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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Stretch! January is the time to plan longer units and projects during an uninterrupted stretch of school (unless you have snow...). It is also a great time to stretch beyond the usual routines and move up a level. Warm up your mental muscles despite the cold with TeachersFirst.


Abe at his best
The new Lincoln movie is just one of many offerings that honor the sesquicentennial of the Civil War years. TeachersFirst will feature new offerings throughout 2013 to help students learn more about this challenging time for the United States and about the accomplishments of Lincoln in the face of those challenges. Our exclusive Lesson Ideas for Lincoln offer ideas to incorporate Lincoln lessons in many subject areas. Most include links to appropriate web resources to use as part of the lesson.


Get organized
Make this the year you succeed with your resolution to be better organized. Try some of the handy organization tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. Why not make it a class resolution and share selected tools with your students ( and their parents) to start the year on the right foot? Organization is just one of the many tool categories in the TeachersFirst Edge, our collection of free, teacher-reviewed web-based tools (for both teachers and students) for creating and accomplishing tasks. Find specific finds to help students improve time management during the New Year, try searching the phrase time management.


Picturing life across the world
Start 2013 with learning for today. Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) takes just a moment or two of class time to help students get a peak into 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 January 6: Where do you sit to do homework at home? 


MLK, an inauguration, and more
January has more than just a New Year to celebrate. Start planning now for service projects and events to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Help students learn about the quadrennial event in the U.S., the presidential inauguration (formal swearing in Jan 20 with public celebrations Jan 21). Look ahead to the 100th day of school. Find resources for these events and more on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Family literacy for winter
This month’s theme from TogetheRead is Survival. TogetheRead, a family literacy offering from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, includes book selections for all ages and free/low cost activities to promote successful reading strategies and family fun. Read books around a central theme so you can talk about them and have some family fun during long winter evenings! Be sure to tell your class parents about this free offering. Read complete teacher/librarian information here and sign up for reading list previews.


Common Core part 2
As you move to implement Common Core in your elementary classroom, don’t miss helpful information and resources in Common Core Part 2: Moving Forward with Informational Text. Written by an experience library/media specialist about reading and writing informational texts, this article is our second in the series to help you sort out Common Core. Speaking of Common Core, see a related post on Think Like a Teacher, the TeachersFirst editor’s blog.


A LIVELY time to learn
The dead of winter comes alive with Ok2Ask®. This is the perfect time to learn what YOU want to know. Registration is now open for OK2Ask® FREE learning opportunities during January and February.  Registration for later months will open about 60 days in advance. Join other teachers in live, friendly, online sessions for self-directed professional development. Check for times and descriptions to register NOW:

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

Google Goodies! Hidden Treasures and Teacher Favorites 
Thursday February 7, 2013

Light up Literacy: PreK-3 Reading/Language Arts Ideas and Resources 
Monday February 11, 2013

Wiki Workshop: An Open Help and Collaboration Session (Extended Time Session); Monday February 25, 2013


Understanding money
As a new year begins, we continue to hear about economic issues and forecasts for change. Help your students make sense of it all with TeachersFirst's Understanding Economics and Money: TeachersFirst Editors' Choices. Many adults could learn from these, too!


Geo and Meri are in Oceania. Will they ever find Dewey on Globetracker’s Mission? Students in grades 2-6 learn geography, map skills, landforms, and more from Globetracker’s Mission, Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page. If you missed an episode, you can always “rewind” to catch up.


Dollars and sense
How much of your own money did you spend on materials for school in 2012?
Tell us your estimate by responding to the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find resources from the basics to the sophisticated:

  • A trio of site for young ones
  • Chemistry and math equation finder
  • A periodic table interactive with useful features
  • A murder mystery with a twist
  • Science anyone can understand
  • Unused words to stretch your vocabulary
  • Interactive maps
  • Poverty and policy
  • Create a storyboard
  • Chinks in your logic

And more. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this January 13 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived January 6 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 stretch beyond expectations this week.

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