Dive into Summer PD – and Lots More!

pd kid jumpWhether 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 another stressful year.

We have suggestions to spur your cogitation and avoid any professional “summer slide.” Plus have some fun along the way.

In 21 Deep Dives Good for Summer PD Reading MiddleWeb has pulled together a diverse set of deep-dive PD articles you might have missed. They’re insightful, informative and actionable

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.

Want to be a MiddleWeb reviewer yourself? You can select a professional book from our current list and send us your review before summer’s end. Find the details here.

Coaching expert and author of Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators (2018) Elena Aguilar  offered summer book suggestions at her Edutopia blog including books to cultivate empathy and hope. In 2014 Aguilar reviewed Stuart Brown’s Play and suggested ways to incorporate play into summer PD. Also at Edutopia, Marissa King and Robin Harris in 2020 wrote For Teachers: Summer Reading During Turbulent Times.

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The NYT Learning Network shares a different sort of education summer reading list: 2014’s 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.

To travel beyond the world of pedagogy, whether on vacation or on your porch, find lots of super adult fiction and nonfiction reviews at NPR’s Book page (@nprbooks). NPR’s Science Friday offers The Best Summer Books, According To Two Science Writers. Mostly for adults but also a couple of recommendations for younger readers. 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.

Try the New York Times’ Summer Books 2023 for a deep dive into 47 titles ranging from history to science fiction and much more. With a Times subscription you can take The Time Machine back to 1928 for a look at attitudes toward summer reading 93 years ago.

For 2024 the Washington Post combines fiction and nonfiction in 28 books to read this summer as well as links to books listed by genre.

For a trip from Atlanta to communities in surrounding states, guided by poets, novelists, essayists and more, visit Alison Law’s 2024 Summer Reading Roundup from The Bitter Southerner. And find lots more to read right on the BS site.

Go Beyond the Book

In recent 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:

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. For tips on creating your own Personal Learning Network, visit this MiddleWeb article by Ronald Williamson and Barbara R. Blackburn. And Cool Cat teacher Vicki Davis includes tech among her 10 Ways to Rejuvenate and Learn This Summer.

Browse Your Favorite Ed Sites

For learning at home, tune in to BAM! Radio to catch helpful discussions from educators, including the Classroom Q&A series hosted by Larry Ferlazzo and featuring many MiddleWeb contributors.

kid swimmer in pool pd

You can find quick doses of immediately applicable PD via ASCD and Ed Week, including free new and archived webinars. Educators can also order other ASCD courses and Ed Week courses for a fee.

The Corwin Connect blog is a good place to learn and to start the hunt for upcoming and archived webinars hosted by their authors. We also recommend regular check-ins at the Solution Tree Blog and the Heinemann Blog where you’ll find lots of insight and summer activity across the curriculum.

Have a Go at Grants

You can check THE Journal weekly for updates on grants as well as tech events. Candid, a merger of the Foundation Center and GuideStar, now uses a subscription model. 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.

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.

And what about X-Twitter? Many educators have written about their “discovery” of  X-Twitter’s PD value. The future of X-Twitter remains unclear in 2024. For now, you can find a TeachThought post that offers lots of teacher friendly hashtags here.

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 in 2013. 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. This series from Larry Ferlazzo‘s EdWeek Classroom Q&A column zeroes in on teachers writing books.

Indeed, book writing is one suggestion in former teacher Stacy Zeiger’s long list of summer employment possibilities posted at Help Teaching. And at Edutopia blogger Ben Johnson shares summer work search strategies that have worked for him.

A Summer to Consider New Schools or New Professions

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.

As the school year ends, some teachers are going beyond searching for new teaching positions and are leaving teaching all together. For an overview of the effects of the pandemic and the challenges teachers faced before the pandemic, see Teachers Are Heading for the Door—And They’re Not Coming Back by Kaitlyn Barton and Christine Dickason in MS.

Teachers can look into options beyond teaching in Best Jobs for Teachers Who Don’t Want to Teach by Sarah Mattie at EducationDegree. Included: brainstorming employment options, putting together a job search, and links to websites to get started.

So many options! Which fit your interests, your calendar or your career plans? We invite your comments.  


Susan Curtis

Susan Curtis is co-editor of MiddleWeb.com. In a long career, she has taught middle grades students, worked in human services, edited a variety of publications and wrangled the reference desk in libraries.

5 Responses

  1. Susan, thanks for this great compendium of resources! If I may suggest one more, folks looking for good books might want to check out my “Only Good Books” blog (hopefully self-explanatory) at: http://onlygoodbooks.wordpress.com/

  2. dogtrax says:

    And can I add the Making Learning Connected MOOC (massive open online COLLABORATION – not course) into the mix?
    This is our second year of the #clmooc and we (facilitators affiliated with the National Writing Project and its partners) will once again nurture playful exploration of digital media, the conceptual tinkering of the Maker’s Movement, and exploration of Connected Learning philosophies — all rolled up into regular Make Cycles that you can enter as you wish or have time for, with no guilt for either just watching (we love lurkers) or needing to leave because it’s summer and you’d rather be away from your computer.
    Whatever you choose is fine.
    And it’s free!
    See you on the Web,

  3. Lilia Tovbin says:

    Great list of suggestions and resources. Thanks for the mention of HelpTeaching.com article on summer money-making ideas for teachers!

  4. Dalton Gray says:

    Hi Susan! Great list of resources and ideas for how to make the most out of the summer! If I could add – TeacherQuest summer PD from Institute of Play to your list of professional learning opportunities. TeacherQuest workshops are hands-on, transformative & playful introductions to Design Thinking, Project Based Learning, and Game Based Learning. Worth looking into!

  5. Mary Langer Thompson says:

    Susan, thank you for these resources. I’ve already signed up for some of the blogs and am looking into Ed Camps!

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