Friday, June 12, 2009

Your Summer Assignment...

Now that the classrooms have fallen silent and the hallways have emptied, I have had some time to reflect and I have decided that you should have a summer assignment. Not because you haven't completed your work throughout the school year, but because you want to become a better teacher, a more connected, digital teacher. So, over the course of the next 3 months you have 5 things I want you to do. Here they are in no particular order...

1) Join Twitter (If you haven't already...) Over the past several months since I have joined I have a joined a network of amazing educators. The "in-term" is PLN (Professional Learning Network). We share resources, stories, advice, encouragement, and lots of humor. I have connected with people from as far away as Australia and Asia. My education and technology knowledge has grown exponentially and I have discovered more websites/tools/tips/tricks then I ever would have on my own. Need help? Below are some sites to get you started...
Read This Post On Using Twitter In Education
Read This Post On The 10 People In Education You Should Follow
Read This Post On The 100 Tools For The Twittering Teacher
Go To The Twitter4Teachers Wiki To Find Others To Follow And Add Yourself To The List.

2) Investigate Tools To Use In Your Classroom...There are thousands of different tools that can enhance your classroom, your teaching and and truly change the way you teach. But where do you start? Which ones should you be using right now? Your assignment this summer is to find 10 new tools to use with your students or in your classroom next year. Could be a web-based calendar, note-taking service, or something else your find, but you need to find something. Below are some good places to start....
Why Change?
Transforming The Flat Classroom-Web 2.0 In Education
Read This Post On The Go2Web20-The Ultimate Web 2.0 Tool Directory.
Visit This Directory Of Over 400 Web 2.0 Tools

3) Start A Blog or Wiki...Blogs and wikis are a great way to communicate outside the walls of your classroom and highlight your students. You can also continue lessons beyond the school day by having students collaborate at home. There are tons of examples of blogs and wikis that are used in the classroom and lots of services to use. Here are some resources...
Blogs vs. Wikis
21 Days of Wiki Adoption
Elementary Wiki Example
A Teacher's Blog
Educational Blogs You Should Follow..Right Now!

4) Put Your Bookmarks Online....If you are like me you have some where in the neighborhood of 3000 bookmarks. Ok so you may not be like me but you may be looking for a way to have access to them wherever you are. Social Bookmarking is the best way to store your bookmarks, and discover new ones. You can also create specific lists for your students for projects and assignments. Here are some links to check out...
Delicious Social Bookmarking Site Users Guide
Diigo Social Bookmarking Site Users Guide

5) Read a book....Summertime for teachers is an awesome time! There are vacations and lots of time off. But use it wisely. There is always time for a little professional development. While you relax at the beach mountains, lake or on your front porch, take some time to read. Below is my list with a link to the Geeky Momma's Blog where you can find more recommendations...
What Great Teachers Do Differently by Todd Whitaker
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina
The End of Education by Neil Postman
You Haven't Taught Until They Have Learned by Swen Nater and Ronald Gallimore
The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter
Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Sir Ken Robinson

An Educators Summer Reading List

6) I know I said I would only do 5 but there is one more thing I want you to do...return here each week and let me know how you are doing. I will have a new post each Wednesday throughout the summer. Feel free to leave me a comment on something new you discovered or anything else that comes to mind...

I really could assign more things but I think 6 is enough. So go forth, learn, and transform your classroom by doing a little homework this summer!



  1. Very nice list - not overdone or overwhelming. I've done all five in the last six months and it truely has transformed my approach to the classroom.

  2. Definitely going to pass this along to my teachers!

  3. Very good list. I finish grad school on July 1 so, I will only get to do about half. BUT, I am definitely working on the whole blog idea for class next fall.

  4. does that trashy romance novel I finished last night count as "reading a book"?

  5. Interesting! My goal this summer was to figure out how to incorporate web 2.0 in my courses. I am proud to say that I completed your steps, without having read your post. I would also add set up a rss reader to subscribe to official blogs of the web tools and unofficial blogs of those who use the web tools.