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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

When we say March comes in like a lion, we are not asking for tornadoes, blizzards, or the frightening events of this past week. Over recent days, you probably have had many discussions about violent and frightening situations, including “what would you do?” These are times when we must listen and talk with our students -- and our colleagues -- for the health and wellbeing of all. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all dealing with the aftermath of the unexpected.


An apology
This past Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, TeachersFirst was “down” for several hours. A recent upgrade to our server location essentially sprang a “leak” in our “pipe” to/from the Internet. We know no apology can make up for the lesson you had planned to teach or the spare moments of your planning time that were lost. Please know that we are working hard to put fail-safe measures in place so you can always rely on TeachersFirst.


March in time
March is Women's History Month and Music in our Schools Month. It also brings Pi Day, the Ides of March, and St Patrick’s Day. Plan ahead with the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. Even secondary teachers will find timely resources to support curriculum.


Mining the Riches of History
Creating oral histories is a wonderful way for students to experience history first hand as they learn about primary sources, interviewing skills, and maybe some local or family history. This month’s installment in our Help! I lost my library/media specialist! series offers step by step ideas and resources for your students to become hands-on historians. TeachersFirst shares the expertise of an experienced library/media specialist to help if yours is no longer available.


Calling all TeachersFirst friends
TeachersFirst invites you to visit our new Facebook page, post a hello on our wall, and “like” the Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst. Why would a free web site have a Facebook page, you ask? Use this easy way to spread the word about TeachersFirst to others who may not know us. Tell your colleagues and teachers-to-be why you like TeachersFirst by posting your story on our wall. Help our free site earn some teacher-friendly publicity!  How many Thinking Teachers can post a like and hello during one week?


A penny, a dollar
March’s TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, is A Penny a Dollar.  Books this month include tales of the many ways money affects people. Promote family literacy via this collection of books and no-cost activities. Embedded in the book reviews and activity suggestions are discussion questions to promote effective reading strategies. Designed to include all age groups, each free, monthly TogetheRead offering centers on a common theme so everyone in the family can join in.


Ready or not, here they come
What should children be able to do before kindergarten? How much do K-12 teachers know about what happens before kindergarten? TeachersFirst’s non-profit parent company, The Source for Learning, Inc., is collaborating with the National Head Start Association on a School Readiness Summit. We need opinions from educators at all levels about school readiness. Share your thoughts by responding to this survey prior to March 20.


Speaking of kindergarten
If you teach preK or have students who are at a preK level, you probably look through TeachersFirst’s reviewed kindergarten resources to find options for your students. We have recently added a preK tag to our resource database to locate resources suitable for preK. Click the preK tag at the end of a review to find even more.


Homework How?
Where do you post homework for students? Click your thoughts on the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Meet me in St. Louis, Louie?
Geo and Meri are along the Mississippi this week on Globetracker’s Mission. As they search St. Louis for Louie, your students learn standards-based map skills, geography and more.  Follow Globetracker’s Mission and vote to tell Geo and Meri what to do next.


OK2Ask®: thinking snack sessions
Meet up with other thinking teachers in free, live OK2Ask® sessions. THIS WEEK join Great Ideas to learn about the FREE “riches” within TeachersFirst. Later in March, try a pair of our editors’ current favorite tools. In April, our newest session features wisdom to erase web worries. Don’t miss these upcoming OK2Ask® sessions: free, online teacher professional development “snack sessions”  you attend from the comfort of your own computer. Check out the full OK2Ask® schedule for remaining months of the school year. We will announce our summer OK2Ask® schedule in May.

Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Thursday, March 8, 2012 at two times; Read the details and register. There is usually standby room if you show up ON TIME for either session. Bring a friend!

Editors’ Choices from the TeachersFirst Edge: TeachersFirst Editors’ Top Picks; Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at two times; Read the details and register

Web Worries: What teachers should know about online behavior; 
Thursday, April 12, 2012 at two times; Read the details and register


Overnight surprises?
TeachersFirst reviews sites that are free or that have a significant free area, useful for teachers and students. All our reviewed resources were free at the time of review. Sometimes sites change their terms overnight, however. Use your (free) TeachersFirst membership to post a comment on any review that has changed its once-free terms, and we will correct or remove our review. TeachersFirst is committed to be free and ad-free for teachers. No sudden changes here. We promise. Read about how we remain free and how you can say, “Thank you.”


Around the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W  for the week of Mar 4: How do you use the extra daylight from daylight saving? 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 simple tools, useful practice, and food for thought:

  • Science podcasts
  • Two looks at data about U.S. locations and people
  • A perfect password maker
  • Tools for video and photomontages/magazine covers
  • Rubrics!
  • Great activities for the very young
  • A pictograph maker
  • Egypt!
  • A teacher thank you

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

May your class feel safe, sound, and secure enough to learn this week. Your listening ear will make it so.


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