To keep our students sharp over the summer, we often assign subject-specific reading, math drills, and projects. However, as educators, we also need to hone our own skills, develop new ideas, and reflect on our practice. Here are five ways to kickstart your summer learning.
1. Construct Your Learning Archive
When planning curriculum or attending professional development, we collect resources — both physical and digital. However, we need an efficient way to organize what we find valuable. In the past, this has resulted in the accumulation of binders or folders, but now we also have files scattered across devices.
Take time this summer to create a learning archive. A great digital system supports the individual learner and can be saved, searched, or shared. Whether you choose Evernote, OneNote, or Google Drive, think about how you can start organizing all of your learning and making it accessible from any device and at any time. If you prefer handwritten notes on paper, make sure to pick a tool that allows you to easily take pictures of those notes, add them to your archive, and search them later.
In addition to collecting notes, think about how you might archive online resources. You could add links and notes to a Google Doc or an Evernote note, or build a shareable library using Diigo or Pinterest.
Not only is summer a great time to get organized for the coming school year, but it’s also a fantastic time to explore.
2. Read for Inspiration
Though many schools assign summer reading books to their faculties, we would recommend adding one of these titles to your list:
500 Activities for the Primary Classroom by Carol Read
Children Learning English by Jayne Moon
Learning Teaching: A Guidebook for English Language Teachers by Jim Scrivener
Teaching Practice by Roger Gower, Diane Phillips and Steve Walters
Teaching English Grammar by Jim Scrivener
3. Design Your Digital Space
If you already have or want to set up a class website or blog, an email newsletter for parents, or a learning management system take time over the summer to design and test your digital space.
4. Redesign Your Physical Space
Your current students have become comfortable in your classroom, office, or lab. They understand your expectations and routine. Fast-forward to fall. What do you want your students to think when they enter your space? Is this a class where they’ll engage in group work and discussion? Do they have choice in how they demonstrate their learning? What do you have on the walls? Where is your desk? All of these considerations help set the tone for your students.