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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

August is a transition when we long for a few more days of summer break, or a bit more time to prepare for the fresh faces of a new school year. TeachersFirst tries to give you extra help so you can steal a few more moments in the hammock or at the beach. Even if you are back in school already, we hope you can savor a bit more of summer’s fun—after school or on the weekends!


Fabulous firsts and firm foundations
First day? How about an icebreaker? First week? Be sure to include a “getting to know you” activity. If your bulletin boards are still empty, try TeachersFirst’s thought-provoking Bulletin Board Hang-ups. Then help parents and students get off on the right foot together by sharing Study Skills resources. This is the perfect link to share on your class web page or wiki! Invite parents to help build a firm foundation for the year.


Share and share alike
Every page on TeachersFirst has a small “Share” widget with multiple options for where you would like to share the contents of that TeachersFirst page. Share via Facebook, email, Diigo, Twitter, or Pinterest, among many more. Once you click “Share,” you will see the long list of choices. You can even send a single resource review to a teaching buddy. Give your friends the gift of great teaching ideas.


Read all about it
Share a positive look at Back to School in your elementary classroom with Back to School Read-alouds. Find great book suggestions and discussion ideas from an experienced library/media specialist.


Revved up
Rev yourself up for the new school year with new professional learning via OK2Ask®, our free, live, online professional development “snack sessions.” You will meet other teachers, gain some hands-on practice with new resources and teaching ideas, and have a chance to ASK anything. It’s OK2Ask®. These small sessions allow for plenty of individual help from the tech timid to the most savvy. Read the full descriptions and sign up to join us. Note that times vary!

Energizing Math: ideas, resources, and collaboration for K-8 math teachers; 
Tues August 14; 7:00 - 8:30 EDT

Google Docs(Drive): A focused workshop on forms and documents only; 
Thurs August 16; 6:00 - 8:00 EDT

Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons;
Tues August 21; 7:00 - 8:15 EDT

Web Worries: What teachers should know about online behavior; 
Thurs August 23; 7:00 - 8:15 EDT


Tech How and Why
Every teacher faces logistical challenges and questions at some point when using technology with our students. Find helpful tips from teachers in the trenches in our Tech How And Why pages. Terrific tutorials, ideas for school policies, and more will assure success in your tech-infused lessons.


Cool Collections
Explore TeachersFirst’s Special Topics collections for many important topics such as Constitution Day, Study Skills, September 11, Elections, as well as holidays and calendar events. There are seventy-nine special topics collections, and we keep adding more. Don’t miss our imaginative ice-breakers for the first day (or week) of school and Getting to Know You activities. If you fell behind reading email Updates this summer, you can catch up on all the archived Featured Sites, too.


Speed Check
Does your Internet connection at school seem slow or unable to access some sites? Your school Internet connection (“bandwidth”) may not be as strong as it needs to be to support today’s Internet. (This is a budget issue for many schools.) A group of edtech folks is trying to collect real data on the state of Internet connectivity in U.S. schools. Fill out a form to join the efforts for a quick September click-test of your school’s bandwidth. No geekiness required. This data collection will support your teaching efforts and provide ammunition for those seeking improved connections for underserved classrooms. Pass it on.


Do You YouTube?
Does your school network allow computers to access YouTube? Click your answer in the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W  for the week of August 12: How do you stay cool in HOT weather?
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 interactive ways to look at MANY topics:

  • The way things were—in photos
  • Excellent animations for science and more
  • Polyhedra!
  • A “bug” simulation
  • Photo tours in Google Maps
  • Endangered languages
  • History and social issues
  • Readers’ Theatre
  • Two video sites: Amazing numbers; safe videos for the very young
  • Sight word fun
  • Book recommendations

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

May summer’s pleasures sneak into your days or evenings a bit this week.


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