8 Professional Development Ideas for the Summer
The summertime is a time to take a break and a breath from the rigors of the school year, but it’s also an opportunity to get in some professional development. While this might not be the time you typically think about learning more, there are plenty of unconventional ways to add some knowledge to your repertoire while still enjoying the summer vibes.
1. Local Museums
Whether it’s a children’s museum, an art museum, or your local history museum, look for exhibits that will inspire you. Look for science experiment ideas, new art techniques, and interesting approaches to history. Find little known facts about your local history. Travelling exhibits that are present now may be here during the school year for you to go on a field trip. Museums are a great asset for summer PD!
2. Common Sense Education
If your school is working closely with technology, becoming a Common Sense Educator is a great option for you. They offer tech training for teachers, schools, and districts. As a Common Sense Educator, you are kept up-to-date with the latest trends, like how to teach digital citizenship and new edtech tools, and you can earn a digital badge for your email signature as well as an email to your principal about your achievement. This is a great option for those of you looking to boost your knowledge of technology.
3. Apple and Microsoft
Both of these digital heavyweights offer training and certification for teachers. Your school most likely uses a combination of products from one or both of these companies. Microsoft has a certification exam with study materials to help teachers “provide a rich, custom learning experience for students.” Apple offers a digital, self-paced curriculum that helps teachers learn “everything to build a strong foundation” for using their hardware and software within the classroom. If you’re looking to boost your knowledge of how your technology can benefit your classroom, this is a great place to start.
The ASCD offers online PD courses that are self-paced. Their courses cover everything from classroom management to differentiated instruction to STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math). Here you can not only learn more for your classroom; you can earn credit for continuing education.
This PD website offers live training for credit, but it also archives sessions for you to view at your leisure for free. TeachersFirst has created 90-minute sessions that cover many topics like using Google more efficiently, teaching coding in the classroom, STEM ideas, and other digital edtech tools for your classroom. If your fingers are itching to add some technology to your classroom, Ok2Ask is an awesome place to dip your toes into the digital pool from the comfort of your own home.
6. Book Club
Whether you are a first year teacher or a veteran, there is always a list of books we would love to read but can’t find the time to read during the school year. Creating your own book club with your colleagues lets you hang out with friends over a cup of coffee or tea while learning something new for your classrooms. I’ve included a short list of books that would be great for teacher reads over the summer.
- “Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator” by Dave Burgess
- “The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child” by Donalyn Miller
- “The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way” by Amanda Ripley
- “Your First Year: How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher” by Todd, Madeleine, and Katherine Whitaker
- “These 6 Things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most” by Dave Stuart, Jr.
Unconferences are a new trend where the schedule is like a conference, but the content is decided upon by the attendees. Let’s say that there are several teachers that want to get together to learn a skill or best practice from each other. Each person would give a 30-minute to an hour long presentation to the others. This is a great way to tap into skills other teachers from your own school or other districts have in a smaller setting. It also prevents paying for an entire day of conferences where you attend sessions that may not specifically benefit your classroom.
8. Choice Board
A choice board is similar to a tic-tac-toe board where administrators can choose several professional development ideas that they would like teachers to complete before the following year. Teachers then get to choose what to complete for the professional development. Items on the list could include books to read, fun activities with family for a break, new tech tools for the coming year, or activities to discover new resources. There could even be incentives for completing the choice board. This is a great way to get teacher buy-in to learning more over the summer, but not necessarily requiring it to be done.
Do you have other alternative professional development ideas? Share with us on Twitter @Schoology