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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

All of a sudden, it’s spring. There are track meets, spring breezes, and glazed eyes of students as they look out the window. We are all rushing to finish what needs to be done before June while looking ahead to what we will improve “next year.” TeachersFirst promises to help with spring challenges and ideas for years to come.


Happy birthday to us!
TeachersFirst is in our mid-teens! This month we celebrate our 15th birthday as a free service for teachers from The Source for Learning since 1998. Everybody appreciates a little birthday recognition. Our birthday wishlist (since virtual cake has not been invented):

  • Share TeachersFirst with a friend via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Use the handy “Share” widget at middle left on our home page.
  • Post or tweet about TeachersFirstwherever you go to share the good stuff
  • Join TeachersFirst (free!) and add some comments and ratings on our rich resource reviews
  • Drop us a message via our webmaster account. We especially appreciate stories of how we have made a difference for your students


April showers
April showers us with special events and learning opportunities.  It’s Poetry Month (and no, poetry isn’t just for English class). It is also Autism Awareness Month. Plan ahead for late April events: Earth Day (April 22), Take Your Child to Work Day (April 25), and TV Turn-Off Week (April 28-May 4). See these and many more events on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Coping with bullying
Bullying and cyberbullying continue to plague our schools, our classrooms, and our students’ lives. As play moves outside in spring and social networking heats up for prom season, this is the perfect time to refocus on this issue. Find resources to help at TeachersFirst's Bullying and Cyberbullying Prevention Resources.


Projects and projects and projects
Spring is project season. As you begin those culminating projects, remember to stop and talk about ethical use of digital resources. TeachersFirst’s Copyright and Fair Use Resources include ways to understand copyright and Fair Use as well as places to find copyright-safe images and more. Make this the year that you face this issue head on and show students and parents how to give proper credit, even in young students’ projects.


Opinion piece
Find strategies to address Common Core in For the Sake of Argument: Another Common Core Shift, the latest in our series of articles about addressing Common Core in elementary, written by an experienced library/media specialist. March into Common Core where writing and reading become hand-in-hand partners.


Teacher evaluations
Are you currently mentoring a student teacher? A project at University of Connecticut is looking for cooperating teachers to participate in a study to develop better tools to evaluate student teacher performance. (The project ultimately aims to develop better teacher evaluation tools in general.) Participation will take about two hours of your time, for which you will be compensated. To learn more visit http://gas.uconn.edu/  or contact uconnscaling@gmail.com.


Spring and summer
A few opportunities remain this school year to join OK2Ask® free, online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development. Register now for April and May. Find times and descriptions to register. We will be posting the summer offerings in early May.

Now I See! Infographics as content scaffold and creative, formative assessment, even if you don’t think visually; Tuesday, April 9

One to One: Ideas and Tips for Teaching in a 1:1 Classroom; Monday April 29

Ready, Set, Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments” - Monday May 6


Miles and miles
Share about your carbon footprint with people in other places with Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w). Your responses about life where you live help others learn—and vice versa. This quick activity uses microblogging and something called a hashtag. It’s easy! Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ. XW1W for the week of April 7: How many miles do you ride or drive in a car each week? 


Down under
Geo and Meri are headed down under and on to Antarctica. Join them as they learn about Palmer Station on Globetracker’s Mission. Follow their adventure with your students as they wrap up the final weeks—and plot twists—of Globetracker’s Mission, Ready to Go any time at bottom center on the TeachersFirst home page.


Poetry time?
Do you recognize Poetry Month in your classes? Share your response via the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find resources to learn basics, things old, and things new (and some handy tools):

  • Ancient artifacts in 3D
  • Living history and women’s history
  • A word search creator and a handy chart site
  • A sophisticated look at environmental impact
  • The human mind
  • Practice with STEM concepts
  • Cybersafety and digital citizenship
  • Financial literacy from very young to teen
  • A cool map tool
  • Create your own MOOC (what is THAT?!)

And MORE. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this April 14 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived April 7 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

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