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Staying Sharp over Summer: Free PD Resources

A MiddleWeb Blog

Sharpening Season

As a kid, I keep in mind my dad referring to those hotter, summer time months as ‘sharpening season.’ He would pull out our family’s historic but well-maintained lawn mower, remove the blade, and use an unlimited file to grind and clean it.

The blade’s edge – blunted and dulled from earlier mowing months – was whetted, honed, and sharpened till it was restored…able to deal with the challenges within the months to comply with.

For educators, summer time serves as an analogous ‘sharpening season’ of types. As a lot as we love educating, the end of the varsity yr presents priceless time and alternative to mirror, rejuvenate, retool, and ‘sharpen’ our expertise by means of exploration, learning, and professional improvement.

Luckily there isn’t any scarcity of quality, free studying assets for academics.

Chill out and Learn

Few issues are extra gratifying than a guide you simply can’t seem to place down…especially one that gives instructional insight and inspiration. With so many books on educating and learning, nevertheless, it can be exhausting to determine which one is value your time.

BookAuthority is my go-to website for staying up-to-date on the most effective educating and studying guide titles. It makes use of data-based know-how to determine, rank, and fee one of the best books using public mentions, recommendations, scores, reputation, and gross sales history.

General rankings are calculated purely based mostly on knowledge making certain that solely the easiest books are featured. Presently, the listing for one of the best printed books for academics this yr could be discovered right here with the perfect titles obtainable on Kindle listed right here.

Final yr, Jennifer Gonzalez put together a good-sized compilation of ebook titles for academics to review individually or with different educators.

Wabisabi Learning has a reasonably strong (and categorized) record of 60 plus skilled improvement books. For these of us who like recommendations from Amazon, it’s a cinch to remain present on the educating top-sellers in the class of Schooling and Educating by clicking right here.

And don’t overlook MiddleWeb’s ebook evaluation program! You possibly can choose a new or current title from their current listing. They’ll mail it to you (and even pay the postage). You’ll be able to set your personal deadline for returning a assessment, hold the guide, and see your writing shared here on the location and in MiddleWeb SmartBrief.

Leisure, Listening, and Learning

Podcasts are one other free, powerful device for introducing and advising academics on using evidence-based practices within the classroom (Kennedy et al., 2018). Consider them as learning alternatives in the form of lectures or radio exhibits which you could chill, chill out, pop in some earbuds, and take heed to.  Podcasts may be accessed on-line or downloaded by means of quite a lot of instruments like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and iHeartRadio.

In relation to summer time PD, some podcasts I might recommend exploring embrace:

The Ten-Minute Instructor Podcast that gives five episodes every week, every focusing on totally different themes in schooling (Motivational Mondays, EdTech Device Tuesdays, Fantastic Classroom Wednesdays, Thought Leader Thursdays, and Five Concept Fridays).

The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast is an excellent useful resource for learning about educating strategies, classroom administration, schooling reform, instructional know-how, and rather more. The present’s producer often consists of interviews with educators, college students, administrators, and fogeys concerning the psychological and social dynamics of faculty, commerce secrets and techniques, and educating/studying ideas.

The TeachThought Podcast explores quite a lot of subjects associated to educating akin to project-based learning, inquiry-based studying, personalised learning experiences, trendy information demands, emerging applied sciences, in addition to shifts relevant to educating in the 21st century.

Talks with Academics puts together the tales and inspiration behind America’s nice literacy educators. Every episode contains a grasp ELA/Literacy/English instructor who shares what works, what doesn’t, and wisdom gained from their years of classroom experience. Meant to boost morale and assist academics find joy and function, Talks with Academics is a superb Okay-12 resource.

The MindShift Podcast investigates improvements and issues which might be shaping how youngsters study. Just lately, subjects have included shocking techniques to cope with classroom disruptions; using podcasts to assist youngsters develop studying expertise, the results of overparenting, and using interdisciplinary studying to interact college students on all spots alongside the normal achievement spectrum.

TED’s Schooling Podcast is constructed on the concepts of a few of the world’s biggest educators, researchers, and group leaders about what future faculties might/ought to seem like, how brains study, and the way to assist students develop into successful.

ASCD Study Train Lead Radio is a superb resource for listening in on partaking conversations between established and rising schooling leaders, authors, specialists, and practitioners on quite a lot of subjects impacting faculties.

The Google Tribe Podcast gives ideas, tips, and hacks from Matt Miller and Kasey Bell that assist academics get probably the most of Google Classroom.

One distinctive podcast that was shared with me is the #EdChat Podcast. As soon as every week Tom Whitby, Nancy Blair, and members of the EdChat staff talk about and make clear instructional subjects which are trending on social media.

Larry Ferlazzo’s BAM! radio podcasts also function informative educator chats. Larry often has 2-3 visitors who talk about subjects they’ve lately written about at his Schooling Week weblog Classroom Q&A. These are quick PD listens – about 10 minutes each.

Lastly, John Spencer’s The Artistic Classroom share instruments, strategies, and tales to assist academics increase creativity and innovation of their lecture rooms. I notably like that John doesn’t mind sharing mistakes that he makes alongside his journey to enhance his craft.

Knowledge Via Webinars

A webinar is a brief Net-based seminar, or info sharing session that academics can either participate in in real time…or just view as an archived video afterward. Webinars permit academics to share experience, assets, ideas, and questions on instructional subjects. Under are a handful of my favorite webinar-caches for gleaning wisdom.

The ASCD Webinar Archive is a treasure trove of educating/learning perception from specialists in the area.  There are free webinars on every part from Tackling Attendance Challenges to The Neuroscience of Studying.

Schooling Week is one other great supply for upcoming and previous webinars on social emotional studying, selling constructive conduct, educational know-how, and quite a lot of different subjects. Aside from a couple of webinars accessible only to premium, or paid members, each webinar could be seen free of charge.

Educators concerned with subjects, points, and policy challenges being confronted by faculties around the nation ought to take a look at the National Schooling Association Webinars. Every webinar consists of downloadable assets information and a generic completion certificates.

NNSTOY’s YouTube channel gives a number of free video PD assets and recordings on tips on how to create lessons, culture, and educational practices that may lead to improved scholar efficiency. Additionally they have a growing listing of microbursts, or short-and-sweet webinars on Instructor Leadership.

Though not technically webinars, Edutopia’s Instructor Improvement Page provides a number of insightful videos/assets to assist educators develop instructor management and additional their capability to serve students. The American Federation of Academics additionally gives free PD assets, together with their common Share My Lesson platform.

On-line Professional Studying Communities

Collaborative skilled improvement typically proves rather more powerful than merely going it alone (Bates, Phalen, & Moran, 2016). Finding a web-based skilled improvement group over the summer time is one other nice strategy to interact with teams of academics in dialogue, publish and consider feedback/recommendations, and glean ideas/assets.

EdWeb is a gaggle of academics, librarians, and administrators working to share progressive and efficient concepts to improve instructor apply, in addition to scholar studying and preparation for school, careers, and life. They appear not only to offer PD webinars for those interested, but in addition to facilitate on-line PLC communities. These communities can request and create webinar periods, study from each other, trade concepts and methods, and workshop new concepts.

AllThingsPLC is an easy-to-navigate, collaborative, objective useful resource for educators and directors in search of to reinforce scholar achievement. It supplies a space for educators to ask questions, share information, and get professional perception into the issues educators face each day.

The TeachingChannel is a particularly sensible useful resource. Free membership gets you access to tons of of movies that outline emerging classroom methods. The location additionally has an outstanding weblog, where educators in the subject share their ideas and reflections on apply, and an internet “Q & A” group. The location does an incredible job of creating video-based PD periods that get a digital camera into the classroom, allowing you to observe methods in motion with real students and real educators.

TeachersFirst is an internet group for academics by academics. There are literally thousands of lessons, models, and reviewed net assets for Okay-12 classroom academics designed to complement educating and learning for each academics and their students.

In a current MiddleWeb publish, Susan Curtis, recommended using Twitter to seek out individual academics and hashtag teams. Doing so permits educators to develop their instructor network, glean/share ideas, and comply with subjects of interest. To get began, check out this introduction to ‘Twitter PD’ from TeachThought.

There Is No Hiatus from Learning

Schooling continues to grow more complicated and rigorous. With each passing yr, academics are anticipated to develop broader, extra specialised information of their discipline, interact college students, foster cognitive and noncognitive expertise within the classroom, make use of digital technologies, and help individual students from totally different backgrounds attain educational success (Stewart, 2018).

All professionals – especially educators – deserve a bit of relaxation and respite every so often. Summer time break might equate to a hiatus from the classroom, but that doesn’t have to mean a break from learning, rising, and creating as academics. Summer season is sharpening season.


Bates, M. S., Phalen, L., & Moran, C. (2016). On-line Professional Improvement: A Primer. Phi Delta Kappan, 97(5), 70–73.

Kennedy, M. J., Rodgers, W. J., Romig, J. E., Mathews, H. M., & Peeples, Okay. N. (2018). Introducing the Content material Acquisition Podcast Skilled Improvement course of: Supporting vocabulary instruction for inclusive middle faculty science academics. Instructor Schooling and Special Schooling, 41(2), 140-157.

Stewart, V. (2018). How Academics AROUND THE WORLD Study: From Singapore to Shanghai and beyond, nations are specializing in embedding teacher-led skilled learning of their techniques. Instructional Leadership, 76(3), 28.