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May 26, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Swing in a hammock. Play catch. Go for a swim. Paddle a canoe. Have a picnic. It’s Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer! If your students’ brains are already on summer vacation, but your school is NOT, TeachersFirst has ideas to help.


Registration is OPEN for Summer OK2Ask®
Summer OK2Ask, a series of free, online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development, resume in early July and will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays for six weeks. Registration is now open for all summer sessions. Please read descriptions carefully to be sure you have prerequisites and/or the appropriate technology comfort levels BEFORE you signup. Note that ALL summer certificates will be issued at the end of the summer. No exceptions. All summer sessions begin at 6 pm EDT. Learn more about OK2Ask. The full downloadable summer schedule in pdf format is also available. Mark your calendar for the professional development YOU choose!


Live from Atlanta
The Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst will be at ISTE in Atlanta next month, helping to host the new Coaching Playground, presenting about Nourishing Gifted with Technology in Any Classroom, and of course talking to teachers like you at our booth (#3118). If you are going, plan to meet us there. You could even earn a coveted Thinking Teacher T-shirt! If a trip to Atlanta is out of the question, you can still join the ISTE experience with our OK2Ask® LIVE webcast on Monday, June 30, 2014, at 3:30 pm Eastern time. It’s almost like being there—without the airfare! Mark your calendar and click on the OK2Ask® LIVE link front and center on the TeachersFirst home page just in time for the webcast!


WANTED! Middle school science teachers
If you are a creative, middle level science teacher (gr 6-9) who enjoys student-centered learning, MySciLife® wants YOU. Apply now -- for FREE -- to be part of MySciLife, an exciting, new way for your students to be successful science learners. Since summer, 2012, TeachersFirst has been conducting a research pilot of MySciLife, an online social learning environment where students interact with their peers across the U.S. Students create an identity as a science concept --such as an organism, animal, object, scientist, or force -- and develop their identity via status updates, interactions, and creative technology tools familiar to today’s youth. It all takes place within the safe MySciLife community. If you know Facebook, you can imagine MySciLife. MySciLife Pilot Teacher Ambassadors have had great success using MySciLife® to deliver their school’s science curriculum.  Read about the research results, watch the video, and APPLY NOW to be part of the next exciting phase of this project. Submit your information via the link to the online application form on the MySciLife page. Time and space are limited. MySciLife® brings science to life.

Summer is coming (Uh-oh! So is the "slide!")
Some schools have just days of school left. If you are preparing for an early June exit, NOW is the time to share the TeachersFirst Summer Sparklers with parents and students. Prevent “summer slide” while inspiring creativity (and learning) with this handpicked collection of interactives, creative tools, and clever sites for all ages. Put the link on your summer learning web page and share it in your e-newsletter before the sun sets on another school year. Parents will appreciate it!


On the calendar
June 6 is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. This is the year to spend a little extra time on D-Day and WWII, and TeachersFirst has the resources to help. Find ideas for saluting the flag on Flag Day (June 14)  and resources for Father’s Day (June 15) on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar, ready for date-related learning throughout the school year.


Burgers? Dogs?
Picnics are a study in culture. Share the XW1W question for the week of May 25 to learn about outdoor celebrations in different places: What is your favorite picnic food? Help your students experience life 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.


LONGING for the weekend
Who needs the long weekend most? Click your choice in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Summer Reading is not just for kids
Maybe you prefer a more traditional way to learn: sitting on the beach with a book. Now is the time to start collecting that stack of reading, and TeachersFirst is here to help.  We know that in your day-to-day teaching life you might not have time to read all you’d like for your own professional growth and emotional well-being, but this article shares books and blogs to re-ignite your teaching flame.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find convenient online tools and plentiful information:

  • Local history in MANY places
  • Alphabetization
  • Math videos
  • Coping with bullying, and other social/life skills
  • Clutter free video searches
  • Free file sharing
  • Hiroshima
  • The Hermitage
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this JUNE 1 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived May 25 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


May your mind have a quick break before you head into the home stretch of school or head back into summer professional development days. Everyone deserves a mini mental vacation.

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