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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Is your jack-o-lantern creepy or cheery? What do your students see at your classroom door: a broad, toothy grin on your friendly face or a surly sneer designed to scare? TeachersFirst tries to carve a positive outlook for teachers, no matter what the season.


All time Favorites
TeachersFirst has popular lesson plans and units that continue to attract a steady stream of visitors. The Interactive Raven is one of our all-time most popular TeachersFirst offerings. Not far behind is our Native American Crafts Unit. Learn how to make a cornhusk doll or a dreamcatcher, just in time for Native American Heritage month in November.


Now and Later treats
TeachersFirst helps you find resources for today or for next month. This week is Red Ribbon Week. Many schools are planning Fall Festivals and Halloween celebrations. November brings Veterans Day and Native American Heritage Month. When you need resources for events now or later, look front and center on the TeachersFirst home page for the Classroom Planning Calendar.


Who ARE these people?
The Source for Learning, TeachersFirst’s non-profit parent company, is the subject of a Discovery TV Profiles Series segment scheduled to air on Nov. 2nd at 7:00 am Eastern and Pacific. See who is behind TeachersFirst. Catch a sneak peek here, since most teachers are pretty busy at 7 am!


On the road...today!
Geo and Meri are on their way. Travel throughout North America via weekly episodes from now until late April. Your students in grades 2-6 will learn standards-aligned geography, map skills, landforms, and more by following Geo and Meri’s weekly blog. Vote to help the teens decide what to do next. If you have Google Earth, trace the Mission with the Google Earth files included with each episode. Globetracker’s Mission is available on the TeachersFirst home page, under “Ready to Go.”


TeachersFirst Best Find: My Start page
TeachersFirst members can see “recent additions” to TeachersFirst in their preferred subject(s)/grade(s) whenever they log in. Just click the “My start page” tab when you are logged in. This is just one of many timesaving features of TeachersFirst free membership. Join us!


Everyone’s Edge
The TeachersFirst Edge is for anyone who wants to make projects or accomplish a creative task at no cost and without special, expensive software. Are you looking for reviewed digital storytelling tools? Need an online tool to make presentations? An animation tool? A way to make “stickies” or a “wall”? Sort TeachersFirst Edge by category to save time.  Go to the Edge directly from our link on TeachersFirst home. Then click a tool category in the left sidebar to see reviewed tools for a specific purpose. Click “more” to read each full Edge review, including tips about school policies and any safety concerns. Roll your mouse over each of the Edge features to learn practical classroom tips for each. See the details by clicking the links. You will be amazed what you can learn by mousing over an Edge review! See the Edge level indicator icon of just how adventurous each tool is. Start where you are comfortable and get to know free web tools, thanks to the TeachersFirst Edge.


November opportunities
November is a great time to try an OK2Ask™ free, live, online "snack session" for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration work, accessible from any online computer. Register now for coming offerings and see the full OK2Ask™ schedule for this school year. OK2Ask™ is found under the TeachersFirst Professional tab.

*Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons
Monday, November 7, 2011 (two times)
(*an ideal session for tech trainers trying to lure reluctant teachers)

Hands Off, Vanna: Giving Students Control of Interactive Whiteboard Learning
Wednesday, November 16 (two times) This session was a very popular offering at ISTE 2011.


This Week's Poll
How will you manage students’ Halloween sugar high? Choose the trait you hope to see. Take the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


XW1W question for the week of October 23: How far do you travel to school/work?  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’s Featured Sites include varied and visual ways to learn:

  • Foldable molecules
  • Human body and health
  • Videos of obsolete objects
  • A super study aid
  • Finding great books
  • Goal setting
  • Math—viewed aesthetically
  • Regrouping via visual “manipulatives”

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

May your final week of October be lighted by cheerful jack-o-lanterns of learning.


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