Jun 18 2013

7 Ways to Become a Better Teacher This Summer

List of professional development resources helps teachers make classroom improvements.

Summer break is a lot of things for teachers. It’s a needed and well-deserved respite from the classroom grind — no papers to grade, no calls from parents, no staff meetings or students to tend to. But it’s not all rest and relaxation.

Most teachers, especially younger educators, will portion off a good chunk of their three-month classroom hiatus to hone their craft, revise and rewrite lesson plans, and familiarize themselves with the latest tools and educational technologies in preparation for the school year ahead.

Looking for a few ways to step up your teaching game next fall? Here’s a list of professional development (PD) resources to get you going this summer.

77 Web-Based Resources for Teachers

Education consultant and blogger Richard Byrne has compiled a long list of recommended web resources for teachers. You’re probably familiar with some resources on his list, such as Google’s family of education sites and Edublogs, the popular social media site for teachers. More obscure resources to try include TodaysMeet, an online tool that lets teachers field questions from students about a lesson after the fact, and "Own Your Space," a free ebook written to help students learn to protect themselves and their personal information online. Check out these and the 73 other resources on Byrne’s summer list.

ASCD Conferences and Workshops

Looking for somewhere to go this summer? Who needs a trip to the beach when there are so many educational conferences and workshops to attend? I kid, of course. Relax. Recharge. And when you get back, consider some of the workshops, online courses and other resources offered through ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development). ASCD offers professional development for educators on a range of topics, from relevant articles and videos about the 21st-century skills gap to online courses about the impending Common Core State Standards to workshops and conferences for continuing professional development. The site features a combination of free and paid resources.

Edutopia Blogs and Other PD Resources

Edutopia, the nonprofit educational publisher supported by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, features a Summer Professional Development Blog Series. The resource includes a series of online teacher boot camps that aim to help teachers integrate the latest social learning tools into the classroom. Learn to incorporate Wordle, the web-based tool for creating word clouds in reading and vocabulary lessons, or Storybird, the interactive online story publisher, into existing lesson plans. Want more? The Edutopia site also contains resources for improved project-based learning, literacy, and a primer on compiling digital resources in the classroom.

Expand Your Worldview Through the Peace Corps

With an eye toward global education, the Peace Corps features a vast collection of professional development resources for educators. Check out the latest in online PD from top universities and associations, research global education certificate and degree opportunities, network with colleagues in the United States and elsewhere through educator-specific forums, and find new ways to see the world in the service of K–12 education.

Get Creative With Tim Holt

Director of Instructional Technology for the El Paso Independent School District Tim Holt is a 25-year education veteran and a past president of the Science Teachers Association of Texas. He’s also the producer and star of Holt Think, a periodic Tumblr and video blog series about education, creativity, technology and school administration. In his final video blog of the school year, published May 23, Holt offers a few ideas for do-it-yourself professional development.

“Teachers love to have professional development tailored to them,” says Holt. “But what’s happened over the years, especially with the explosion of the internet, is that it’s very hard to tailor professional development to individual needs.” If teachers want that individuality, Holt says the best way to find it is on their own. He suggests teachers subscribe and listen to podcasts, such as those offered through TED Talks or National Public Radio, or read books that tackle broader questions about education, such as how to integrate tablets and other devices into the classroom.

Teachers can also take free online courses, Holt says. Learn how to integrate massive open online courses into the classroom, for example, or take a course on the flipped classroom through the University of Texas at Austin — all for free! For more examples, watch his video.

13 ‘Must-Know’ PD Resources for Teachers

From the editors of Educational Technology and Mobile Learning comes a list of 13 professional development resources that will help you integrate technology in the classroom. Cruise the resources and videos available on Discovery Education’s popular educator website or read and print the dozens of teacher development articles featured in Education Week’s Teacher PD Sourcebook. Other resources include a special educator page from chipmaker Intel; tips for integrating technology and online tools from Common Sense Media; and Teachers’ Domain, a free service from the WGBH Educational Foundation.

What Will You Learn This Summer?

This repository was originally developed last summer, but the resources and tools compiled by educator Shelly Sanchez Terrell for her Edublog, Teacher Reboot Camp, are just as relevant today. Learn how to become a better education technology leader in 31 days or take education veteran and blogger Steven Anderson’s 10-week course and learn how to integrate Web 2.0 tools into the classroom. You can also access a series of archived interviews and courses featuring respected education leaders and get help integrating massive open online courses — and more!

What are your plans for summer vacation? Tell us in the Comments. 


Become an Insider

Unlock white papers, personalized recommendations and other premium content for an in-depth look at evolving IT