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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Millions can’t be wrong. During the 2011-2012 school year, TeachersFirst’s Interactive Raven received over two million page views. It is gratifying to know that teachers and students from so many places are benefiting from this free “gift.” As we are being bombarded by campaign ads, debates, pundits, and polls, remember that learners vote with their feet. They go where the learning is, and TeachersFirst tries to greet them with the perfect platform. If you use the Interactive Raven—or any other favorite area on TeachersFirst, we hope you will share it via Twitter, Facebook, email, or good old-fashioned conversation. Your “vote” for learning will show in our traffic stats.


Read and connect
Class time for elementary science and social studies competes with the many Common Core requirements for ELA and math.  Secondary teachers need ways to incorporate complex texts across the curriculum. Now you can support curriculum—and build reading skills—with CurriConnects for independent reading. We have just added three new CurriConnects themes: Immigrants and Immigration, Civil War and Slavery, and The Way Things Work.  Find book lists complete with interest levels, Lexiles® and  ISBN numbers so you and your students can find them in the school or public library, You can even request them on interlibrary loan. We even provide ESL levels so all students can read successfully. See ideas for using CurriConnects from K-12 without spending precious class time. Hook your students on reading with books at their level in support of the curriculum you are teaching.


Week by week
October seems to be the month to observe special “weeks.” Don’t forget Earth Science Week this week or Red Ribbon Week coming up Oct 23-31. Elementary schools are celebrating Fall Festivals. Die hard sports fans are enjoying the baseball playoffs and looking forward to the World Series. Find resources to connect curriculum to these and other upcoming occasions from the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Class, start your pencils (or word processors)
Inspire writing with terrific writing prompts. Find visual, thought-provoking, and creative options to inspire student writing not only in language arts/English classes but also in social studies or even science. TeachersFirst’s reviewed Resources for Writing Prompts have something to inspire even the most reluctant writer.


Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W for the week of October 14: How convenient is it for adults in your household to vote? Share the details of life where you live and learn about others with Across the World Once a Week (XW1W). This quick activity 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 with just a moment or two of class time.


Teacher educators
If you are a teacher educator and an avid TeachersFirst fan, would you consider lending your expertise (very limited time required)? We are looking to fill a vacancy on our Educator Advisory Board. If you are interested, please contact us via our webmaster account, subject line “advisory board.”


A snack with purpose
Treat yourself to OK2Ask®: free, online professional development “snack sessions” to learn and discover new teaching ideas. Sessions always include hands-on time and supportive Q/A for your teaching challenges. Discover resources you can use tomorrow. If you work with teachers to help them use technology, be sure to tell them about TeachersFirst’s GIFT of OK2Ask. Tech specialists, ITRTs, integration specialists, or “coaches” by ANY name should join our first coach- sharing session coming in November! See the full schedule from now through May, 2013. Professional development certificates are available for those who participate fully. Register now for these sessions (all at 7:00-8:15 pm Eastern time):

Google Earth: Take Your Lessons INTO This World; Monday October 22

Inspiring and Implementing: Sharing and Solutions for Technology Coaches/trainers; Thursday November 8

Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Thursday November 15


North America and beyond
Geo and Meri spent the last week in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska as they continue on Globetracker’s Mission. They move to new destinations in North America this week. Who knows how long they will remain on this continent as they search for Dewey, the truth-sniffing dog. Weekly episodes change on Sundays and include a Google Earth file to trace the teens’ path across seven continents from now until the end of April. If you missed the first episodes, rewind using the <<episode arrows at the top. This Ready to Go content is always available bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page. Fire up your projector for geography, map skills, landforms, and more with your students in grades 2-6. You can even follow @geoandmeri on Twitter or see their tweets in the sidebar of their blog.


Just weeks to go
There are only a few weeks left to connect your curriculum with the upcoming U.S. elections using TeachersFirst’s  Resources for Elections (Editor’s Choices). This collection includes both current and historic election resources so your students can learn, interact, and compare. Many of our reviews include classroom ideas beyond social studies/government class. Take advantage of the current events to bring learning to life.


One teacher, one vote
Which will influence your vote for president the MOST?
Choose from the options in the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find

  • Body systems in 3D and medicine resources
  • Web page creation made easy
  • Easy slideshows from your photos
  • PDF forms - editable!
  • New quotes for number sense
  • Math practice and interactives for the very young
  • Elections!
  • A sensational science author site
  • Virtual field trips on the Underground Railroad

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this October 21 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived October 14 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May your students score a landslide vote for learning this week.


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