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March 16, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Mid-March brings the hope of Spring. The frost and snow have started to melt. You may even see grass turning green or flowers starting to bloom. May the many seeds that you planted in your students’ minds also continue to blossom as the season starts to change.


There is still time left to celebrate the March holidays: The Ides of March, Saint Patrick's Day, and more! March also bring us Women's History Month and Music in our Schools Month. Learn more about World Water Day and the Google Science Fair. You’ll find resources for events and observances throughout 2015 in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Mission: Find Dewey
Geo and Meri are now heading to Europe. Join the teen bloggers as they continue their mission to find Dewey: the Truth-Sniffing Dog. Find out where they will explore on Globetracker's Mission. 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.


Grab a Book!
The March theme from TogetheRead is “All About Me!” TogetheRead provides a list of recommended books, questions, and activities designed to build stronger readers. The themes include books for all ages, centered around the same theme. Parents find questions to ask as the family reads, deepening comprehension before, during, and after reading. Included are free and low-cost ideas for activities families can do together, as well. TogetheRead involves the entire family in supporting literacy.


Been There, Done That
Teachers rarely have a free hour to explore and learn throughout the day. But sometimes, the best learning comes in small tidbits. Discovers handy ways to make your tech-infused lessons go more smoothly with TeachersFirst’s Been There, Done That tech tips. Savor a clever idea or two from experienced, Thinking Teachers or share the entire batch with colleagues who need a little extra confidence.


FREE PD: Online Tools, Professional Resources, and more
TeachersFirst offers free webinars to keep your professional development fresh! Check out the many offerings from OK2Ask® in 2015. Registration is now OPEN for all spring sessions. 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. Most sessions meet from 7:00-8:30 pm EASTERN time.


Water.. Water.. Water..
The official kickoff for the United Nations’ World Water Day is on March 22. Your class can learn the importance of clean water by participating in the World Water Monitoring Challenge - monitoring a lake, stream, bay, or any other nearby body of water. The challenge continues through December 31. Learn more about it here.

Help your students learn more about water by sharing the XW1W question for the week of March 15: How does your family get clean water? 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 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.


Do You YouTube?
YouTube can be a valuable tool in the classroom. However, it isn’t always practical or even permitted in some classrooms. What is your school policy? What is your personal classroom policy? This week’s teacher poll asks: Do you use YouTube in your classroom? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Professional Exploration
NOW is the time to explore the rich professional resources within TeachersFirst. You will especially appreciate TeachersFirst’s Professional Exclusives, often offering just the solution you need to a professional challenge. Don’t miss the hot topics in our collections of “Must Knows” for teachers. Make TeachersFirst your fresh spring salad of learning.


Science Fair has gone Google!
Does your school have an annual Science Fair? Share this additional challenge with your students. The Google Science Fair (for ages 13-18 only) has begun! Submissions will be accepted until May. Learn more about this annual competition in our TeachersFirst review.


Cool Tools—Edge "P"
The TeachersFirst Edge features teacher-reviewed, free, online tools (many with free app versions) to help you and your students create projects or simply make your digital life a little easier. This week we are highlighting Plug-ins/add-ons, Polls/Quizzes, and Presentations. Although we list these tools under the appropriate subjects where they might fit, the little turquoise “E” icon in the review means this is a tool where you or your students can create or collaborate in making something of your own.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites find Cool Tools, Waldo, and the Postal Service:

  • Interactive Math
  • A Sailor’s Life
  • Video Cropping
  • Learn a Language—Linguistadores
  • YouTube with no Filter
  • Early Years Strategies
  • Farming Economics
  • Women’s History
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this March 22 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived March 15 Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.


Whether your “weather” is still producing snow and frost or has warmed up and started to turn green, may the blooming in you class continue as the Spring marches on!

The TeachersFirst Team