TeachersFirst Update – January 26, 2009

Pleased to meet you! TeachersFirst’s staff conducted our first OK2Ask sessions this past week with dozens of you in attendance. As on many “first days,” our virtual classroom had its challenges and spent more than the expected amount of time on getting to know class routines. I personally enjoyed hearing ideas and questions directly from some of you. The next few months of Ok2Ask are very exciting for all of us at TeachersFirst. We feel like student teachers all over again!

Tight Budget? Try Tech
The challenges of today’s economy are very real for teachers. We must make tough choices about our classroom moneys, if we have any, and the extras we supply on our own. Don’t forget to look to TeachersFirst for ways to save classroom dollars. Find ways to work within tight school budgets by searching for virtual field trip on our keyword search. Simulate science experiments without the cost of materials by using online interactives, also available through keyword search. Ex. enter interactive and anatomy or interactive and dissect with the appropriate grade level settings. (Yes, you need to enter the “and”- see tips on the search page). With a little creative thinking and searching, your students can see the world for free. Meanwhile, the TeachersFirst editors will continue to look for and feature as many effective, cost-saving teaching options as we can find.

Whether you teach about the heart and circulatory system or are looking for ways to use Valentines Day to teach writing, don’t forget the Valentines Day page on TeachersFirst’s Holiday Central. For more “heartfelt” ideas, try searching heart on our keyword search .


Planning to Reach 100?
Some of you are already planning 100th Day of school activities. TeachersFirst has collected some terrific ideas and resources for the 100th Day. You can always access these by searching “100th” in our keyword search or from our Holiday Central page under the Classroom menu. (Yes, we know 100th day is not a REAL holiday!).


Intro to Web 2.0. It’s OK2Ask, but register NOW
Pre-register now for our second OK2Ask session, part of a series of live, online “snack sessions” for self-directed teacher professional development and exploration. These one hour sessions for you to attend from any computer will share great ideas you can use in your classroom, courtesy of TeachersFirst’s staff. See OK2Ask frequently asked questions (it’s Ok2Ask!) or go directly to class descriptions and pre-registration (required) this offering:

  • A Safe Journey to the Edge: Intro to Web 2.0 Tools (Pre-register by Wed. Jan. 28 for Thur Jan 29; two time blocks available)


This Week’s Question of the Week
Nearly every newscast tells of budget cuts. What impact have budget cuts had on your classroom, and what creative solutions, if any, have you found so you are able to teach within the limitations? Please help your fellow teachers by sharing your successes in response to this Question of the Week. Remember to check “anonymous,” if you wish. See what other teachers have to say, as well. You can always see responses to past questions by clicking to see the Question archives.


Featured Sites
This week’s featured sites include resources and tools for many subjects:

  • science videos by teachers, students, and YOU
  • crisis management resources
  • ways your students can “speak out” to the new president
  •  cool cryptography
  • making books with kids
  • math on interactive whiteboard for K-8
  • and many other TERRIFIC  “recent additions (click at the bottom of the page)

May your week ahead bring you the opportunity to try something new as we have this past week. I highly recommend it, whether you are 22 or quite a bit older. You’ll find energy you forgot you had.

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


TeachersFirst is
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