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The Ultimate Guide to Professional Development Summer 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Professional Development Summer 2018

When it comes to professional development, summer offers the rare opportunity for teachers to study what they want to study and to seek training in the methods that work best for them. However, it can be hard to figure out where to best spend one’s time. As we all know, summer is gone before you know it, so it’s important to have a plan of what you want to accomplish and how to do it before that last bell rings. Luckily, there are plenty of options that will pay dividends in the 2018–19 school year and beyond. Here are a few topics to study during your summer of professional development.

ELL Strategies

Soon, the nation’s public-school system may consist of a majority of minority students. States and districts across the country—in places you wouldn’t expect—are finding themselves unprepared for a growing number of English language learners (ELLs). In short, a time is coming where nearly every teacher will need a few strategies for students with low English-language proficiency. There are plenty of resources out there, including some outstanding books and websites. Even if you have no ELL students, these ideas tend to also be effective for many students who struggle in reading and/or speech. Check out the “ELLs” tag on our blog for a start.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are becoming less expensive and easier to use, which means more resources are available for teachers to bring them into the classroom. Now is an opportunity to be an early adopter in your school. In the case of AR, many devices that you would find in students’ pockets are now capable of consuming and creating AR content. If you believe these technologies have no place in your subject area, do yourself a favor and run a simple Google search of “AR in [subject area].” You’ll be amazed at what your colleagues have come up with!

Funding Sources

The landscape of government funding of education, philanthropy, and crowdfunding is always shifting. It seems like a new grant initiative from a major foundation is announced every week. It may not sound like your typical professional development topic, but figuring out where to find the latest funding sources and how to access them can have transformative effects on your practice for years to come. Grantsalert.com is a great start, as is the U.S. Department of Education’s grant site. We also have a blog post on where to look for new and creative sources of funding as well as a webpage devoted to resources on funding and grant information.

Digital Citizenship

Unfortunately, there is a need to teach students how to discern fact from fiction, share information responsibly, and interact with people in an appropriate manner online. These principles are of interest to every subject area and are independent of political leanings. You will start to see such content in many different curricula in the coming years, but there’s nothing wrong with starting early. You can save a lot of frustration later in the school year by avoiding substandard work products from students based on less-than-ideal sources, not to mention prevent losing class time due to the latest online controversy. You can find such PD materials from places such as Common Sense Education and NewseumED.

Interested in more sources of PD? Check out our ultimate guide to summer PD, featuring a list of books, podcasts, TED Talks, and more!