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January 25, 2016

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®


As the first month of the year comes to an end, encourage your students to get involved in two timely contests. The 2016 Engineer Girl Essay Contest continues through February 1. This competition is open to girls (and boys) in grades 3-12. The World of 7 Billion Student Video Contest has a deadline of February 25. This contest is open to students in grades 6-12. Students simply create a short video (up to 60 seconds). Learn more here.


Be “Fair” this Project Season
Your students may be working on research projects, science fair experiments, or other long-term, cold weather projects. Soon they will be looking for images, sounds, and more to create their project. Have you talked about copyright? If you aren’t sure where to start, check out TeachersFirst’s Copyright and Fair Use Resources for the lesson about copyright, copyright-safe search tools, and creative commons collections to be sure that you are modeling good digital citizenship.


What to Write About?
Is your pool of writing prompts freezing up a bit? Find plenty of new ideas at TeachersFirst’s Resources for Writing Prompts. You will find verbal, visual, and unusual writing prompts to use in any subject area or grade level. Give your students the choice to explore the ideas themselves and select a prompt for themselves or for the entire class. Your class blog or wiki will become an instant writing anthology once the ideas start flowing. Just starting to blog or use a wiki? Don’t miss TeachersFirst’s Blog Basics and Wiki Walk-Through.


Snow Day Learning
Expecting a snow day? When bad weather threatens, plan ahead with TeachersFirst’s Snow Day Resources. You will find a combination of online learning tools, snow-related challenges, basic practice sites, and more. Mark it on your class web page now so that students will maintain learning traction despite any delays or cancellations.


The Interactive Raven
It may be the most popular poem ever. “The Raven” was published on January 29, 1845. TeachersFirst’s The Interactive Raven offers an engaging experience for students on any device. Click to discover literary terms and the definitions to tough vocabulary words. Help your students explore this poem on its anniversary.


Speaking of Snow Days
This week’s Teacher Poll asks: How often does your school cancel or delay because of weather? Place your vote on the teacher poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Working with ESL/ELL Students
Nearly every teacher encounters 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 Adopt-a-Strategy: Adjusting Lessons for ESL/ELL students.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites you will find:

  • Makewaves
  • ProjectEd Videos
  • Cell Phone Recycling
  • Panoramio
  • Parable of the Polygons
  • Storyberries
  • eMath Instruction
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this January 31, or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived January 24th Features here, and don’t miss our many other recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured Sites page.

Now is the perfect time for some excitement (and competition) to engage your students. Be sure to check out the 2016 Engineer Girl Essay Contest and the World of 7 Billion Student Video Contest.


The TeachersFirst Team