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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

Humor yourself with a little “foolishness” this first week of April. Why not try a little humor by tossing a subject-related limerick or some sensational similes into your lessons. Start the class with a thought-provoking metaphor or a simple rhyme about today’s lesson. It’s National Poetry Month, and everyone likes a silly couplet or two. Song lyrics are poetry, too! What poetic surprises can you conjure up this week? Look to TeachersFirst for ideas.


How do you like us? Help us count the ways!
TeachersFirst will be 14 years old in late April. Have we helped you find what you need to survive the school day or inspired you with new ways to teach? Stop by our Facebook page to tell us what you like about TeachersFirst. Spread the word about TeachersFirst to other teacher friends. Help us hit 1000 “Likes” in time for our birthday?


Revised, renewed, refreshed
Just as you do, we like to revisit and revise even our best lessons. Don’t miss the newly revised TeachersFirst’s Blog Basics for the Classroom. Blogs are certainly not new, but you will find new ways to use them in any subject/grade. We include newly revised tool comparisons and even a downloadable parent letter to get your class blog started. Try it this spring or mark this as a must-read for summer so your class will be blogging in the fall.


Tell us what YOU think
Are you a Thinking Teacher? Use your free TeachersFirst membership to win an eye-catching Thinking Teacher Tshirt. Leave a helpful comment on a TeachersFirst resource, telling others how you use it or why you gave it a certain rating. We draw one name randomly each month from the most helpful comments.


Wipe out worries, find energy with OK2Ask®
Do you wonder about managing your own digital footprint? No web worries! Join us April 12 to find out more. Then tell your elementary and middle school math-teaching friends about our May math offering. Don’t miss these free, online teacher professional development “snack sessions” from OK2Ask®, ready for you to attend from anywhere. Yes, we do provide professional development certificates. We will announce our summer OK2Ask® schedule in May.

Web Worries: What teachers should know about online behavior 
Thursday, April 12, 2012 at two times; Read the details and register

Energizing Math: ideas, resources, and collaboration for K-8 math teachers
Tuesday, May 22, 2012. ONE session 7-8:30 pm EDT ONLY; Read the details and register


No place like home
April’s TogetheRead theme from our sister site, TeachersAndFamilies, is Houses and Homes. Find books for all ages in this family literacy feature. Each book includes questions to talk about before, during, or after reading so families can build better readers. You can sign up to receive advanced notice of upcoming themes from the teacher/librarian information page. Then be sure to tell families about the great ideas for free or nearly-free activities they can do as they all read around the common topic of Houses and Homes.


Perfect for Poetry Month
The April installment of Help I Lost My Library/Media Specialist features poetry read-alouds and activities for elementary grades in honor of National Poetry Month. Poetry can find its way into your math or science or social studies classes using the great ideas offered by this library/media specialist, our gift to schools where the “library lady” (or gentleman) has disappeared due to budget cuts. For more Poetry Month resources, don’t miss TeachersFirst’s Editors’ Choice resources for Poetry Month. My favorite: quick and easy online poetry “forms” to help ANYONE be a poet. Try “If I were in Charge of the World” (see my poem results here).


April Activity!
April is busy, and that’s no April Fools joke. We have Baseball’s opening day, Autism Awareness Month, and National Poetry Month. Then we have Easter, Earth Day, and Take Your Child to Work Day. Find offerings for these and more in the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar.


Your reading choice
When reading for pleasure which medium do you prefer?
Click your choice in the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Looking ahead, looking back
Geo and Meri are in one of our treasured US National Parks this week on Globetracker’s Mission. Since October, they have traveled throughout North America. Don’t tell your students, but the mission will wrap up very soon (the week of April 15). Look now in the sidebar of the Teacher’s Edition of the weekly episode for a link to REVIEW activities to wrap up the year of standards-based learning about geography, major sites in the U.S., landforms, and more. Put the Mission into perspective and recap the concepts with these thought-provoking offerings, now available for preview before the Mission concludes.


Around the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W  for the week of April 1: How do u participate in April Fools Day?Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) uses microblogging or blogging tools to share responses about everyday life from any corner of the world. The XW1W FAQ page explains it all. Make today’s instant communications an instant learning experience.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find sites to explore, practice, and create:

  • An amazing view under the sea
  • Tools for speaking images and responsive polls
  • Musical explorations
  • A challenge in six sentences
  • The Holocaust in primary sources
  • A NEW multimedia “poster” tool
  • Photo greetings made easy

And more! Don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.


There once was a teacher who rhymed.
All her lessons were perfectly timed.
Her students wrote poems about all their know ‘ems
And all their achievement scores climbed.

Find a little foolishness this week.


Your “teacher to go,”
Candace Hackett Shively
Director of K-12 Initiatives