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October 28, 2013

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

There’s nothing like a Thursday Halloween to turn Friday into a sugar-filled teaching challenge. Even the high schoolers are full of tricks and treats. No test or pop-quiz can sharpen the glazed eyes or quiet the wrappers surreptitiously crinkled beneath desks. Take a deep breath and remember how much you enjoyed being someone or something else for one night. Then let TeachersFirst serve up some engaging alternatives for the sugar-eaters. (Do they really think we don’t hear the wrappers?)


Haunting treat
Halloween is a favorite time for Poe’s “The Raven.” TeachersFirst’s Interactive Raven makes poetry hauntingly engaging as students learn about literary devices while they click and read. Yes, the Interactive Raven is mobile-device friendly! Share it with your students and colleagues. This no-calorie “treat” is one of our most popular resources.


Mission launched!
Government shutdown not withstanding, Geo and Meri are on their way! Follow the intrepid teens on this year’s Globetracker’s Mission as they help their Uncle GT, an “essential” government employee in need of some savvy teens for a special mission. The preview episode for 2013-14 has been online, and today the two blogging teens depart, sending out their first post of the Mission. You can even follow @geoandmeri on Twitter! New weekly episodes will appear every Sunday until April, teaching geography, landforms, and major U.S. landmarks throughout this year’s North American mission. Your students in grades 2-6 can vote each week, telling the teens what to do next. Miss an episode? Fear not! You can always “rewind” to see previous posts using the <<episode link at the top. Don’t miss Teacher suggestions, Lesson Ideas, and more to help your students enjoy and learn.


Making connections
Connected Educators Month (CEM) has just a few days remaining, but opportunities to connect and grow will continue long after the month is over. TeachersFirst is one of the organizations sharing “connections,” including our OK2Ask offerings throughout the year to keep you connected with best practices, great resources, and a community of educators from across the country and around the world. CEM offers a shared calendar of events, several themes, and lots more. Check out the site for ongoing chances to “connect.” Tell them TeachersFirst sent you!


Fast forward to learning
We are in the midst of Red Ribbon Week (Oct 23-31). Many are celebrating Halloween and Fall Festivals. Soon it will be November, Native American Heritage Month. It’s time NOW to plan for Veterans’ Day observances. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for date-related learning, handy any time. Take a moment to fast forward ahead a few months as you plan for 2014.


Learn before the holiday rush!
Our remaining OK2Ask® offerings for 2013 end before Thanksgiving because we know you will be “wrapped up” in other things during the holiday season. TeachersFirst’s FREE, LIVE online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development, are practical and friendly opportunities for YOU to learn. Register NOW for the upcoming sessions. We will open for registration toward the end of 2013 for our winter sessions. Read more about OK2Ask and plan to attend these upcoming sessions (all 7:00-8:15 pm Eastern time, and remember that Daylight Saving ends November 3!):

  • Common Core Literacy Ideas (Grades K-8); Monday, Oct 28 (limited space)
  • Intro to the NEW Wikispaces Classroom; Monday, Nov 11
  • Google 6-Part Series (Part 2): Google Search Secrets; Tuesday, Nov 19


All Hallows' what?
American kids assume everyone goes trick or treating. Surpirse them to learn that Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve is not the same everywhere. The XW1W question for the week of October 27: How do you observe Halloween? Or do you? Help your students experience everyday life in far off places through #XW1W. Share 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. Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ.


Trick, treat, or consequences?
What do you do when you see Halloween candy in class? Share your consequences in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


From the Edge into the DDDeep
The TeachersFirst Edge reviews free, web-based tools to make learning more engaging, more effective, and more in-depth. If the free web tools have a FREE mobile app to match, we tell you. Find the tool categories listed alphabetically at the left, including three DDDs to go deep: Digital Storytelling, Downloads, and Drawing/Whiteboards.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find seasonal and timeless offerings:

  • Two skeletal finds
  • Fossils
  • Informational articles for YOUR level
  • Handy teacher wishlists and supply lists
  • JFK teaching resources
  • Nasty weather!
  • Food sourcing
  • Tools to create and annotate videos
  • Common Core planning
  • New languages
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this November 3 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived October 27 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

Wrap up something meaningful this week, and maybe share a scary tale of your youth!

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