Dive into Summer Professional Learning – and More!
Whether summer brings you time to relax, an opportunity to bolster your credentials, or some extra work to help balance your checkbook, you’ll likely want to keep at least one toe in the education pool even after a spring of sudden distance learning amid the pandemic.
We have suggestions to spur your cogitation and avoid any professional “summer slide.” Plus have some fun along the way.
Here’s a quick preview:
►Find a nearby edcamp. Though some are canceled for 2020, others are still on the calendar and some are going virtual.
►Get the most out of summer with tips from Vicki Davis.
► Find free online PD to fill the summer with Curtis Chandler.
Books to Savor
Anticipating some deep relaxation? Ready for neural stimulation? If you’re looking for just the right professional read, don’t miss MiddleWeb’s large collection of book reviews – now over 1000.
Coaching expert and MiddleWeb contributor Elena Aguilar has some summer book suggestions at her Edutopia blog — for 2018 she suggested books to cultivate empathy and hope. In 2014 Aguilar reviewed Stuart Brown’s Play and suggested ways to incorporate play into summer PD. Her 2013 selections played into her concerns about education and society: dystopian science fiction and challenging nonfiction.
The NYT Learning Network shares a different sort of education summer reading list: best sellers for K-16 with a very wide definition of education. You may disagree with some of the authors or want to skip the ones about life on college campuses, but browsing the list will likely spur some additions to your must-read stack.
ASCD’s Empower 19 conference presenters described books that were important in their growth as educators.
To travel beyond the world of pedagogy, whether on vacation or on your deck, find lots of super adult fiction and nonfiction reviews at NPR’s Book page (@nprbooks). In 2019 at NPR, librarian Nancy Pearl recommended books here speaking with The Kitchen Sisters. You can find book reviews by category at Sarah Tantillo‘s Only Good Books blog.
Zora Magazine (at Medium, named for Zora Neale Hurston) has compiled the first-ever comprehensive list “specifically featuring 100 of the finest literary works produced by African American women authors.” An amazing resource and a good reference for summer reading.
And don’t miss the New York Times compilation of 2020 summer reads by category. Another NYT option: free webinars for teachers. With a New York Times subscription you can take The Time Machine back to 1928 for a look at attitudes toward summer reading 91 years ago.
Over at the Washington Post the book editors share their picks for summer reading, a mix of recent nonfiction and fiction. The Post also makes the case for 2020’s special need for escaping into books and offers suggestions. This year JPMorgan is offering selections from 20 years of summer reading recommendations to buoy readers in the face of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Go Beyond the Book
The next time you are online and missing your school year chats with middle graders, drop by This American Life for their 2011 audio hour on students’ perceptions of middle school life.
In the past three years TED-Ed has posted hundreds of video lessons featuring collaborations between teachers and animators — and tens of thousands of ‘flipped’ TED (and other videos) by teachers. You can soak up ideas (be sure to take the TED-Ed Tour to see how it works) and learn how to ‘flip’ the videos into your own lessons this fall. And think about lessons you could submit for the TED-Ed animation treatment. Here’s what happens to heroes in a lesson from educator Matthew Winkler and a TED-Ed team:
And while we’re talking video: remember the multitudinous videos and blogs from the Teaching Channel just a click away, including lots of STEM resources and the site’s special series on Deeper Learning with your students.
Ready to dive into tech-augmented learning?
Summer may be a great time to review your use of web tools and connected learning sites and plan for the future after a spring of adapting to virtual learning. Richard Byrne at Free Tech for Teachers always has great ed tech ideas to share. And get a succinct overview of The Epic BYOD Toolchest (51 Tools You Can Use Now) by Vicki Davis at Edutopia.
Take a Course or Three
Considering a course from a massive online open classroom (MOOC)? This 2017 post from MakeUseOf targets college students but contains an up-to-date list of MOOC providers and other online learning opportunities.
Writing in The Atlantic, Derek Newton reports that research by MOOC providers Harvard and MIT found 39% who signed on for their massive free classes were teachers. In The (Accidental) Power of MOOCs Newton concludes the classes’ success may grow from their value as effective PD for teachers, perhaps improving “the quality of the country’s public education system.”
The Corwin Connect blog is a good place to learn and to start the hunt for upcoming and archived webinars hosted by their authors, including several by global educator John Hattie, author of Visible Learning. We also recommend regular check-ins at the Stenhouse Blog and the Heinemann Blog where you’ll find lots of insight and summer activity across the curriculum.
Have a Go at Grants
To go beyond your summer PD and augment your classroom’s resources, scout out grant opportunities during the summer months. For a quick overview of foundation grants, visit Candid, a merger of the Foundation Center and GuideStar, which, thankfully, is searchable. You can check THE Journal weekly for updates on grants as well as tech events. To recruit donors, teachers can post needs at DonorsChoose.
Share Your Voice
Already have a To Be Read list of books for summer break? Beth Moore at Two Writing Teachers offers a To Be Written graphic to get you started on what you would like to write over summer. Summer can also be a good time to plan or launch a blog. At Free Technology for Teachers, Richard Byrne offers a collection of how-to videos and evaluates hosting platforms.
Another way to share your thoughts is to post comments at prominent blogs and ed organization websites. For writing opportunities you can add to your vita, consider ASCD’s Educational Leadership and the ASCD Express, which solicit articles from educators by theme. Edutopia also invites submissions. And of course MiddleWeb welcomes book reviewers and proposals for guest articles about innovative middle grades classroom practice.
You can also raise your voice by joining an online professional community. Among the many options is Education Week.
Summer Income: Roll Up Your Sleeves
You can put your teacher expertise and communications skills to work in the summer. In her MiddleWeb blog, Kids on the Cusp, Mary Tarashuk shared her plans for a summer reading group. For her intense, week-long book study of Firegirl she brought together several former students. Her goals were to build her understanding of working with a small group around critical thinking skills development — as well as to bolster her income by charging a small-group tutoring fee.
Writing a book to share ideas and increase income beckons many teachers. Get a hands-on look on what to expect as a first-time author from sixth-grade teacher and author Bill Ferriter in a post from his blog, The Tempered Radical: Five Things Busy Teachers Need to Know about Writing a Book. His insights will last long beyond the summer, but the balmy days away from the classroom can be an ideal time to actually get that book started and enter the realm of writerdom. This series from Larry Ferlazzo’s EdWeek column zeroes in on teachers writing books and is another good source.
Indeed, book writing is one suggestion in former teacher Stacy Zeiger’s long list of summer employment possibilities posted at Help Teaching from Tribio. And at Edutopia blogger Ben Johnson shares summer work search strategies that have worked for him.
Want to go beyond summer jobs and find a new teaching position? Elena Aguilar writes at Edutopia, “For many educators, spring brings an opportunity to consider taking new positions, changing schools, and exploring other paths in our education system. If these thoughts cross your mind like a wisp of a breeze or relentlessly swirl like a tornado, I encourage you to follow your curiosity.” She offers ten tips for launching a job search. Teach.com, which partners with USC Rossiter Online, spotlights where to look in this article.
So many options! Which fit your interests and your calendar? We invite your comments on what makes summer fun and meaningful for you.