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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

If you have found time to read this, you are probably sneaking a moment between several other things on your “list.”  Let TeachersFirst save you time. Use your free membership to mark favorites on the fly to use in your classes now and later.


The best tree ever
TeachersFirst’s Giving Tree lesson is an all time favorite all over the world. Even seniors in high school respond to this lesson, and it can fit in any subject classroom. Whether you teach Santa-believers or teen skeptics, they all respond to The Giving Tree. With recent devastation from Superstorm Sandy in the U.S., it would be easy to tie this lesson to current events as you talk about those in need. You even have time to launch a service project. Plan now to plant The Giving Tree in your classes.


Pin us!
If you look carefully at the Share widget on TeachersFirst pages, you will notice that you can now share TeachersFirst pages and resources via Pinterest with one click. Pin us to your boards and see what others have pinned from TeachersFirst.


Shop and drop
Shop and “drop” a donation our way—at no cost to you!  You can support TeachersFirst simply by doing your usual shopping at Amazon. Enter the Amazon site via the link at the bottom of our Reading for All page and make your purchase during that visit. TeachersFirst earns a percentage of the profits from the sales using this entry point. Help us continue our free, ad-free service to teachers. Our non-profit parent company, The Source for Learning, appreciates your urge to shop ‘til you drop.


Not every Friday is "black" Friday
Throughout November, our Editor’s blog, Think Like a Teacher, is featuring weekly posts about things for which teachers can be thankful, especially this Thinking Teacher. We welcome your comments!


Hello out there?
We are aware that some schools have ratcheted up their email spam filters and are preventing this weekly Update from getting through to teacher inboxes. If you are receiving this Update, you might want to add this email address in your address book to prevent the TeachersFirst Update from being blocked in the future: teachersfirst@sflinc.org. Note that this is an UNATTENDED mailbox, so do send email to us there. The Contact Us page on our site is best for that.


History that matters
Kids often learn factoids about “this day in history,” but they rarely make connections about why these events matter. Without a connection, each factoid is simply a long-gone event. Explore Dates That Matter and its question prompts to connect with context for today’s event. Dates That Matter is mobile-friendly and always available front and center under “Ready to Go” on the TeachersFirst home page. Make every day a date that matters.


Gifts of learning
As Thanksgiving passes, the holiday season is in full swing. December brings many opportunities to connect with learning: Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ flight, and opportunities to create gifts for others. If the weather turns nasty, find Resources for Snow Days. Find resources for December learning in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


You can see the world!
Help your students to see beyond their own small world into life in other places. Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) offers an easy way to spend just a moment or two of class time to help students think about everyday life in other corners of the world. Share responses about life where you live and learn about others with Across the World Once a Week (XW1W). This quick activity uses microblogging and something called a hashtag. It’s easy! Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ. Tell your teacher friends!
XW1W for the week of November 25: Do you celebrate birthdays? How? 


Do you LIVE science?
This fall, TeachersFirst has been piloting an amazing project for middle level science: MySciLife. During the second half of the school year, we may be adding a limited number of teachers to the pilot. If you are a science teacher in grades 6-9 who might be interested or simply are curious about what innovative, student-centered science learning looks like, check out the video introductions for students/parents and for teachers on the MySciLife page. Some of you may recognize MySciLife as the project that achieved finalist status in the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning grant competition.



OK2Ask® Holiday Hiatus
This time of year, your afterschool “to do” list is completely full with holiday preparations on top of your usual schoolwork. That is why we take a December hiatus in our OK2Ask® schedule. We resume these free, online sessions for self-directed teacher professional development after the New Year. Look forward to a self-indulgent learning treat for yourself in January with OK2Ask in 2013. Registration opens December 1, and you can preview the full schedule through May, 2013 now.


Another continent
Geo and Meri are in Africa this week. The two teens continue their worldwide Globetracker’s Mission as readers choose what happens next. Readers in grades 2-6 learn geography, map skills, landforms, and more. Globetracker’s Mission is Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page. Fire up your projector to share the teens’ blog. A new episode appears every Sunday. (There will be a holiday hiatus to coincide with school breaks in December so your class can stay caught up.)


Common or not so?
How "common" is discussion about the Common Core in your school? Respond to the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, discover professional resources and some different finds:

  • Two research helpers
  • Foolproof homework
  • Tools for portfolios and instant student responses
  • Two landmark times in U.S. history
  • Video for “time travel”
  • Common Core math
  • Common Core lesson plan correlations
  • Savings for kids

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this December 2 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived November 25 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


Take a deep breath and enjoy the final stretch of 2012.


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