TeachersFirst Professional Exclusives

TeachersFirst’s Professional Exclusives help you learn as a teacher, try new technologies, explore new teaching strategies, or understand student differences. Discover how and why to use wikis from the Wiki Walk-Through. Learn to adapt for ESL students in a regular classroom. Learn the how and why of better rubrics – and locate or create them easily. Every TeachersFirst professional exclusive is written by experienced teachers and includes the pragmatic, teacher-friendly details that you count on from our Thinking Teachers.

 

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OK2Ask: Engage & Inspire with Visual Essays - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from April 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Integrating visual
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from April 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Integrating visual and written content can increase the impact of the writing that your students do. As students learn to use imagery to illustrate critical points in an argument or visualize the action in a storyline, they become better communicators. Join this session and help your students develop the ability to communicate clearly and creatively. Model and nurture creative expression while providing a new way for your students to reflect on what they have learned. As a result of this session, teachers will: 1. Understand the components of a visual essay; 2. Explore a tech tool that can be used to create visual essays; and 3. Create a visual essay exemplar to share with their students. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): essays (20), professional development (231), visualizations (13)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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OK2Ask: Digital Storytelling 201 - TeachersFirst

Grades
2 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from March 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Get ready for World
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from March 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Get ready for World Storytelling Day by joining us for this session. You (or your students) have a story idea, but now what do you do? We'll review the Digital Storytelling Process and then talk about using tech tools to create your product. Digital stories can be used for instruction as well as formative and summative assessments. You will also get some ideas for classroom management while students are working on digital storytelling projects. Participants will: 1. Understand the Digital Storytelling Process; 2. Explore a technology tool for digital storytelling; and 3. Plan for the use of digital storytelling in the instructional setting. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): digital storytelling (132)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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OK2Ask: Transform Your Lesson Plans with Triple E and TeachersFirst Part 2 - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from March 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

As you reflect on
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from March 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

As you reflect on how you integrate technology into your instruction to support curricular objectives, it is important to evaluate lesson effectiveness. Join us as we take a deeper dive into the Triple E Framework. We will provide strategies and tools to help you understand if technology implementation in your classroom impacts learning in a deep and meaningful way. Other frameworks help us understand connections between learning and technology, while the Triple E Framework helps us evaluate the effectiveness that technology use has on student achievement of their learning goals. Learn to analyze lesson plans and apply the Triple E Measurement tool to inform your practice to design and teach better lessons using technology. Participants will: 1. Understand how to use the Triple E rubric; 2. Explore technology integrated lesson plans; and 3. Plan for the use of technology in the classroom. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): professional development (231)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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OK2Ask: 3 Cool Tools for Social Studies - TeachersFirst

Grades
5 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Explore, compare,
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Explore, compare, and contrast three different online tools designed to engage students in grades 5 - 12 in meaningful civics and historical learning. Participants will learn about the features of these three free tools and then explore ways to use them in upper elementary through high school classrooms. Pairing these tools with pedagogically sound instructional strategies will provide a foundation on which to build critical thinking skills. Participants will: 1. Understand how the use of simulations and primary sources can convey difficult material in a way that's interesting and accessible; 2. Explore three free educational tools to support social studies instruction in grades 5-12; and 3. Plan for the use of one of the three tools in the educational setting. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): professional development (231)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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OK2Ask: Data and Charts and Graphs, Oh My! Let Google Tools Be Your Guide - TeachersFirst

Grades
2 to 12
3 Favorites 0  Comments
 
This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Humans respond
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from February 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Humans respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. Whether students are learning to collect, organize, graph, or interpret data, this webinar offers proven tools and strategies that assist learners in developing and applying those skills. Together we will explore and plan for the use of forms to collect data, web resources to access data, spreadsheets to manipulate and graph data, and Google MyMaps to visualize data. Students from beginner to advanced can use these tools to visualize and connect math, science, and social studies concepts to concrete, real-world applications. Let's get students excited about learning and help them incorporate complex data literacy into their world view. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels. Participants will: 1. Understand how to use data visualization in the classroom; 2. Explore digital tools that will assist students with data visualization projects; and 3. Plan for the use of data visualization in the classroom. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): charts and graphs (183), data (144), Google (18), infographics (52), professional development (231), visualizations (13)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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OK2Ask: Engage & Inspire: Flipped and Blended Learning - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from January 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Do you want to engage
...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional learning session is from January 2020. You can register and immediately view the archive of the session.

Do you want to engage your students and have time in class to give extra support to those who need it? Then you need to use flipped and/or blended learning. In this session, we will simplify these instructional models and introduce a tool that will support both. Blendspace allows you to create interactive lessons that deliver instruction digitally while allowing flexibility for student pacing. Engage and Inspire your students with this free teaching resource. Participants will: 1. Understand the instructional case for flipped and blended learning and the differences between the two; 2. Explore a tech tool that can deliver digital content; and 3. Plan an authentic learning activity using flipped/blended learning. This session is appropriate for teachers at all technology levels.

tag(s): professional development (231)

In the Classroom

The archive of this teacher-friendly, hands-on webinar will empower and inspire you to use learning technology in the classroom and for professional productivity. As appropriate, specific classroom examples and ideas have been shared. View the session with a few of your teaching colleagues to find and share new ideas. Find additional information and links to tools at the session resource page. Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.

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Nourishing Gifted Through Technology in Any Classroom - TeachersFirst/Melissa Henning and Candace Hackett Shively

Grades
K to 12
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These pages, originally the support pages for a presentation at the ISTE conference 2014, offer resources, tools, and tips to nourish the needs of gifted in your classroom, along with...more
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These pages, originally the support pages for a presentation at the ISTE conference 2014, offer resources, tools, and tips to nourish the needs of gifted in your classroom, along with sanity savers to organize your multitasking class and your oftentimes "scattered" gifted learners. Find a multitude of reviewed tools, resources, and connections available via technology, so gifted students can work with differentiated academic content, leverage technology to foster their creativity, join in digital collaborations to extend the curriculum through individual interests, and even establish digital "me-portfolios." Start with the Helpful Background, basics about gifted students, and move through several pages to help you plan appropriate activities for your gifted students-- and help them be involved in the planning, as well. The authors of this article are both experienced teachers of gifted, so their suggestions are based on practical experience, not just "theory."

tag(s): differentiation (52), gifted (70)

In the Classroom

Mark these pages in your Favorites as a reference whenever you have gifted students. These students may or may not be officially identified, but sometimes trying these strategies will save you and the student a lot of frustration. When it comes time to offer choices, share the handpicked tool collections in this article with your gifted students so they have a solid place to start. For more ideas about gifted, try the gifted tag in reviews, use a keyword search including the term "gifted," or browse for the subject "Gifted" in the TeachersFirst Subject/Grade pages.

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Read, Tell, and Sell: CCSS through student book promotions - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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Promote books beyond traditional book reports and at the same time work toward Common Core Standards in Speaking and Listening. This article includes suggestions, step by step strategies,...more
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Promote books beyond traditional book reports and at the same time work toward Common Core Standards in Speaking and Listening. This article includes suggestions, step by step strategies, resources, and tips--from tech-savvy to low-tech or no tech--so your students can promote books and build CCSS skills as they contribute to their community of readers and writers. Want to know more about implementing Common Core? See the full series of articles, read-alouds, and more here.

tag(s): book reports (30), commoncore (86), listening (78), process writing (39), speaking (22)

In the Classroom

Save this article in your Favorites to have it ready. Use the comprehensive tips and resources to have students create book promotions as your next (traditional or digital) writing activity as part of your usual reading activities. Let this reading and writing activity do double duty to meet speaking and listening standards, too!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Common Core Connections: The Power of Poetry - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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Discover ways to incorporate poetry as part of your implementation of Common Core in your elementary reading and literature curriculum. If you have set poetry aside for "informational...more
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Discover ways to incorporate poetry as part of your implementation of Common Core in your elementary reading and literature curriculum. If you have set poetry aside for "informational texts," this article explains how you CAN use poetry to address CCSS for close reading, key ideas and details, range of reading, and for the foundation skills of reading fluency. And poetry can still be just plain fun . The article includes lesson ideas and resources to give poetry a place in your curriculum.

tag(s): commoncore (86), poetry (195)

In the Classroom

Mark this as a favorite for planning your poetry lessons to run regularly throughout the school year or as a special unit during National Poetry Month (April). Share it with your colleagues to plan a schoolwide poetry event or simply to reassure them that poetry did not "disappear" with Common Core.

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You Are What You Eat - Examining Nutrition through Literature - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 7
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Use this special article from TeacherFirst to refresh and enliven your health and nutrition unit. Discover many activities, books, and resources to use in your classroom or online in...more
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Use this special article from TeacherFirst to refresh and enliven your health and nutrition unit. Discover many activities, books, and resources to use in your classroom or online in your health and nutrition lessons, and also to implement in cross-curricular instruction. Employ both ISTE Standards for Students and AASL National School Library Standards. The ideas and activties can range in grade levels from kindergarten to seventh grade. This is only one of many classroom-ready articles in our Help! I lost my library/media specialist!.

tag(s): commoncore (86), nutrition (147)

In the Classroom

This is a thorough unit on food and nutrition. Start with activating prior knowledge on your interactive whiteboard or using your projector. Use Padlet, reviewed here, once students have sorted their favorites into categories and project the results on your whiteboard. When teaching science, social studies, or health content about nutrition, foods, plants, or farms, consider pairing fictional books along with informational texts (several are suggested) to maximize the potential of every unit of study. This article is a good starting point. What a perfect way to integrate healthy eating, whether during the holiday season or spring garden planting! Speaking of planting, whether you are considering or implementing a school garden unit you will want to check out this article.

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In a Manner of Speaking: Figurative Language and the Common Core - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
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Dive into the Common Core standards for figurative language in both reading and writing in elementary grades with this article and resource collection. The article includes book suggestions...more
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Dive into the Common Core standards for figurative language in both reading and writing in elementary grades with this article and resource collection. The article includes book suggestions for figurative language, as well. This article is part of a series about implementing Common Core. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (86), figurative language (14)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and learn more about the ambitious figurative language expectations of Common Core as you begin to implement the new standards. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers or with your teacher -librarian if you DO have one. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Questions and Thinking in Common Core; Part 2: Students as Questioners - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core and offers some ways ...more
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core and offers some ways to help students develop a questioning mindset to use as part of "close reading" of texts in elementary grades on up. A separate article, Part I of Questions and Thinking in Common Core, discusses Teachers as Questioners. Both articles are intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series but are easily adapted for middle and high school grades.

tag(s): commoncore (86), questioning (34), thinking skills (12)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and explore the questioning strategies suggested as you begin to implement Common Core. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the ideas will be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Questions and Thinking in Common Core; Part 1: Teachers as Questioners - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 8
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core, and offers some tips ...more
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This installment is part of a series of articles about implementing Common Core. This article examines the role that questioning can play in the Common Core, and offers some tips for teachers as questioners from elementary grades and up. The ideas are easily adapted as appropriate for middle and high school grades. A separate article, Part II of Questions and Thinking in Common Core will discuss Students as Questioners. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (86), questioning (34), thinking skills (12)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and explore the question repertoire sources as you begin to implement Common Core. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Teachers' Common Core Planning Toolkit: A guide for elementary teachers - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary guides teachers through the steps of re-visiting and planning their teaching units to incorporate...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary guides teachers through the steps of re-visiting and planning their teaching units to incorporate Common Core reading and writing. This article will guide you through the Common Core planning process and assist you in adding rigor and addressing instructional shifts as you prepare a unit of study. It presents some planning considerations and then offers an example of what this might look in one classroom's September calendar. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (86), professional development (231)

In the Classroom

This is perfect for teachers' summer reading or collaborative planning. As you face the daunting task of re-visioning your plans, find a process that you can grasp.

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Going Deep with Award Winning Books: Close reading and text-dependent questions - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on close reading of texts in Caldecott award winning books. Since Caldecott winners tend...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on close reading of texts in Caldecott award winning books. Since Caldecott winners tend to be available in most libraries, what better way to start the practice of close reading and questioning a la Common Core. A major shift of the Common Core State Standards is to have reading, writing, listening and speaking grounded in evidence , from both literary and informational texts. As a result, terms like "close reading" and "text-dependent questions" are getting a lot of attention. Find ideas to implement this shift. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (86)

In the Classroom

If you are fortunate enough to have a library/media specialist to partner with you, try these ideas together during read-alouds both in the library/media center and in your classroom. Mark this article in your favorites and refer back to it as you move forward with Common Core.

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For the Sake of Argument: Another Common Core Shift - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on argument/opinion writing and reading activities that can go together. The CCSS require...more
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This installment in a series of articles about implementing Common Core in elementary focuses on argument/opinion writing and reading activities that can go together. The CCSS require that all students work to become independent writers of three types of texts: narrative, informational/explanatory, and opinion/argument and recommend that the time spent on each type in the elementary grades be roughly the same. Find ideas to implement this shift. The article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series.

tag(s): commoncore (86), expository writing (33), letter writing (15), persuasive writing (53), writing (294)

In the Classroom

If you are fortunate enough to have a library/media specialist to partner with you, try these ideas together, including read-alouds and writing activities to follow up. Mark this article in your favorites and refer back to it for ideas to integrate writing into science or social studies activities, especially for opportunities to have students write and/or read opinion/argument pieces.

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The Common Core Shift: Short, Focused Research Projects - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 3
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This article explains the idea of short, focused research projects as emphasized by Common Core. Find out the background, the why and what, and more as you see an example ...more
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This article explains the idea of short, focused research projects as emphasized by Common Core. Find out the background, the why and what, and more as you see an example you can use when teaching about the water cycle in elementary grades. Use a readaloud of a recommended book to get your class started. This particular example is for lower elementary, but the article is useful for elementary teachers at any level. The article and the sample project are written (and field tested!) by an experienced elementary library/media specialist.

tag(s): commoncore (86), water cycle (28)

In the Classroom

NO more BIG projects! Make research manageable and meaningful. Try the lesson plan as a way to incorporate Common Core reading skills into the lessons you would be teaching as part of your science curriculum. If you do not have access to the same book, check interlibrary loan or adapt the lessons to another book.

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Common Core Part 2: Moving Forward with Informational Text - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 5
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In this second in a series about Common Core, move into lessons that address Common Core Reading standards for "informational texts." This article offers specifics about Common Core...more
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In this second in a series about Common Core, move into lessons that address Common Core Reading standards for "informational texts." This article offers specifics about Common Core Anchor Standard #5 for Reading, which deals with text structure. Find explanations of the five most common text structures and instructional approaches to help students understand and even write each type of information text. Learn how you can explicitly teach organizational patterns in reading and have students apply these patterns in their own writing. Note that the CCSS and texts also apply in science and social studies literacy, so the lessons cross into these disciplines, as well. Although the article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series, the discussion of Common Core and informational texts applies at any level.

tag(s): commoncore (86), graphic organizers (41)

In the Classroom

Read lesson ideas and explore the suggested resources as you begin to implement Common Core. Mark this article in your Favorites. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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Been There, Done That - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
Find TeachersFirst's time tested tech tips from the trenches to help technology-based lessons run smoothly. These ideas will prevent many "disasters" before they happen. Of coure, technology...more
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Find TeachersFirst's time tested tech tips from the trenches to help technology-based lessons run smoothly. These ideas will prevent many "disasters" before they happen. Of coure, technology has a mind of its own, but hopefully you can outsmart it!

tag(s): classroom management (144)

In the Classroom

Mark this page in your favorites and click the "share" widget to share it with the other teachers in your school. If you are all on the same page using shared laptops and labs, you all benefit. If you work with student teachers or new teachers, this is a must share. If you have parent volunteers or aides helping with computer activities, share with them, too!

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Common Core: The Fuss Over Non-Fiction - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Delve into the Common Core Reading standards and the shift to greater emphasis on non-fiction, "informational texts." If, like many teachers, you teach in a state that has adopted the...more
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Delve into the Common Core Reading standards and the shift to greater emphasis on non-fiction, "informational texts." If, like many teachers, you teach in a state that has adopted the Common Core State Standards, this Q/A article will help you to make sense of this shift and provide you with some practical tips and resources to get started. Although the article is intended for elementary teachers as part of our Help! I lost my library/media specialist series, the general questions about Common Core and reading informational texts apply at any level. TeachersFirst plans to offer further articles as Common Core "rolls out" in more and more schools.

tag(s): commoncore (86)

In the Classroom

Read the questions/answers and explore the suggested resources as background during this new challenge. Mark this article in your Favorites as you begin to implement Common Core. Many of the suggested resources may be helpful during curriculum planning sessions with other teachers. Click the "share" widget to send them to others!

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