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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

We wrap up many things in December: the year, our teaching units, and of course gifts. Let TeachersFirst be the one thing you leave open as you scurry around this month.


Festival of Lights
It’s Hanukkah! Light a gift of learning each day this week. Find ideas for Hanukkah among TeachersFirst's Hanukkah Resources.


Boy oh boys!
Boys read differently and for different reasons. Learn more and find ways to excite elementary aged boys about reading in Hook the Boys on Reading! This article includes readaloud books and activities for before and after reading. You will want to share some of these suggestions for book gifts with parents of the boys to build the long lasting gift of reading.


Donate for FREE
As you give so much to everyone, please don’t forget TeachersFirst. You can make a donation for FREE simply by shopping via the link at the bottom of our Reading for All page. Enter and make your purchase during your visit via that link. TeachersFirst earns a percentage of the sales completed though this point of entry. Help support our free, ad-free service to teachers.


A century plus
The 109th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ historic flight is Dec 17. Remind your students of the importance of design/creative thinking by sharing TeachersFirst's Resources: Man Soars Into Flight and the many lesson ideas included in the reviews. You might even find ideas to keep them busy during break after they have torn off all the wrapping paper.


Who is on your gift list?
If you need ideas to create free, meaningful gifts don’t miss Special Occasion Ideas for the Classroom: TeachersFirst Editors' Choices. This collection of reviewed tools has dozens of ideas for you (or your students) to create, write, and learn at the same time). Don’t forget the helpful school personnel who make your life better. Why not send a class creation to the school secretary or cafeteria workers? ‘Tis the season!


Seasonal Favorites
TeachersFirst’s Christmas Resources are consistently among our popular offerings, including lessons for a Victorian Christmas. Find timely ideas for learning all year round on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


The world wrapped for you
Help your students experience 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 December 9: In what do you wrap gifts? 


The meaning of the season
TeachersFirst’s Giving Tree lesson is an all time favorite. Students from kindergarten to high school respond to the message of this Shel Silverstein classic. What would your students like to give/receive? Plant the seeds of generosity with in your class with The Giving Tree.


OK2Ask® 2013 awaits you
Sneak a peek at January and what you can do during cold, dark evenings besides pay holiday bills. OK2Ask is FREE! Registration is now open for January and February sessions. View the full schedule and mark your calendar. OK2Ask online sessions for self-directed teacher professional development resume just after the New Year. Check for times and descriptions to register. Here are the January offerings:

New Years—New Ideas! Professional Resources to Make Your Life Easier, Communication Tools, Classroom Ideas, Sharing Time, and more; Thursday January 10

Google Docs/Drive:  A Focused Workshop on Docs and Forms Only (Extended Time Session); Monday January 14

Energizing Math: Ideas, Resources, and Collaboration for K-8 Math Teachers; Thursday January 24, 2013


Geo and Meri salad?
Geo and Meri are in a “salad bowl” this week. Read their blog to find out what this means. Soon they head to another continent on the worldwide Globetracker’s Mission, Mission followers 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. Share the teen’s blog as a whole class activity or at a computer center. A new episode appears every Sunday. (There will be a holiday hiatus later in December so your class will not miss a thing over break.)


Ho Ho Hoping for ?
Which gift would you appreciate most? Tell Teacher Santa what you would like him to bring by responding to the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, discover

  • Facebook- ish profiles for learning
  • Clickable current events
  • eBooks and Book Trailers
  • Your own books—shared online!
  • Touchable triangles
  • Culture explanations with a humorous twist
  • Data to do what you wish
  • Healthy eating (in time for the holidays!)
  • Knowing what you are clicking

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this December 16 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived December 9 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you discover the light of open minds this week.

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