Summer PD Ideas for Teachers: The “Summer Lab” Experience

By. Craig Perrier

Summer and school vacation have just begun! And although it will fly by quickly, this time of the year offers the time and opportunities to develop your educational craft.  Two core parts of this journey involve determining how you want to engage and what practice you want to nurture. For example, as I author this piece, I just finished co-facilitating a seven day cohort with 30 social studies teachers. The event combined the development of both curriculum design and teacher leadership practices. 

When I reflect on this experience, three thoughts come to the surface.  First, paid cohort experiences are not always available in every school district can provide their teachers. Second, seeing educators successfully collaborate across grade level is always invigorating. Finally, working with educators to realize a shared vision is a way great way to start the summer.  We all ended the event wanting more.

That next experience for me with another group of educators invokes the power of experimentation and innovation. I call it the “Summer Laboratory.”  In short, teachers use this time to research, design, and plan to implement a new practice or refine on they had tried this past school year.  This type of PD can be done in so many ways – online, in -person, formally, informally, individually, or with a partner or group.  My suggestion is that before you embark on the lab pathway, identify what topic and approach will keep you motivated to carry out the experience to its end.

The Educator Marketplace is an ideal space for defining these key aspects. Here are some of my favorite “areas of innovation” for you to explore and make you summer PD dreams a reality.

  • Technology: This area of the Educator Marketplace is overflowing with inspiration for your hardware, software, and digital hobbies to bring to your students.
  • School Supplies: Being prepared is essential for innovation to happen.  This page can support any level of students and facilitate your new practices’ success.
  • Curriculum:  The stuff we use to teach students and how it is presented matters!  I suggests checking out this area with a thought partner or co-teacher mindset
  • Environment and Setting: Teaching and learning happen better when the space you are in feels welcoming and safe.  PD about your class setting is key and these deals offer a lot for your consideration.

Professional development should be purposeful, meaningful, and fun!