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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Normally when we think of Boston during April (Poetry Month), we might recall Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn” or Longfellow’s “Paul Revere’s Ride.” This past week has shifted our focus from literature and history to present day reality. As you talk about the frightening events that stole Patriot’s Day, remember that TeachersFirst offers resources to help students find meaning in current events, write about their concerns, or build historic perspective.


Monday is Earth Day
Pause for a little green with TeachersFirst’s Earth Day Resources (Editors’ Choices). Go Green in math, science, social studies, or reading with the great teaching ideas included in this collection.


Crunch time
Is spring fever sparking student study slip? Find great ideas and tools to build student study skills—and encourage self-directed learning—with TeachersFirst’s Study Skills resources. Keep the focus on learning during this last marking period of the year.


Building Structure
Structure a new learning experience with CurriConnects Book Lists. These lists offer books for students to read independently on over a dozen curriculum topics, including our newest, Bridges and Structures. Lists include interest levels and Lexile® levels (where available) so every student can find a book he/she can comfortably read. Build student literacy skills, reinforce curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. Many of the books are ideal informational texts for Common Core. The topics and reading levels range from primary through high school.


One Terrific Teenager
This month we celebrate our fifteenth birthday as a free service for teachers from The Source for Learning since 1998. Please give us a birthday pat on the back:

  • 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!) to add your 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


Day by day help
Help your entre class benefit from the work visits by having students explore and share career information from our collection of resources for Take Your Child to Work Day (April 25). Make the day “off” more than a holiday. Help families thrive during TV Turn-Off Week (April 28-May 4). Find resources for these and many more events on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. Tip: Cinco de Mayo is not far off!


Ask away
We welcome your questions in our final two OK2Ask® free, online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development before the end of the school year. Register now for the final two. Find times and descriptions to register. We will be posting the summer offerings in early May.

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


Poetry across the world?
Share your personal Poetry Month response with other people in other places via 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 21: How often do you read or hear poetry? 


Back to Phoenix
Geo and Meri have returned home to Phoenix from their seven continent trip on Globetracker’s Mission. Read the debrief and try the interactive review activities now available in the episode side menu.  Find even more review options in the Teacher episode. Did you miss an episode because of test season or spring break? Fear not! Use the rewind arrows at the top of the episode to go back and find out what happened. The Mission will remain online for recap until mid-June. Watch for a North American Globetracker’s Mission during 2013-14.


Have many of your students been diagnosed with ADHD? Share your response via the weekly teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find handy tools and improved approaches to curriculum must-haves:

  • Two angles on the Civil War
  • A frank look at processed foods
  • A classroom management marvel
  • Primary writing prompts—made by each student!
  • Times table practice
  • Music theory interactively
  • An in-depth web site readability tester
  • A new way to “publish” your blog posts
  • Science for elementary
  • A detailed dictionary tool

And MORE. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this April 28 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived April 21 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, like Boston, discover “A cry of defiance, and not of fear”* as they learn lessons both in and out of class this week.
(*Wonder where the quote comes from? Google it!)

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