TeachersFirst Update Archives

Return to Update Archives List

June 23, 2014

Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers®

Wow! The days are long, the nights are short, and summer is really here. Take a little time to enjoy that daylight outside. TeachersFirst can go with you on your mobile device or wait for you inside until the sun goes down. Think of us as your 24/7 “tech coach.”


On the Edge?
Summer is the perfect time to play and learn some new tools for your tech-enabled classroom. The TeachersFirst Edge is a great place to start. What is the Edge? 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 alittle easier. Although we also 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 you students can create or collaborate in making something of your own.

Many Edge sites require email memberships, but not all! The Edge Features at the end of each review give the details, including a “thermometer” reading of tech expertise required to use this tool. For specific tips on how to manage the detailed features with a classroom of eager kids, roll over or click on the Edge Feature wording, such as “Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)” The TeachersFirst Edge has the practical tips to use technology safely and within school policies. Overwhelmed by the number of tools? Narrow your search by clicking one of the Edge categories at the left, like “Animation” or “Stickies/Walls.”


What is DAT?
Amid the Edge reviews, you will notice the tag for “DAT,” short for Device Agnostic Tool. DATs are free tools that work at a web site and also as free apps for both iOS and Android. DAT’s are dream tools for BYOD or 1:1 programs where teachers might otherwise struggle to get every student on the same tool to accomplish a creative task. Some teachers tell us DATs are the holy grail of teaching with technology. Find the full collection of BYOD Dream Tools (DATs). This collection is constantly growing and is a MUST for your summer learning.


ISTE bound!
The Thinking Teachers of TeachersFirst will be at the ISTE conference in Atlanta June 28-July 1. We are helping with the new Coaching Playground (June 30), presenting about Nourishing Gifted with Technology in Any Classroom (June 30), and talking to teachers like you at booth 3118 June 29 - July 1. We hope to see you there. If you see someone walking around in a Thinking Teacher shirt, stop and talk to them. It might be one of our staff or simply a loyal TeachersFirst user like you! You could even earn a coveted Thinking Teacher T-shirt at our booth.

If you can’t be there, experience ISTE via OK2Ask® LIVE, a webcast direct from our booth on Monday, June 30, 2014, at 3:30 pm Eastern time. It’s almost like being there—without the airfare! Mark your calendar and click on the OK2Ask® LIVE link front and center on the TeachersFirst home page on June 30!

If you live in the Atlanta area and would like to see the EXHBIT HALL ONLY at ISTE, we have a few three-day Exhibit Hall passes. See more details and apply for a pass here. We will mail passes out to qualifying applicants on a first come, first served basis while supplies last. One per person, please.


Doing a workshop or other PD about TeachersFirst?
If you feature TeachersFirst in teacher professional development workshops, teach a grad class about us, or tell teachers about TeachersFirst in your role as a technology coach, we can help. Complete this form telling us where you plan to feature TeachersFirst. We will send out TeachersFirst cards and an ever-popular Thinking Teacher T-shirt for qualifying sessions. Complete the form NOW to be sure supplies do not run out.


Summer OK2Ask®
If you prefer learning together with other friendly teachers, try some of our OK2Ask® summer sessions. Our free series of online sessions for teacher self-directed professional development resumes for six weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning in July. Registration is now open. Please read descriptions carefully to be sure you have prerequisites and/or the appropriate technology comfort levels BEFORE you signup. Note that ALL summer certificates will be issued at the end of the summer. No exceptions. All summer sessions begin at 6 pm EDT. Learn more about OK2Ask. Mark your calendar for the professional development YOU choose!


On the calendar
TeachersFirst has resources for Ramadan (June 28 - July 28) and Independence Day ready for you on the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar. Summer is the perfect time to scout ahead for fall events and resources to include in your plans.


Staying cool
Everybody wants to be cool, no matter where we live. Share the XW1W question for the week of June 22 to learn heat-relief in far off places: How do you stay cool in HOT weather? Help your students stop and think about life in other cultures with #XW1W. Share with classrooms around the world. The Across the World Once a Week (#xw1w) project uses simple tweets or blog posts to share the responses to a weekly question and help you “see” what life is like in other places. It all works because of something called a hashtag. Get started now with these simple directions and FAQ.


Teacher Evaluation Poll
Which do you think is MOST important in teacher evaluation? Choose from the options in the poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Featured Sites
This week in our Featured Sites, find amazing tools to save time and learn:

  • A cool way to create timelines that include maps
  • Sound tracks for what you are reading
  • A free reading fluency assessment
  • Animations
  • A news story collector
  • Collaborative drawing and creation
  • Food!
  • Explorers
  • Report card comment creator
  • Real time collaboration around a web page
  • And more

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are reading this JUNE 29 or later, the link above will take you to the Featured Sites for the current week. Find the archived June 22 Features here, and don’t miss our many additional recent additions from the link at the bottom of the Featured sites page.

May you enjoy a sensational sunset and some personal learning this week.

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