Some Resources for Summer Rejuvenation

A MiddleWeb Blog

two_teachers-nobord-210What do you visualize and feel when you see or hear the word summer?

I feel an instant sense of calm that comes from the experience of warm summer breezes, placid walks on the beach, and the comfort of longer days and anything-is-possible nights that flow into the opportunities we have to shape our summer experiences.

For educators, we know that summer means reconnecting with ourselves, with our families, and with our friends in rejuvenating ways. For many it means finally reading that book they didn’t have time to read during the school year. And others can gleefully take that trip they have been thinking about.

Regardless of summer plans, we know educators also have work to do over the summer. This work often includes a keener focus on becoming a better version of our teacher selves for the upcoming school year.

Working on mindfulness

es stones 280Summer is the perfect time to get centered. Here are 5 Ways to Find Your Center. So get centered and reap the benefits of experiencing daily tasks with equanimity. Want to learn even more about being centered? OK!

Finding and sustaining your best, radiant self can be achieved through mindful daily practices. If you focus on equanimity and equilibrium this summer, you can build the stamina and mindfulness needed to be the best version of your SELF.

This valuable work will be sure to follow you into the new school year. Check out this EdWeek Teacher article where I share 3 Things You Can Do This Summer to Be a Better Teacher in the Fall. Enjoy! See something you like or wonder about? Add your voice to the comments section below.

Resources for rejuvenation

As we achieve a mindful, centered self, we find our energy increases to achieve great academic feats. Summer time for teachers includes planning and preparing for the school year ahead. We outline instructional strategies and classroom structures that will be ready for action as schools open.

The following resources may be just what you need to launch and follow through for a collaborative year of learning.

  1. Co-Teaching Models: Review and deepen your understanding of the co-teaching models and mindsets by reading Marilyn Friend’s newest edition: Co-Teach! Building and Sustaining Effective Classrooms and Partnerships in Inclusive Schools. As you wait for your book to arrive, read through this review of the co-teaching models (a PDF) to remind yourself to reconnect with the importance of varying your co-teaching approaches during instructional moments. Now it’s time to take our learning and apply it to the next level. Once we have the co-teaching models solidly in mind, it’s time to plan in ways that will make meaningful learning happen!
  1. Co-Lesson Plans: Here’s a powerful article at TeachThought, sharing 10 Teacher Resources For Lesson Planning Tools and Templates. Another good lesson planning resource is a new book by Patti Ralabate: Your UDL Lesson Planner: The Step-by-Step Guide for Teaching All Learners, recently published by Brooks Publishing.
Click for more CAST tools.

Click for more CAST tools.

Also, be sure to tune in to the Free UDL Webinar Series provided by CAST Professional Learning. Each webinar is a productive way to spend about 45 minutes. Check out the archives where you will find some helpful topics such as Back to School with UDL (where I was one of the guest speakers). Also watch for a mid-July webinar (follow @CAST_UDL on Twitter) where Patti Ralabate and I will be sharing collaborative lesson planning ideas. Great learning happens through all of us connecting!

  1. Instructional Strategies: So we’re centered. We’re savvy with the co-teaching models and lesson planning structures. Now let’s make learning happen by maintaining high expectations for each learner in our classrooms. Make ANY lesson plan, ANY learning objective accessible to everyone by applying the principles of Universal Design for Learning. Check out the UDL Guidelines and see how you may apply within your daily instructional decisions. And as you’re ready for more UDL, view these free UDL learning tools provided by CAST. These resources are just what’s needed to create meaningful learning for diverse learners.

es elevating coteach udl 200Also, I am looking forward to empowering co-teachers to amplify learning and strengthen student learning outcomes through my new book: Elevating Co-Teaching through UDL to be released by CAST Professional Publishing this September!

I hope these resources and reminders will provide you with the rejuvenation you need to enjoy, learn, grow, and relax this summer! Use the comments section below to share your connections, questions, and ideas for summer relaxation and rejuvenation.

See you in August!

Elizabeth will host a book study of Todd Rose‘s The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness in July on Twitter at #UDLchat. Also follow her co-moderated Twitter chat #coteachat.

Elizabeth Stein

Elizabeth Stein has more than 20 years teaching experience spanning grades K-8, specializing in universal design for learning and special education. She’s currently a special education/UDL instructional coach and new-teacher mentor in Long Island NY’s Smithtown Central School District. Elizabeth is National Board Certified in Literacy, and a contributor to Education Week and other publications. Her books include Comprehension Lessons for RTI (Grades 3-5) (Scholastic, 2013), Elevating Co-Teaching Through UDL (CAST, 2016) and Two Teachers in the Room: Strategies for Co-Teaching Success (Routledge, 2017). Follow her on Twitter @elizabethlstein and #coteachat

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