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January 19, 2015

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

The cold and icy days of winter are here, at least in many areas. Let TeachersFirst help you get more traction against the icy storms of winter classroom boredom with the scores of cool tools we’ve found and reviewed.


Speaking of Ice
We are now into the part of the year when many schools experience the dreaded Snow Day. Why not build in ways for students to avoid “slipping” even if they cannot safely get to school? Check out TeachersFirst’s Snow Day resources, a combination of online learning tools, communities, and snow-related resources. Mark it on your class web page now so students will maintain learning traction despite cancellations.


Working with ESL/ELL Students
Almost every teacher has ESL/ELL students at some time, and many of us have more and more students who struggle to learn in English. Find hints and strategies for your ESL/ELL learners in TeachersFirst’s Top Ten Tips for Working with ESL/ELL Students and Adapt-a-Strategy: Adjusting Lessons for ESL/ELL students.


Geo and Meri continue their travels through Oceania this week on Globetracker’s Mission. Do you know where Oceania is located? Do your students? Help students (grades 2-6) learn more by joining the Mission in 2015 to learn map skills, geography, landmarks, landforms, and much more. Your kids will love traveling the world through the eyes of teens Geo and Meri. 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.


Take Your Pick - Snow, Indoor Recess, or Absentees?
What makes January a tough month for teachers? Do you find snow days, delays, and early dismissals messing up your plans? Maybe your biggest challenge is all of the indoor recess or absent students? This week’s teacher poll asks: What is your biggest challenge in January? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Days to Remember
Plan ahead for Martin Luther King and the 100th Day of School. Start your February planning with resources for Black History Month and Dental Health Month. Don’t forget about Groundhog Day and National Inventors’ Day! You’ll find resources for events and observances throughout 2015 in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Warm Blanket and a Laptop
What better way to spend a cold winter evening than inside a warm home, cuddled up in a blanket, while learning something new? TeachersFirst brings you “just in time” topics to keep your professional development fresh! Check out the many offerings from OK2Ask® in 2015. Register now for January and February sessions. Registration for March, April, and May will be open later this month. Read our FAQ for general information about certificates, etc. Please be sure to read the detailed descriptions and suggested technology comfort levels BEFORE you register for the best match for your learning needs. See a full preview of offerings through May in this PDF. All sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time.


Roaring 20s, Great Depression, and World War II
What was life like in the early 20th century? Our newest installment of CurriConnects explores life during the years 1900-1945. Read and learn about the Model T, flappers, womens’ rights, Al Capone, the Dust Bowl, and much more! Use CurriConnects leveled lists to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. Any student can find a book on the topic at the appropriate interest and Lexile® level.


How do you Go?
What mode of transportation do you typically use to get to school where you live? Do you ride on a school bus, walk to the school, ride in a boat, or a car? Is there a different way that you travel to school? Share the XW1W question for the week of January 18: What mode of transportation do you take to get to school? 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. TeachersFirst’s 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 Music, Math, Micro blogging, and More:

  • Travel with Darwin
  • Fractions, Decimals, and Percent explained
  • Plagiarism
  • Photo Fun
  • Virtual Harp
  • Emancipation Information
  • Heroes (New to You)
  • Twitter Chats
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this January 25 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived January 18 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.

May TeachersFirst give you the grip you need to get traction in your classroom this week against any chills you may feel in the air.


The TeachersFirst Team