how to explain it to parents and administration, and how to get started. There are over 50 examples of activities you can do with a wiki and links to a free tool to get started. A fresh revision of the Walk-Through in 2008 includes comparison reviews of the top three wiki tools for education. We even give you the downloadable handout to send home.

tag(s): wikis (19)

In the Classroom

This is listed as a TeachersFirst "edge" entry, but our step-by-step walk-through takes the edge off and makes your wiki a walk in the park. Check it out now, while there is still FREE classroom wiki space available from the three wiki tools we review in detail.
 

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Adapt-a-Strategy for ESL/ELL - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Adapt your existing lesson plans using these simple strategies to help ESL students. Click on the activity type you have planned and find suggestions and resources to help your ESL/ELL...more
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Adapt your existing lesson plans using these simple strategies to help ESL students. Click on the activity type you have planned and find suggestions and resources to help your ESL/ELL students be successful with the lesson. Some of the same strategies may help with students with IEPs for speech and language or learning support.

tag(s): teaching strategies (26)

In the Classroom

Share this one with your colleagues who also have ESL/ELL students.

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Top Ten Tips for Working With ESL/ELL Students - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Teaching ESL./ELL students in your regular classroom can be a challenge. You feel great empathy for the children who enter your room, bewildered, but you have the rest of the ...more
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Teaching ESL./ELL students in your regular classroom can be a challenge. You feel great empathy for the children who enter your room, bewildered, but you have the rest of the class to think of, too. TeachersFirst offers these Top Ten Tips for Teachers working with ESL/ELL students to help you find appropriate ways to differentiate instruction and make minor adjustments for the individual student and maximize the benefit of having these new students in the class.

tag(s): teaching strategies (26)

In the Classroom

From TeacherFirst, this site is a helpful resource for new ELL teachers, or to pass along to general education teachers who are eager to know how to best assimilate a new ELL student into their classroom. Save the site as a favorite on your desktop to allow easy reference whenever, and pass it along to interested peers!

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Webquest 101 - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 12
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Newly revised, TeachersFirst's extensive tutorial explains what a webquest is, why it can be useful in the classroom, and how to create your own webquest on a topic of your ...more
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Newly revised, TeachersFirst's extensive tutorial explains what a webquest is, why it can be useful in the classroom, and how to create your own webquest on a topic of your choosing. Don't miss the section on url detective work and evaluating which sites are best for your students. Fid handy ways to collect resources for webquests and hints for checking reading levels and more. There are lots of examples, tool suggestions, and links to our ever-growing collection of sample webquests.

tag(s): tutorials (49), webquests (28)

In the Classroom

Mark this in your Favorites as a professional reference. You may even want to assign students to create their own webquests following these guidelines. If you mentor new teachers, share this resource when they are designing their first web-based projects.

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TeachersFirst: Sifting Through the Filters - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Web filtering is a common topic of frustration and mystification for teachers. Do you wonder why it's there, how it works, and what other schools do? Are there sites you ...more
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Web filtering is a common topic of frustration and mystification for teachers. Do you wonder why it's there, how it works, and what other schools do? Are there sites you read about but cannot access? Are you worried that your students may access "bad" things under your supervision? Learn the basics of Internet filters, consider key questions, and take a quick poll in Sifting Through the Filters, another teacher-friendly interactive module. In just a few minutes, you will gain a new perspective on filtering and some ideas to advocate for positive change (for best viewing, turn off your pop-up blocker).

tag(s): internet safety (118)

In the Classroom

Read through this on your own or share it in a staff meeting where you discuss use of the Internet and teachers' role in Internet safety. You may also want to share the link with your principal or other decision-makers to open dialog on ways to include teachers in the process.
 

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Middle School Do's and Don'ts - TeachersFirst

Grades
5 to 9
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These pointers are taken from the notebook of a 7th and 8th grade teacher, and are reprinted here with her permission. ...more
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These pointers are taken from the notebook of a 7th and 8th grade teacher, and are reprinted here with her permission.

tag(s): newbies (15), substitutes (18)

In the Classroom

If you are a new middle school teacher or mentor to one, these tips can maintain your sanity and improve your success. Mark this in favorites and looks for examples in your experience!

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Rubrics to the Rescue - TeachersFirst- Melissa Henning, M.Ed.

Grades
1 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
TeachersFirst expains the essentials of rubrics: What are they, why use them, types of rubrics, and ideas forinvolving students in creating rubrics. The article includes links to online...more
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TeachersFirst expains the essentials of rubrics: What are they, why use them, types of rubrics, and ideas forinvolving students in creating rubrics. The article includes links to online tools for creating rubrics or to find ready-made rubrics, ready for download. Teachers old and new will like the succinct explanations and ready tools for authentic assessment.

tag(s): assessment (115), newbies (15), rubrics (30)

In the Classroom

Mark this resource as a Favorite for quick access to everything you need to create a project-based learning assignment or assessment for any project.

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Building Schoolwide Literacy With Free Web 2.0 Tools: A Grade by Grade Elementary Model - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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TeachersFirst offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students,...more
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TeachersFirst offers this model for elementary (or middle) schools to build skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening systematically in a schoolwide model including students, teachers, and parents. The free web 2.0 tools suggested here are by no means the only tools that might work. These exemplary tools were chosen by the TeachersFirst Editors for ease of use and versatility in classroom and home use, and could easily be implemented at grade levels other than those suggested here. As students and teachers master a new tool at each grade level, they develop rich literacy skills and vital technology skills, all in the context of reading, writing, speaking and listening across the curriculum.

tag(s): listening (85), speaking (24)

In the Classroom

Explore the tools and project suggestions by grade for your individual use as a teacher or work together with others in your school to build literacy across all subjects and grades by systematically adopting and repeatedly using a fixed collection of tools so students master the tool skills as an aside to reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Try the practical suggestions for implementing this model in your school or grade level team.

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Student Produced Video Field Trips - TeachersFirst

Grades
4 to 12
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What is a student created video field trip? Simply put, it is an experience where a group of students goes to a site to shoot video, interviews, etc. and streams ...more
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What is a student created video field trip? Simply put, it is an experience where a group of students goes to a site to shoot video, interviews, etc. and streams the video (live and archived) to students, parents, and others unable to attend in person. TeachersFirst shares this how-to and why-to so you and your students will try it. Expand each point within these pages to learn what to do in detail---and skip the steps you already know or that don't apply!

tag(s): video (279)

In the Classroom

Read through the step by step and get started! TeachersFirst offers all the practical advice you need to try this 21st century approach to real world learning.

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Twitter for Teachers Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in...more
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Learn the basics about Twitter, the popular microblogging tool, and how it can help you with personalized, immediate professional development and collaboration with other teachers in other schools. This collection of reviewed resources related to Twitter will help you get started using Twitter safely for your own learning and possibly expand into using Twitter for class connections with other classrooms. The information includes basic terms such as "hastag," and even features a "widget" to show current "tweets" by educator-specific hashtag groups. Watch the sidebar (if it is not blocked in your school) to get a sense of the sharing possible on Twitter.

tag(s): social networking (111), twitter (43)

In the Classroom

Make this page a must-learn for teaching in the 21st century. Mark it in your favorites to return often to watch the embedded tweets from educators all over the world. Then muster your courage to set up a Twitter account of your own. Follow @teachersfirst or our lead Thinking Teacher @morerukus2, and we'll be sure to welcome you!

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In a Manner of Speaking: Figurative Language and the Common Core - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
3 Favorites 0  Comments
  
Dive into the Common Core standards for figurative language in both reading and writing in elementary grades with this article and resource collection. The article includes book suggestions...more
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Dive into the Common Core standards for figurative language in both reading and writing in elementary grades with this article and resource collection. The article includes book suggestions for figurative language, as well. This article is part of a series about implementing Common Core. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (89), figurative language (16)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and learn more about the ambitious figurative language expectations of Common Core as you begin to implement the new standards. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers or with your teacher -librarian if you DO have one. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Dimensions of Creativity: A Model to Analyze Student Projects - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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These pages, sparked by a presentation by TeachersFirst's own Candace Hackett Shively, provide a way to plan and conduct curriculum projects to build creativity skills along with curriculum...more
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These pages, sparked by a presentation by TeachersFirst's own Candace Hackett Shively, provide a way to plan and conduct curriculum projects to build creativity skills along with curriculum concepts. Using the lens of Guilford's model of divergent thinking: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration (FFOE for short), teachers and students have a shared vocabulary and specific creativity skills to evaluate and develop. Find specific ways to differentiate for varied student creativity skills while creating curriculum projects using free web 2.0 tools. The pages include the "Prezi" visual presentation from ISTE 2010 about this model (no audio, just the visuals). These pages provide explanations and, most importantly, practical ways to look at the projects that teachers plan and the products that students produce so they can continue to build FFOE skills as part of any grade level or curriculum. Customizable rubrics make implementation easier at any grade level.

tag(s): creativity (117)

In the Classroom

Do more than simply tell your students to "be creative." Try the ideas and practical suggestions on these pages if you ask: How do I help students who struggle with "being creative" in project-based learning? How do I differentiate tools/projects to match students' varied creativity skills? How do I know that more "creative" students are moving forward, challenging their creative thinking and not simply using past "tried and true" ideas, wrapped in a little glitz? How do my students and I talk about the creativity skills they used (or did not use) in making a project?

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OK2Ask - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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OK2Ask''® is TeachersFirst's series of live, online "snack sessions" (available both live and in archived format) for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration....more
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OK2Ask''® is TeachersFirst's series of live, online "snack sessions" (available both live and in archived format) for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. These sessions, scheduled at convenient times for you to attend from any computer will share great ideas you can use in your classroom, courtesy of TeachersFirst's staff. You know our style, so you know these sessions will be useful and teacher-friendly. You can earn Professional Development Certificates for attending the LIVE sessions (and completing the requirements) or learn on your own from the archived recordings. Kick off your shoes and learn. Sessions are correlated to the NETS-T standards.

In the Classroom

Attend OK2Ask''® sessions with your teacher friends or "meet" teachers from far and wide. Mark OK2Ask in your Favorites. Then check back often for new offerings during the school year and summer breaks. You can earn Professional Development Certificates for attending the LIVE sessions (and completing the requirements) or learn on your own from the archived recordings.

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Across the World Once a Week: Collaborative Microblogging for Cross-Cultural Understanding - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W ...more
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W is a simple, social way for students to learn about real life in other cultures from real kids all across the world. By simply "hashtagging" Twitter or blog responses to a weekly question about daily life, students can share and learn about other cultures from their international peers. Find out more and read the details of this offering from TeachersFirst. The page displays the current weekly question as well as a Twitter feed of recent responses. (If you see a black "box," your school may be blocking Twitter feeds.) Don't miss the FAQ page to help you get started.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (124), cultures (108), twitter (43)

In the Classroom

Join XW1W with your class using a single Twitter account or any blog or wiki tool where you can share student answers to the weekly question. If you cannot access Twitter at school, that is not a problem. You do not even have to use Twitter (though this is a great way dip your toes into Twitter). See the FAQ page for specific hints on using XW1W with your students. Share the XW1W idea with teaching colleagues in other places, and perhaps even with families to try at home. Want to learn more about Twitter and teaching. See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Hands Off, Vanna! Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) Learning - TeachersFirst/Candace Hackett Shively

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
If you have an IWB, use it well. These pages, filled with practical ideas and examples for student-directed use of the interactive whiteboard as a collaborative learning space, originally...more
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If you have an IWB, use it well. These pages, filled with practical ideas and examples for student-directed use of the interactive whiteboard as a collaborative learning space, originally accompanied a presentation by Candace Hackett Shively at the ISTE 2011 conference. Find specific ideas and web tools for making the IWB a student tool and avoiding the trap of being a teacher-Vanna (or Vance). See examples and classroom management tips to share this kinesthetic learning tool among students and leverage its capabilities in student-centered activities. The presentation is brand-agnostic, though some of the examples use SMART brand software (viewable with SMART Notebook Express, a free online tool, reviewed here). There are downloadable handouts and files along with the many suggestions.

tag(s): iwb (31)

In the Classroom

Teachers in any subject and grade level will find ideas for IWB learning in their classroom. Make this professional information a self-guided tour to improve your use of a new or existing IWB. Share it with colleagues for an informal inservice session. Everything is here for you to explore and learn. If you are in charge of leading professional development about IWBs, this new perspective on student-centered use will send Vanna packing and inspire many new avenues for learning.
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OK2Ask: Digital Storytelling In the Classroom Pt 3: Adding Tech Tools - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from April 2017, opens in Adobe Connect. Using digital storytelling as a formative assessment across subject areas,...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from April 2017, opens in Adobe Connect. Using digital storytelling as a formative assessment across subject areas, you can meet curricular objectives while engaging learners in cross-curricular writing. Come to this TeachersFirst OK2Ask webinar to explore free options for creating digital stories with your students. Building on our fall and winter sessions, learn how to successfully create a well planned digital storytelling project for your class and create a sample project. Attendance at the previous sessions is not required for participation in this session which is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels. As a result of this session teachers will: (1) Explore rubrics for Digital Storytelling assessment; (2) Understand features of Tech Tools for Digital Storytelling; and (3) Create a project sample to share with students.

tag(s): digital storytelling (151)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
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Gifts of Character Readalouds - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This readaloud collection is part of the Help I lost my library/media specialist series. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this...more
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This readaloud collection is part of the Help I lost my library/media specialist series. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this collection of books and activities was created by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. The list of books to read aloud and accompanying activities center on the character traits we typically associate with the holiday season and try to instill: generosity, benevolence, philanthropy, compassion, service, and kindness. If your library does not have the books you want from this list, try using the ISBN numbers to borrow them on interlibrary loan from a public library nearby.

tag(s): christmas (56), holidays (140), independent reading (129)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites to bring out in late November, just in time for the holiday season. Or include it during a character education unit. Maybe invite some parents to volunteer as readers, modeling how adults give of their own time to support others.

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