If you are a frequent user of TeachersFirst, you know our site contains an amazing amount of information and resources. A quick look at the home page shows a calendar, news and updates, search, TeachersFirst Edge resources, and Featured Sites. But that’s just the beginning; the home page also links to Classroom Ready-to-Go and a set of tabs linking to additional pages on the site.
With so much information on the site, it is not surprising that some resources may be overlooked or underused. One of these items may be our Special Topics Collections. There is a link to all of these collections in the Classroom Resources section of the site.
So, what is a Special Topics Collection? These are collections of resources for holidays, events, and frequently-taught subjects specially prepared to make planning easier. For example, if you search TeachersFirst for the phrase Earth Day, you will find 128 resources with Earth Day either in the title or somewhere in the description or classroom use portion. In fact, if you aren’t careful with your search, you will find over 2,000 results with the both earth and day in them! That is overwhelming for anyone.
TeachersFirst editors have curated the Special Topics Collections to contain the “best of the best” for any subject. Typically, you will find 30 resources or less in each collection, although some may provide more. Right away, this weeds out some items that might show up in a search, but not be relevant to what you need. It also eliminates resources that might be “ok” in favor of sites that offer more useful resources for teaching that topic.
Special Topics pages also include information for all appropriate grade levels. As much as possible, there are similar numbers of resources for all grade levels within the topic page.
Let’s take a look at some examples of Special Topics Collections that may be useful to you through the end of the school year.
- TeachersFirst’s Digital Citizenship Resources – created for grades K-12, this collection includes 27 reviews featuring the best sites for teaching and modeling digital citizenship. Examples include a K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Collection, Plagiarism Court, and Copyright with Cyberbee.
- TeachersFirst’s Baseball Resources – this collection of resources is designed to engage sports fans in your classroom, particularly in math. Some of the more interesting sites include All Around the Baseball Field from the Kennedy Center, Fun with Baseball Stats, and Ballparks of Baseball.
- TeachersFirst’s Take Your Child to Work Day Resources – April 27 is Take Your Child to Work Day. This collection provides resources for learning about careers and planning for life. Take a look at sites such as Get Clobbered, Math@Work, and “Dream It. Do It.”
- TeachersFirst Editor’s Choices for National Poetry Month – April is National Poetry Month. This is one of our larger collections, with over 70 resources for all grade levels. You might want to check out The Music in Poetry, TeachersFirst’s Interactive Raven, and Poem in Your Pocket for starters.
- TeachersFirst’s BYOD Dream Tools: Free Tools that Work on ANY device! – BYOD Dream Tools is another larger collection, but one worth checking out. The end of the school year is an excellent time to try out some new tech tools with your students. This collection only includes ‘DATS” (device agnostic tools) that are free or offer enough free features to make them worthwhile for use in classrooms. These reviews of these Edge tools include additional information such as ease of use, and tips for using tools safely and within school policies. If you are looking for something new, you might want to try Epic! For Educators, Recap, or Quizlet Live.
Take advantage of these many collections to quickly find the best, free resources for classroom use throughout the year. Have you used our Special Topics Collections? Is there something else you would like to see? Let us know in the comments below.