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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

September 11 is a somber day to commemorate and a powerful motivation to think about the importance of education as a bridge to global understanding. As teachers, we have impact far beyond familiarity with phonics, fractions, or facts about mitosis. May this week’s remembrances include an opportunity for you to simply talk with your students. The most important thing we do is to help students find meaning in the world around them, and 9/11 challenges each of us to find a meaningful way to serve and move forward.


Just in Time
Students need to connect what happens in school to outside events, and there are always plenty of things happening in the “outside world.” Constitution Day is this week (Sept 17), and Hispanic Heritage Month has begun. Soon will come the Jewish High Holy Days. Find resources quickly for upcoming events on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar, front and center on the TeachersFirst home page. If you know an event we can help with, send a suggestion via the Contact Us link in our page footers. We love hearing from you.


This Week's Poll
This year my teaching load/class sizes are... Tell us how budget cuts and staffing changes have affected your situation. Take the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Parents, Teachers, and TeachersFirst
Promote solid communication between home and school and invite parents to support what their children are learning in your classroom. Invite  parents to watch The Balancing Act on the Lifetime® TV cable channel from 7:00-8:00 am on September 13 or 27 to see Candace Hackett Shively of TeachersFirst and the leaders of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and The Association for Middle Level Education.  The segment includes ideas for parents to support their child’s learning. They can even learn about TeachersFirst and your teacher public page!


TeachersFirst Twister gets 'em thinking
Want to challenge your students? Try the newly redesigned Weekly Brain Twister from TeachersFirst. Every Friday the “mobile friendly” Brain Twister presents students with ten questions from across the curriculum (and current events) to make them think. You’ll find the Twister, in both elementary and middle school versions, front and center on the TeachersFirst home page and in our Ready to Go collection in the Classroom tab. There are even ideas for ways to use it in your classes.


XW1W question for the week of Sept 11: How far do you walk each day? 
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.


Love to travel?
Hit the road soon with Geo and Meri on this year’s Globetracker’s Mission. You and your students in grades 2-6 can learn about geography, map skills, landforms, and more just by following Geo and Meri's blog each week. They will need your help deciding what to do each week, so plan to spend part of your 2011-12 school year with Globetracker's Mission. The mission information for 2011-12 is online now, with new weekly episodes beginning October 23. Take time now to plan for the Mission.


OK2Ask™ for 2011-2012
How do we fit professional development into crazy teaching days? OK2Ask™ from TeachersFirst is a series of free, live, online "snack sessions" for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. Scheduled at convenient times for you to attend from any computer, OK2Ask™ helps you discover great ideas you can use in your classroom, courtesy of TeachersFirst's Thinking Teachers. You can access archived recordings to get a taste of OK2Ask™. The schedule for this school year is now posted. For complete information and FAQs, see the OK2Ask section under TeachersFirst’s Professional tab. Register now for our first offering of the school year:

  • Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Tuesday, September 27, 2011



TeachersFirst Best Find: Audio Books and Interactive Books
Emerging readers; learning support students, and ESL/ELL students love reading with audio support or interactive features to help them decipher meaning. Even strong readers enjoy listening to stories as they imagine the scenes. TeachersFirst’s Audio Books collection and related audio books with accompanying text or audio books with interactive features collections give students many choices. Set up a listening area in your classroom or share these links as Favorites on your TeachersFirst public page. Don’t have a public page yet? Learn about this and other benefits of free TeachersFirst membership.


Featured Sites
This week’s Featured Sites include sites for all the senses:

  • Great tools for reading, word study, or vocabulary
  • Two for young learners
  • Energy saving and other science activities
  • A fascinating look at cultures
  • Financial literacy finds
  • Publishing YOUR work
  • A Roald Dahl project you’ll love

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


May your week bring both serious moments and some good laughs.


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