TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List


Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Harvest season brings plentiful treasures. This fall has also surprised us with a bumper crop of terrific, reviewed web resources in TeachersFirst’s baskets. We simply cannot feature all the great finds. Be sure to share in the harvest by checking out both Featured Sites and Recent Additions during this season of plenty. If you are a  TeachersFirst member, be sure to click the “My Start Page” tab to see the latest in your areas of interest.


TeachersFirst Best Find: Winners!
TeachersFirst loves to share good lesson ideas. As a TeachersFirst member, you can comment on any TeachersFirst resource to share your lesson ideas for using the resource with your students. Over the years, other Thinking Teachers have shared great lesson plans, including our recently updated Winning Lesson Plan sampler. Find teaching inspiration and pragmatic tips in this sampling of standards-aligned plans across many subjects from elementary to high school. Want more? Don’t miss many TeachersFirst Exclusive lesson and unit plans


Catch a Dream
TeachersFirst’s Native American Crafts Unit includes directions for making a dream catcher, just in time for Native American Heritage month throughout November. Give context to Thanksgiving this year by incorporating a full month of cultural and historic activities.


History from square one
The theme for National History Day 2012 is “Revolution, Reaction, Reform in History.” Whether you are a History Day regular or simply teach about primary sources and research, TeachersFirst’s collection of National History Day resources is the perfect first stop. If you assign local history research projects or help students in the library/media center, these reviewed resources will inspire you and your students to learn, explore, and build great projects. Pass it on!


No teacher left out
TeachersFirst has resources for Native American Heritage Month, Election Day, and Veterans Day. Even secondary teachers will find useful resources for upper level classes among the many collections in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.  Click front and center on the TeachersFirst home page for teacher time savers for any level or subject.


Where do Thinking Teachers come from?
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 of us are pretty busy at 7 am!


Follow Geo and Meri
Geo and Meri are on their way. Travel throughout North America and learn with your students in grades 2-6 on Globetracker’s Mission from now until April. Follow Geo and Meri’s tweets throughout each week for their latest updates. Not familiar with Twitter for teachers? Learn more here. Vote to help the teens decide what to do next. Globetracker’s Mission is always “Ready to Go” in the lower center of the TeachersFirst home page.


TeachersFirst Best Find: home page “pods”
Busy teachers can access the most popular areas of TeachersFirst directly from our home page. Each “pod” has one to four pages to click quickly through to the latest News and Updates, Featured Sites, Edge reviews,  “Ready to Go” offerings (like Globetracker’s Mission, The Raven, Brain Twister, and Dates That Matter), and more. Don’t miss these handy shortcuts to your favorite teaching resources! The TeachersFirst home page pods are just one of many timesaving features of TeachersFirst 3.0. Join us!


Everyone’s Edge
The TeachersFirst Edge is for any teacher or student who wants to make projects or accomplish a creative task at no cost and without special, expensive software. 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. You will be amazed what you can learn by mousing over an Edge review!

Are you looking for reviewed digital storytelling tools? A way to make “stickies” or a “wall”? Sort TeachersFirst Edge by category to save time.  Go to the Edge directly from the link on our home page. Narrow to a specific tool category in the left sidebar. 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.


November OK2Ask
November brings a chill—and a warm welcome from OK2Ask™, our free, live, online "snack sessions" for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. These sessions are 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
Which outcome do you hope for most when first report cards go home? Choose the trait you hope to see. Take the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


XW1W question for the week of October 30: What changes for you in winter?  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 are a special collection of cool tools to organize, study, create, or explore:

  • Two terrific sites on the environment
  • Homework help
  • A test and quiz maker
  • Music based on web page code!
  • Animation
  • Custom made, personalized newspapers
  • Portfolios
  • A safe class social network
  • A tool for arguing

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


May your class harvest some surprising discoveries this week.

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