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January 5, 2104

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Eat healthy, get some exercise, and continue learning so my students can learn more. These are often teachers’ New Year’s resolutions. TeachersFirst can help you go from saying to doing. Sign up for an OK2Ask session, explore the Featured Sites, try clicking on tags in reviews, or simply spend some time looking at the offerings in the Professional or TeachersFirst Exclusives menus. Everything TeachersFirst offers is a healthy chance to exercise your brain!


Take TeachersFirst with you
Did you know that TeachersFirst is a device-agnostic tool? Open TeachersFirst on your tablet or smartphone. Our site senses if you are on a small screen and serves you our mobile version so you can search and browse teaching resources while you wait in line or sit through your kids’ sports practice. You will also see a warning if a reviewed site requires Flash (and therefore may not work on iOS devices). Make TeachersFirst even easier to find on your mobile device. Open the site in the web browser and click on the “send” icon, choosing “make a shortcut on your homescreen.” You will now see the small puzzle piece logo, ready for you any time!


Let it Snow
Expecting bad weather? Plan ahead by adding some Snow Day Resources to your class web page for those inevitable school closures. This page includes ideas for both online collaboration and snow-related learning. Looking ahead, the 100th Day of School occurs for most in late January or early February. Of course you’ll want to connect your curriculum to the Sochi Olympics beginning in early February. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar for a blizzard of timely teaching ideas.


Planning for MLK
It’s time to plan for Martin Luther King Day (Jan 20). Find loads of resources and lesson ideas for all levels in TeachersFirst’s Resources for Martin Luther King, Jr, including TeachersFirst exclusive lesson plans about MLK and about overcoming obstacles. Last week’s Featured Sites included a trio of Mandela resources to complement discussions about civil rights and MLK. Perhaps your school would like to involve everyone in a service project to honor MLK.


Time for YOU to learn
If you have been promising yourself a chance to really explore TeachersFirst, THIS MONDAY, Jan 6 is the OK2Ask® session for you (just sign up and show up)! OK2Ask® sessions provide free, online professional development “snack sessions” for teachers everywhere. Register NOW for all sessions during January and February (all at 7:00pm Eastern time). Please be sure to READ the descriptions to be sure you have the prerequisites (if any) and/or technology comfort levels:

  • Great Timesavers; Mon. Jan 6, 2014
  • Sharing and Solutions for Technology Coaches; Thurs. Jan 16, 2014
  • Google Series (Part 3): Google for Every Classroom Tues. Jan. 21, 2014
  • Building Ethical Digital Citizens; Thurs. Jan. 30, 2014
  • Be the Best: Professional Resources; Thurs. Feb. 6, 2014
  • Google Series (Part 4): Using Google Templates; Tues. Feb 18, 2014
  • Juggling the BYOD or 1:1 Classroom; Mon. Feb 24, 2014


Rushing about
Geo and Meri are traveling again, this week to Mt Rushmore! They are still trying to locate Louie, the focus of this year’s Globetracker’s Mission. If you missed an installment during break, simply “rewind” using the <<episode link at the top. The teens share new blog posts every Sunday so your students (grades 2-6) can learn standards-based geography, landforms, and major U.S. landmarks. Vote each week, telling the teens what to do next.


What's new in the New Year?
Schools are different around the world. Share the XW1W question for the week of January 5: What changes with the New Year at your school? Help your students experience school 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.


How do you really feel?
How do you feel your first week back after holiday break? Choose the best description in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find videos, projects, and loads of hands-on learning:

  • STEM for young ones—and from Hollywood!
  • Free eBooks for young readers
  • Writers speak
  • Two sources for math videos
  • An amazing music tool
  • A look at your language
  • Basic computer programming that’s FUN!
  • An excellent research tool
  • A way to contribute to the world of knowledge
  • Information debunked
  • Flooding
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this January 12 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived January 5 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 and exercise new mental muscles this week.

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