The summer is a great time to enhance skills, improve units and add to professional knowledge. During the school year, teachers and principals are often so busy with teaching, planning, meetings, and data collection that there is little time left for their professional growth. In this article, we'll explore the three areas teachers and principals should focus on when constructing their summertime professional growth plans.
A Simple Summer Professional Growth Plan for Teachers & Principals
Even if educators and administrators do find the time to participate in professional development activities throughout the school year, their hectic schedules may mean that they don’t have time to digest the new information.
The summer is a both a quiet and productive time for principals and teachers. Educators can use the slower summertime pace to plan for the upcoming school year by reflecting on the information they acquired throughout the previous school year and can also gather new information.
Summertime is also a time for educators to relax and recuperate from the previous school year. This is why I propose summer professional growth plans only focus on three topics.
TOPIC 1: TECHNOLOGICAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR EDUCATORS
One of the roles a principal has (out of many) is that of technology leader.
If you are a principal, you have the task of exploring technological learning opportunities for your own growth and establishing a technology plan for the school, as well as assisting teachers in increasing their own technological skills. This summer, dedicate some time to establishing your school’s technology vision and goals in the upcoming year. Some items to consider are:
The purpose of integrating a technology plan — Is your vision to have technology integration throughout the curriculum or is it to use technology in order to streamline data collection, administration items, track progress, and so on?
The standards or objectives that will guide your vision and goals for technology integration into the learning process
The role of teachers (and staff) in integrating the technology plan into teaching and learning
The resources that are necessary for teachers and students to implement the school technology plan
How to reinforce the idea that learning goals and objectives — not devices or technologies — still drive classroom curriculum
How to communicate the technology plan and its integration into the classroom to families and community members
Once you’ve established your goals, you need to attend the appropriate workshops or online courses in order to enhance your skills so you can model the use of technology to teachers and other school staff who will be implementing it. Principals looking to facilitate technology integration into student learning or school administration should be comfortable with technology.
Finally, you will want to provide teachers with the resources and professional development opportunities they need to enhance their technological skills. Here are some simple ways principals can make technology-based professional development a priority this summer:
Offer teachers the opportunity to take home the school's laptops, iPads and/or Chrome pads over the summer.
Gauge the technological learning needs of your staff by setting up an online survey for teachers to take.
Offer different summer webinars that teachers can log onto. The webinars should be based on the technological learning needs of your staff.
Teachers don’t need to wait for the principal or district to integrate a detailed technology plan in the school!
There are hundreds of ideas and free resources that teachers can use right now to support their own instructional objectives and deepen their students’ learning.
This summer, dedicate time to learning about new technologies, researching the pros and cons of technology in the classroom, experimenting with tools, and increasing your own skills. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Research how technologies can support student learning.
Study which students (learning types) would benefit most from technology integration.
Brainstorm ways you can incorporate technology into your daily lessons and units.
One thing I did this year with my fifth graders that was really successful was to end every reading unit with presentations on what the students had learned. They were allowed to use any form of technology they wanted for their presentations. We called it our “unit celebration.” My students made PowerPoint presentations, Smartboard slides, iMovies, etc., and presented them to our class. The kids loved doing this and I could see what their big “take aways” from the unit were.
Attend webinars, enroll in online courses, and read books that explore the use of technology in teaching and learning.
TOPIC 2: CURRICULUM WORK
Curriculum work can be accomplished on a personal, school, and district level.
If you are a principal and you have any additional funding available, offer your teachers the opportunity to come in over the summer to work individually or as a grade level on units.
Teachers, inform your principal if you are interested in doing school curriculum work and ask about the availability of district curriculum work.
TOPIC 3: A BOOK STUDY
A great summer parting gift for your staff is a professional book.
Of course, make reading it optional, but give those teachers who are interested the opportunity to read and discuss the book in a book club when school resumes in the fall.
A book study is a good way to encourage learning over the summer!
Summertime is your chance to catch up on some of those professional reading books you never got to during the school year.
To ensure that you get to the books that will be most beneficial to making the upcoming school year better than last, prioritize your summer reading material before jumping in! If you come across a new professional read that looks promising, make sure you add it to the bottom of your list of “must reads” so you don’t get sidetracked.
If you want recommendations, check out my four suggested summer reading books for teachers and principals here.
Printable Professional Growth Plan Resources
RESOURCE 1: EASY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IDEAS FOR THE SUMMER
Despite the many benefits of professional development in the summer, teachers can have a hard time finding opportunities and finding the time to complete activities. Vocab Gal has created a tip sheet to help teachers and districts alleviate issues surrounding summer PD.
Download Vocab Gal's 7 Quick and Easy Professional Development Ideas for the Summer Tip Sheet now.
RESOURCE 2: WAYS TO BECOME A LITERACY-SAVVY PRINCIPAL GUIDE
The role of a principal is critical to boosting literacy success in a school. Being knowledgeable about and current on best practices in literacy instruction will make school leaders an invaluable resource for their staff.
Principals can download this guide and use it to become experts on literacy, or at least very savvy about literacy instruction this summer break.
RESOURCE 3: LEARNING AND LITERACY CENTERS IN THE CLASSROOM EBOOKS
There are some tangible advantages to including learning and literacy centers in the classroom. Experience has shown that students actually tend to be more engaged when they work in centers. The combination of self-directed activity and short, specific task lends itself to the natural strengths of the developing adolescent.
Students with special needs, in particular, report that they feel “safer” in these small groups. They are often able to learn from and with their peers while finding it easier to concentrate – especially in inclusive classrooms.
Download three eBooks by Dr. Katherine McKnight and learn how you can use learning centers in your classroom next school year.
Literacy and Learning Centers:
Literacy and Learning Centers:
Literacy and Learning Centers:
I hope that these three topics will help teachers and principals construct professional growth plans that will help them have a productive summer break. No doubt you could find much lengthier and detailed posts on the topic, but I believe that the summer break needs to include a tad more fun than work!
That being said, I’m always looking for new professional development activities for teachers. If you have a topic that you focus on throughout the summer that’s not mentioned above, please leave a comment!