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Summer Professional Development Without Conferences and Meetings

Thursday, June 30, 2016 -- Scott Sterling

Summer is a time for relaxation, but teachers still want to keep their minds active, grow their practice, and return to school a better educator than when they left in June. That being said, not everyone can travel to expensive conferences or spend extra time at workshops. Here are a few ideas for summer professional development that can be done at home, on the beach, or by the pool.

Consider outside-the-box ideas

During the school year, when you hear about some cool new idea for your classroom, you probably don’t have time to fully research it, much less implement the change. Now, it’s summer. You have all the time in the world…or, at least it feels that way at the start.

Maybe it’s time to rethink your approach to grading or homework, and you’d like to dig into some literature on flipping the classroom or competency-based learning. Perhaps you’re due to have more ELL students or those with varying exceptionalities and you need some new intervention and differentiation strategies. Or, you’re simply bored and want to learn. Whatever the case, now is the time to transform your practice.

Expand your PLN

Just because you didn’t go to a conference this year doesn’t mean you can’t hear from and meet inspiring educators from around the world.

First, check out the wealth of Twitter chats out there for teachers. Here’s a list from ISTE, but new chats are being established all the time. You can also participate in some groups on Google+ or LinkedIn. Or, just spend the day on Pinterest—you’ll find plenty of resources and materials no matter what grade or subject you teach.

Take a MOOC

A Massive Open Online Course is a great way to learn from home. The offerings, which used to be more collegiate in nature, are growing to encompass all sorts of professions – including teaching. There are simply too many to cover here, so if you’re interested consult this list from mooc-list.

Read. Then read some more.

Teachers often don’t have the time to read for themselves during the school year. Whether it’s books that discuss education (deeply or esoterically) or have nothing to do with education at all, reading is both a stress-reliever and a mind-expander. Fit as much of it into the summer as you can.

Ready to get started with your summer of DIY professional development? Check out this summer reading list for educators!