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March 24, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

March is often about endurance. Just survive until the first day of spring or until spring break or until the tests are over. Many of us wonder how many more below-average temperatures we must tolerate. TeachersFirst turns your endurance into sustainability as we March ahead toward April. Find the ideas to create learning that lasts.


Awesome April approaches
We are wrapping up Music in our Schools Month and Women’s History Month. Next week will be the opening of baseball season and the start of April. Look ahead to celebrate National Poetry Month, Earth Day, Autism Awareness, and much more. Dreading having school on April Fool’s Day? Dread no more. Find resources to create comics and cartoons in the spirit of the day (while still learning). Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for awesome April and throughout the year.

I think that I shall never see...
National Poetry Month is more than a fest for English teachers. It is a chance for readers of all ages to take up a book about poets and poetry. Share this CurriConnects list on Poets and Poetry with your teacher-librarian and your students. If you are giving high stakes tests, keep some of these books handy for those who turn in their tests early. “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree,” quips a well-known poem. We would counter that, “But try a poem or two to see.”


Common Core and more
This week is Common Core week from OK2Ask®, our free, online professional development series. Please be sure to READ the descriptions and double check that you have the prerequisites (if any) and/or technology comfort levels. Choose your favorite “snack session(s)” and register NOW (all at 7:00pm Eastern Daylight time).

  • Common Core Math Ideas K-8; Mon. Mar. 24
  • Introduction to Writing with Common Core; Thurs. Mar. 27
  • Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and Tools for Learning Support, Speech/language, Emotional Support, and more; Mon. Apr. 7
  • Google Series (Part 6): Cool Tools; Tues. Apr. 15
  • Gifted Resources Galore: Tips and Tools for Meeting the Needs of Your Gifted Students; Tues. Apr. 29
  • Ready.. Set.. Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments”; Thurs. May 8


Speaking of Common Core
TeachersFirst has been working to create and collect the best resources for teachers implementing Common Core. We feature the practical, helpful resources that teachers trust. We have added a Common Core tag so you can “find more like these” with one click as you delve into Common Core.


Pacific northwest
Geo and Meri are in Seattle this week on Globetracker's Mission. Read new posts every Sunday to learn standards-based geography, landforms, and major U.S. landmarks in grades 2-6. Vote each week, telling the teens what to do next.


Is it spring yet?
Weather and the seasons have an influence on any culture. Share the XW1W question for the week of Mar 23: What do you consider the first sign of spring? Help your students experience life through the eyes of others in distant places through #XW1W. Share with classrooms around the world. The Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project uses simple tweets or blog posts to share the responses to a weekly question and help you “see” what life is like in other places. It all works because of something called a hashtag. Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ.


Ideal numbers
Which class size do you think is ideal for LEARNING? Share your preference in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find tools, treasures, and timely options:

  • Golf (in time for spring)
  • A tool to organize homework and tasks
  • Science fair help
  • Creative building
  • A new way to view propaganda
  • INSTANT blog posts
  • A clever presentation combo
  • A no-membership map tool
  • Handy practice games for the younger set
  • Instant feedback in class
  • Old pictures to “see” history
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Mar 30 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived March 23 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May your students find the best surprises under the melting snow and new blooms of learning burst from forgotten bulbs.

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