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Planning Your Super Summer Vacation


There is a myth out there that teachers have summers off. And we know that’s just wrong. So let’s move on.

Summer vacation is training season. It’s prepping classrooms, improving curriculum, and capitalizing on professional development opportunities.

We like the idea of planning super summer vacations - months dedicated to learning, growing, rebuilding,and rejuvenating. So we collected summer vacation activities geared at making next school year your best yet.

Summer Vacation Idea: Build the Digital Resource Library of Your Dreams

Awesome summer project #1: a digital resource library for your courses.

An online arsenal of scholarly works, key textbook chapters, videos, podcasts, or images related to your course will be your favorite thing next year: Especially if you take the summer to stockpile your favorite resources and organize them for the upcoming term.

By keeping info in the cloud, we make it a little easier for your students to find course-related info no matter where they are. You’ll also save yourself oodles of time when class is in session. Send folks to your online library for more info as homework is assigned and exams are scheduled. One less thing you’ll have to do then.

Get into the Podcast Game

Now is the time to catch up on all those podcasts you said you would listen to six months ago.

If you haven’t gotten in the podcast game yet, here are a few suggestions to get you started. These bite-sized stories can be consumed poolside, in the car, or on your way to a staff meeting.

One more podcast plug: they’re a great way to keep your ear to the ground on what’s happening in education and what new tools might be worth testing this summer. And if you are looking for a little relaxation during these months - as you should be - you’ll find plenty of podcasts geared at sharing stories from the classroom (shout out to Slate’s fantastic Ask a Teacher series). Lots of laughs and inspiration to be had.

We’re biased. This is our favorite summer activity.

Your super summer should definitely work in a test drive of some new tools for your classroom. Maybe you have a list of items that have piqued your interest during the school year. Maybe you’re looking for some fresh inspiration.

For those without a list of must-try tools, Richard Byrne’s wonderful Free Technology for Teachers is a much-trusted and widely read site covering tech tools for almost anything you want to do in the classroom. And as the title suggests, you’ll find lots of freebies: So no worries about dropping lots of dollars on your summer trial runs. Similarly, you’ll find lots to get excited about on Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, a site run for teachers, by teachers.

Piloting new tools during the summer is a choice activity to take on with your colleagues. Much like a regular book club, consider a tech tools club.

Trying new resources with others will deepen your understanding of a product. As much as we can learn on our own, we can multiply that by sharing the experience. Perhaps a colleague will discover a use for a tool you hadn’t considered at first glance, or you’ll identify a major shortcoming of a product that other teachers had not noticed when testing solo.

If your tech tools club is interested in looking at the bigger picture, this season could be a good time to undergo a digital assessment. This just means your tool-testing is accompanied by a larger, more thoughtful audit of everything you’re using, what’s working, what’s not, and what steps must be taken to fill any gaps or achieve larger ed-tech goals.

Create a Space to Connect with Your Colleagues

And on that note, you’re not in it alone this summer. Your network of fellow educators is out there; they’re also training, planning, organizing, and pumping up for next year just like you. Now is an opportune time to reconnect with them and learn together.

There is always the conference route. While this can be a more expensive way to expand your network and infuse your professional development plan for the summer with new ideas, the returns can be huge. Conferences mean new faces, new tools to demo, new resources, and new ideas.

A smaller-scale (and lower-cost) option is setting up a professional development space for your fellow teachers within your institution. We’ve seen teachers set up a class for faculty within the Chalkup platform, using resource libraries and discussion spaces to share ideas, lesson plans, articles, and videos. It’s a place for faculty to skillbuild together.

Chalkup is a class collaboration platform that keeps classes connected, organized, and equipped to learn more.  Read more on their blog.


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