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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is teacher appreciation week. We certainly appreciate our fellow teachers. If you are reading this, you are probably taking a little extra time to help your students learn just a little more or make more connections between “school stuff” and the “real world.” The more we at TeachersFirst discover about how you use TeachersFirst, the better we feel about the future for today’s students. Pat yourself on the back. Better yet, thank another teacher in the hallway for all that he/she does to make this world a better place.


Join us at the BEST conference EVER
The annual ISTE conference (International Society for Technology in Education) is a life-changing inspiration for teachers. We know that schools have cut conference budgets to almost nil, so TeachersFirst is sponsoring The ISTE12 Thinking Teachers Contest for three of you to join us at ISTE 2012 in San Diego in June. The entry form  is at We Are Teachers.com, the tool we are using to administer the contest. Three winners will receive ISTE conference registration and $500 towards their ISTE travel expenses. Read the details on the entry form and ask your friends to vote for your entry. Tell us how attending ISTE 2012 will help you be a Thinking Teacher. Enter NOW! The first 100 entries earn a Thinking Teacher® shirt, and the entries stay open until May 17, followed by the voting phase.


Grades, please?
We need DATA about TeachersFirst and our effectiveness to use in grant applications.  We are asking you to give back just a few minutes of your time in return for the free service TeachersFirst provides. We want your honest opinions. Please help by responding to the TeachersFirst User Survey. Think of it as a “report card” for TeachersFirst. (Report cards are due May 31.)


Small wonders
May’s TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies is Small Wonders (Little things make a big difference). Discover TogetheRead for family literacy. This free feature offers books for all ages around a common theme -- and activity ideas to go along with them.


Gifts, thanks, and more
Mother’s Day is almost here. May is also the time to say thank you to school volunteers for their work throughout the school year. Find Special Occasion gift ideas to recognize moms and others—at no cost. Also coming soon in the Classroom Planning Calendar: TeachersFirst’s Summer Sparklers for summer learning. Be sure to share it in your year-end web page or newsletter.


Filling a void- sort of
No one can fill the void when we lose the school “connector,” our library/media specialist. TeachersFirst knows how lost teachers and students feel without the learning glue that pulled it all together for us in the media center. We offer the Help I Lost my library/media specialist series as a small attempt to fill a large gap. This month’s installment is I Want to Know! Helping students explore a wonder-filled summer. Inspire students to learn on their own over the summer. Find elementary level lessons and resources to spark self-directed summer learning.


Rate the Mission!
We need your assessment of Globetracker’s Mission and its effectiveness to use on grant applications. If you used Globetracker’s Mission, even for one lesson, please take the quick survey here.  Just as schools are being asked to “show the data,” so are we! Answer the Globetracker survey while your students try some of the many REVIEW activities available until the end of May.


Raven alternative
TeachersFirst’s Interactive Raven is one of our most popular resources, but did you know that we also have an interactive version of The Highwayman to teach about poetry and literary devices? Tired of The Raven? Nevermore!


May Math and Endless Summer from OK2Ask®
Later this month, don’t miss a special OK2Ask offering for math, K-8. In June, join us for OK2Ask LIVE from ISTE, July and August will bring a near-endless list of offerings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Read and/or download the full summer OK2Ask® schedule and mark your calendar now! These free, online teacher professional development “snack sessions”  are accessible from any computer, and we provide professional development certificates.  Registration opens about a month before each summer session.

Energizing Math: ideas, resources, and collaboration for K-8 math teachers
Tues, May 22. ONE session 7-8:30 pm EDT ONLY; Read the details and register NOW


Making the most of May
Which is the best way to teach and learn during May?
Click your choice in the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Win terrific tech treats
Win a free technology package worth over $300,000 for your school/district. TeachersFirst’s non-profit parent company, The Source for Learning, is one of the sponsors of the Dream School Challenge from Lifetime’s The Balancing Act. Learn more here. Watch the video clip of TeachersFirst’s Thinking Teacher-leader together with ISTE CEO Don Knezek on The Balancing Act show where the contest is announced.


Around the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W  for the week of May 6: Do you plan to celebrate Mothers Day? How? Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) uses microblogging or blogging tools to share responses about everyday life from any corner of the world. The XW1W FAQ page explains it all. Make today’s instant communications an instant learning experience.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find thought-provoking variety:

  • Primary reading and speed booking
  • How the brain works—shown a whole new way
  • Inspiring and stunning “thunks”
  • Timely tutorials
  • A handy texting tool
  • Curious quizzes
  • Songs of the month
  • China quests
  • Agriculture

And more! Don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you hear an unexpected “thank you” at least once this week.


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