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Thinking Teachers Teaching Thinkers™

This has been a strange spring. First we have summer, then winter, then spring again in the eastern U.S. Of course, the odd weather could have its benefits. Maybe spring fever has temporarily stalled? Sometimes scrambling things a bit can yield positive surprises in our classrooms, too. Try mixing in the unexpected with new resources from TeachersFirst.


Do you dream of attending ISTE?
The annual ISTE conference (International Society for Technology in Education) is an incredible experience for teachers and edtech professionals alike. We know that many teachers can’t afford to attend ISTE, so TeachersFirst is sponsoring The ISTE12 Thinking Teachers Contest for three of you to join us at ISTE 2012 in San Diego this June. Use the entry form at We Are Teachers.com, the people we have asked to administer the contest. Three winners will win ISTE conference registration and $500 towards their ISTE travel expenses. Read the details on the entry form and ask your friends to vote for your entry. Tell us how attending ISTE 2012 will help you be a Thinking Teacher. Enter soon! The first 100 entries earn a Thinking Teacher® shirt, and the entries stay open until May 17. Then the voting begins.


Please help us help you
TeachersFirst gives you a lot. Now we ask YOU to give back just a few minutes of your time. We need DATA about the effectiveness of TeachersFirst to use in our grant applications. We also want your honest opinions about TeachersFirst so we can serve you better. Please help by responding to the TeachersFirst User Survey. Think of it as a “report card” for TeachersFirst.


Globetracker teachers: speak up now!
If you used Globetracker’s Mission, even for one lesson, we need your assessment of the Mission's effectiveness to help us obtain grants. Take the survey here.  Just as schools are being asked to “show the data,” so are we! We need your professional opinion in assessing how effective this program is. You can answer the Globetracker survey while your students complete some of the many REVIEW activities available until the end of May.


Yes, you May
May brings Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and many opportunities to say thank you to school volunteers for their work throughout this school year. Find Special Occasion gift ideas to recognize moms and more from TeachersFirst. No matter what you ask to do, the TeachersFirst Classroom Planning Calendar says, “Yes, you May.”


I Want to Know! 
This month’s installment in our Help I Lost my library/media specialist series is I Want to Know! Helping students explore a wonder-filled summer. As many schools near the end of the school year, now is the time to inspire and enable your students to learn on their own over the summer. Find elementary level lessons and resources to spark self-directed summer learning. If school funding cuts have taken your helpful library/media specialist, TeachersFirst is here to help.


Seeking Middle School Science teachers
TeachersFirst is involved in a very exciting technology-based social learning project for middle school science. This project (which will be free) needs some talented middle school science teachers to help us this summer. Yes, they will be paid. Learn more here—and PLEASE tell your science teacher friends. The application deadline is MONDAY (April 30). If you plan to apply but need another day or so, contact the email address to say your application is on the way!



May and beyond from OK2Ask®
Our OK2Ask® math offering this May is designed for elementary and middle school math teachers. Coming soon are OK2Ask LIVE from ISTE and a full complement of summer offerings on Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August. See the full summer OK2Ask® schedule and mark your calendar now for free, online teacher professional development “snack sessions” from any computer (and professional development certificates!).  Registration opens about a month before each summer session.

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


What do you want to try?
Which technology would you most like to learn about and try?
Click your choice in the weekly poll on the TeachersFirst home page.


Around the World Once a Week (#xw1w)
XW1W  for the week of April 29: What do your favorite shoes look like? 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 great tools and activities for preK to grade 12:

  • Physics animations
  • Two ways to make Flashcards
  • A great way to organize lists and plans
  • A visual bookmark collector
  • A tool to create eBooks
  • Financial aid comparison for college
  • Reading and math practice for many levels—and IWB
  • Creative thinking activities

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


May you witness some positive reversals in your class this week.


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