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September 30, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Pumpkins, hayrides, homecoming. It’s the season for festivals and harvests. Sometimes the challenge of a bountiful harvest is deciding which things to cook up first. TeachersFirst helps you sort through the bushels of plenty to find the best of the crop.


Relax, snack, learn
Looking for a relaxing way to learn among teacher peers? Try OK2Ask®, TeachersFirst’s FREE, LIVE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development. The full schedule in pdf format for the year is planned, and you can register NOW for Sept-November sessions. Winter and spring offerings will open for registration closer to those dates. Read more about OK2Ask and plan to attend these sessions coming soon (all 7:00-8:15 pm EDT):

  • Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst 3.0 to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Monday, October 7
  • Google 6-Part Series (Part 1): The Top View of Google; Tuesday, October 15
  • Common Core Literacy Ideas (Grades K-8); Monday, October 28


The popular ones
TeachersFirst’s traffic tells the tale. Consistently in our top 50 most popular pages is our Writer’s Workshop for grades K-6. Have you found it yet? Hint: see the TeachersFirst Exclusives menu for this and dozens of other TF Professional Exclusives, including archived recordings of past OK2Ask® sessions, articles on Common Core, and the ever popular Wiki Walk-through. October is peak season for our most popular “Ready to go” offering: The Interactive Raven. Why not hang out with the popular ones this month?


Sneak peek to plan ahead
If you teach social studies (or gifted) in grades 2-6, take time this week to check out Globetracker’s Mission. The preview episode is online for the next several weeks, along with teacher information, standards, and lesson ideas for using the mission. Take your students on a journey throughout North America. New weekly episodes will show on Sundays, starting October 27. Your votes determine what teen bloggers Geo and Meri do next. This engaging “blog” teaches map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and more as you follow the teens’ adventures. Accompanying Google Earth files let you “see” the Mission unfold. For extra fun, set your class account to follow Geo and Meri on Twitter!


Timely, trusted
National Fire Prevention Week is October 6-12. National Hispanic Heritage Month continues from September 15 until October 15. October is Bullying Prevention Month and International Dinosaur Month. Find vetted resources for monthly, weekly, or daily observances throughout the school year on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. Even secondary teachers will find timely, trusted offerings you can use NOW.


Colonists and revolutionaries
Our newest CurriConnects list is now available: Books about the Colonial America and the Revolution.  Encourage student independent (and often informational) reading to support what they are learning in class. CurriConnects thematic book lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles® to match student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. With the Common Core emphasis on informational texts, what better way to build literacy in social studies!


The middle
Middle school can be as funny as a sitcom or as frustrating as teaching beside a circus. If you are new to middle school—or work with a teacher who is—be sure to check the ideas in Middle School Do’s and Don’ts. Are you expecting a student teacher in your middle school classroom next semester? Send him/her this link ahead of time!


Learning far and near
Learn about people and places close by and far outside your students’ experience. Share details of everyday life where you live with classrooms around the world. The Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project uses simple tweets or blog posts to share the responses to a weekly question and help you “see” what life is like in other places.It all works because of something called a hashtag. It’s easy! Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ. XW1W question for the week of September 29: What is the farthest you have traveled from home? 


Teacher time
We know teachers spend more time on work than most others imagine. How many hours/week do you spend on schoolwork outside of school? Share your response in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find new angles on familiar curriculum

  • Historic artifacts
  • Angles in golf
  • Energy explained
  • Common Core math
  • Faces and feelings
  • Financial literacy
  • Healthy eating (in time for Hallowe’en?)
  • Looking at fonts
  • Instant blogs
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this October 6 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived September 29 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May each of your students discover something tempting amid the plentiful harvest of learning you offer this week.

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