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March 3, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Turning the corner into March is a mixed blessing. We are glad to be one step closer to spring, but we are just one step away from big tests, the final marking period, and the pressures of time that build during that final portion of the school year. Take a deep breath, and know that TeachersFirst is there with you every step of the way.


In motion
Scientists, inventors, racecar drivers, and athletes all apply the laws of motion to move quickly, defy gravity, or streamline their movements. In our newest CurriConnects list, In Motion, your students can find books, both fiction and nonfiction, featuring real world applications of Newton's Laws. Incorporate these books during units on forces, motions, gravity, physical movement (P.E. or dance), and more. Most of the books are at elementary and middle school interest levels, but some selections for more able readers are included. All include ESL and Lexile levels.


The best 75 minutes you ever spent
No teacher has enough time, but what if spending 75 minutes talking and sharing with Thinking Teachers could save you HOURS? Join this week’s OK2Ask® session, Great Ideas, for a targeted look at how TeachersFirst can save you time finding just what you need, just when you need it. Teachers who have used our site for years say this session opened their eyes to sections they had not discovered on TeachersFirst. Bring a friend, and save double time in this FREE, online session. If you are a tech coach or integration specialist, this is one to recommend to your teachers. Register TODAY for this Thursday, March 6 session (7 pm EST).


Stress, divorce, loss...
Our students face more challenges than simply academic ones. As the winter drags on, the stressors of family tensions and personal problems can interfere with learning even more than usual. TeachersFirst’s special CurriConnects list, Books for Tough Situations, can be part of a health unit or simply help an individual student cope by selecting a book at just the right level on just the right topic. CurriConnects lists include interest levels, ESL levels, and Lexile® levels to ensure the right match. Keep this list handy year round, and be sure to share it with your school counselor and teacher-librarian. Remember that you can always request books via interlibrary loan.


March medley
March 2 is Dr. Suess' birthday. If you missed it, you still have time to compose a class Suess-rhyme using the terms you are studying. March is also Women's History Month and Music in our Schools Month. Everyone’s eyes will be smiling on St. Patrick's Day. Circle ‘round great resources for Pi Day or spark a learning forum on Caesar and Shakespeare for the Ides of March. Turn to the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar as we march ahead.


Music is Poetry and other lesson treats
If you are looking for a way to bring Music in our School Month into your English class, check out our Music is Poetry lesson plan, complete with technology options. Teachers and students LOVE it! This is one of ten winning lesson plans that were recently revised. Didn’t know TeachersFirst had original lesson plans? Take a look at these and other TeachersFirst Exclusive Lesson and Unit plans under our TeachersFirst Exclusives menu.


Anniversaries, Birthdays, and More
The March TogetheRead theme from our partner site, TeachersAndFamilies, is Anniversaries, Birthdays, and More. TogetheRead is a free family literacy feature to help students build effective reading strategies as families enjoy age-appropriate books all centered around a common theme. Each monthly theme includes free or low-cost family activities to go along with books for all age groups (even teens). Share TogetheRead with your students and parents as a family favorite, perhaps along with the address and hours of the local library.


It's OK2Ask® for spring
Register now for March - May sessions from OK2Ask, our free, online professional development series. Please be sure to READ the descriptions to be sure you have the prerequisites (if any) and/or technology comfort levels: Choose your favorite “snack session(s)” and register NOW (all at 7:00pm Eastern time).

  • Great Ideas: Exploring the Resources of TeachersFirst to Plan Effective, Technology-Infused Lessons; Thurs. Mar. 6
  • Google Series (Part 5): Google Earth and Maps Tues. Mar. 18
  • Common Core Math Ideas K-8; Mon. Mar. 24
  • Introduction to Writing with Common Core; Thurs. Mar. 27
  • Specialized for Special Needs: Ideas and Tools for Learning Support, Speech/language, Emotional Support, and more; Mon. Apr. 7
  • Google Series (Part 6): Cool Tools; Tues. Apr. 15
  • Gifted Resources Galore: Tips and Tools for Meeting the Needs of Your Gifted Students; Tues. Apr. 29
  • Ready.. Set.. Summer: Student Tools to Stay Fresh and Teacher Professional “Refreshments”; Thurs. May 8



To the Keys
Geo and Meri are in warmer climes this week on Globetracker's Mission, still trying to track down the elusive Louie. Read new posts every Sunday to learn standards-based geography, landforms, and major U.S. landmarks in grades 2-6. Vote each week, telling the teens what to do next.


Tech wizard?
Family members play different roles, no matter where we live. We can learn about similarities and differences with other cultures by talking about the roles we play. Share the XW1W question for the week of Mar 2: Who is the most tech savvy person in your home? Help your students experience life through the eyes of others in distant 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.


Do you YouTube?
Do you and/or your students use YouTube for learning? Please tell us when/how in the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find new twists and handy turns:

  • Hunger Games lessons
  • Emotional health information
  • Witty, unusual puzzles and trivia
  • A collection of “bad math”
  • Keyboarding practice
  • Science multimedia
  • A great online sketch/whiteboard tool
  • Make your own quote posters or images
  • A super new search tool
  • Primary sources about Lincoln
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this Mar 9 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived March 2 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May you witness students making strides this week.

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