TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List

November 3, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Dark afternoons are a poor trade for one extra hour of sleep in early November. Walking out of school on the first Monday after daylight saving ends is simply depressing. Yes, our students are actually alert that one Monday morning, and you may see the sun before you get to school. But the day we “fall back” is a sure sign that we are headed into the darker part of the year. Let TeachersFirst help with some new ideas to light up those minds.


Embracing Research
Whether your project lands during the solid stretch of November or early in the New Year, guiding your elementary or middle school students through a major research project requires organization and planning. Follow the step by step guidance of an experienced library/media specialist to help your students in grades 1-8 embrace the research process. This article features everything you need to make the project a success—and to assess it! We even include the tech resources to make the process go smoothly. Make this the year your students move beyond paper posters!


More than turkey
November is a lot more than a build up to turkey. It’s Native American Heritage Month, and our collection of resources for this observance spans all grades. One of the most popular resources on TeachersFirst is the Native American Crafts Unit, including directions for making corn husk dolls and dreamcatchers. We also offer resources and ideas for Veterans’ Day—just next week! And don’t forget Geography Awareness Week (Nov 16-22). Take a look at all our calendar-related resources as you plan the home stretch to Thanksgiving!


Election buzz and books
Bring the election buzz this week into your classroom with TeachersFirst's Resources for Elections. Help students build their awareness about leadership and leaders by recommending that students choose a book for independent reading from our CurriConnects 100 Leaders leveled booklist.


It’s not FAIR!
Our students are the first to cry out when they think something is not “fair.” But understanding copyright and Fair Use is not nearly as automatic for them. Even the most savvy teachers work hard to use digital resources ethically. It is our job to try, try again until we “get it.” TeachersFirst’s Copyright and Fair Use Resources collection offers both sites to help you and your students understand what is/is not good digital citizenship and places to find Creative Commons and other copyright safe images, sound files, etc. Teachers are not lawyers, but we are obligated to model “fair” use work created by others. If you want to learn more, plan to join our OK2Ask session on Building Ethical Digital Citizens on April 28, 2015. Registration will be open mid-winter.


OK2Ask®November trio
We have just three more OK2Ask® sessions in 2014. (December is OK2Ask hiatus during the busy holiday season.) These free, LIVE, online “snack sessions” for teacher self-directed professional development are the perfect way to relax and learn during long evenings. Registration is open for November sessions. Sneak a peek at the winter and spring offerings, then register for January and beyond beginning in early December. Please be sure to read the detailed descriptions and suggested technology comfort levels BEFORE you register for the best match for your learning needs. Read our FAQ for information about certificates, etc. All sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time:

Google 6-Part Series (Part 2): Google Search Secrets
Monday November 3, 2014
*Appropriate for teachers at Beginner to Intermediate technology comfort levels.

Great Timesavers: Tools and Tips to Maximize TeachersFirst’s Free Membership
Thursday November 13, 2014

Tech it Out: Twitter for Teachers (and the classroom)
Tuesday November 18, 2014
*Appropriate for teachers at Intermediate technology comfort levels.


Winter workshop planning
Are you a professional development trainer, graduate professor, or ed tech coach planning a winter workshop? Do you work with Thinking Teachers? If you plan to feature TeachersFirst at an upcoming workshop or PD session, you can request materials to share by filling out this online form. As a free service from a non-profit, TeachersFirst relies on word of mouth from connectors like you to “get the word out.”


Teachers who care
Teachers are the heart and soul of their communities. This week’s teacher poll asks: Do you volunteer in your community? Respond using the poll choices on the TeachersFirst home page.


Continental travel
Geo and Meri have landed on a new continent: South America. As they travel on
Globetracker’s Mission, they continue to blog about their efforts to find Dewey, the truth-sniffing dog. Vote this week to decide their next move. Social studies students in grades 2-6 learn map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and much more through the teens’ blogging adventure. Join the journey across seven continents from now through early May. New episodes appear each Sunday. Check out complete teacher information, standards, and lesson ideas for using the mission. There are even Google Earth files for you to “watch” the Mission unfold. For extra fun, set your class Twitter account to follow the teens Twitter account, @geoandmeri.


On the street where you live
Different cultures have very different homes and buildings. Share the XW1W question for the week of November 2 to learn about homes in other places: About how far apart are houses/buildings on your street? Why not make this the year you make a class Twitter account to learn from classes near and far? Your students can hear about life in other places and cultures through #XW1W. The Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project uses simple tweets (or links to blog posts) to share the responses to a weekly question. Help your class “see” what life is like in other places. It all works because of something called a hashtag. Learn how to get started with these simple directions and FAQ.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find visualized and customized learning:

  • Cool colors
  • Classroom decorating ideas
  • Geography Awareness
  • Inside out History
  • Mathematics history and Facts
  • Individualized reading
  • Science experiments for kids
  • Great graphic organizers YOU make
  • A cool embedding tool
  • Resources for copyright safe images and music
  • And more

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


May the LED in your classroom this week stand for Learning Extends Daylight.

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