Blog post by Julia Mongeau
When the bell sounds on the last day of school in June, teachers and educators may get a quick breather, but then it’s back to the drawing board to prep for the upcoming school year.
Librarians, language teachers, and high school history teachers shared their summer prep plans with LearnLaunch. Many teachers took advantage of their free time to learn new technology and made plans to incorporate more tech into their lesson plans. Check out what these New England teachers are doing to make the 2016-2017 school year a success.
“School prep is like a chameleon, never the same year to year. One year might find me spending three weeks taking professional development, from the six day summer institute in digital learning from URI, attending a course at RISD, viewing webinars, researching Twitter suggestions from educators to be investigated, practicing new technologies like Aurasma or QR codes. Catching up on your professional journals at the beach and spending an afternoon browsing the new books at a local store to order for your library are ‘relaxing prep’.”
– Lisa Casey Jamestown, RI
“Read 20 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award nominees and write 4-5 questions for each. Learn coding (taking all day workshop). Learn Google classroom, Google Docs, Google Slides, through tech-ed online workshop training. Prepare keyboarding curriculum and signing on to typing.com. Meet with technology personal and create technology plan for the year etc.
Attend library two-day conference. Work on webpage. Create Pathfinder for teachers of e-books/data bases/subscriptions/instructions for catalog searching to view before school starts so they know how to integrate with their curriculum of what is available.”
— Sharron Rothberg Foster, RI
“Currently at one of the high schools, I have taken this time for personal professional development. After reading the book, “The Learning Commons: Seven Simple Steps to Transform Your Library,” I revamped my freshman orientation session as well as redesigned some of the pages of the library website. My next step is to read a book about high school students transitioning to college in terms of information literacy, which is one of my ongoing goals in teaching.”
– Susan Samotey Evje Cranston, RI
“I read a lot all the time, but I really step it up over the summer. I participate in the Rhode Island Mock Newbery, so I try and read a lot of middle-grade books that are getting Newbery buzz. I check several blogs and Jen J’s spreadsheet that tracks starred reviews, and then order books from the public library to read. I do the same thing for Mock Caldecott, which I do with 1st and 2nd graders. I read close to 100 new picture books each year and choose about a dozen to share with my students. Right now there are seven on my short list.
“Finally, my big goal this summer is to get my curriculum posted online using the LibGuides platform. This will let parents know exactly what we do in library, enable colleagues to borrow ideas, and make it less of a catastrophe if I leave my flash drive at home. I’ve gotten as far as building the framework for each grade level.”
– Meredith Moore Cranston, RI
“In June, just after school got out, I participated in a workshop about project-based learning. I also spent a little time in June and early July beginning to build some Google sites that I may use in class this year. I am trying to become more familiar with the educational tools in Google (especially Classroom and Sites), since we are being strongly encouraged to use them.
“I will also be teaching History Through Film for the first time next year, so I have spent time gathering some of the movies used for the class and looking over materials used by another teacher who will be teaching the course again. I am anticipating that the marathon movie-watching sessions will begin this coming week!”
– Lisa Lord Melrose, MA
I took three classes this summer – a Hispanic literature, thematic, and language proficiency course. I’ve been working on two RND projects. We started one at the end of June to align our curriculum with national proficiency targets. We do a backward design; what do we want our students to be able to do and how are we going to get there? I want to slow down and stop throwing grammar at them, and cut back on the content I expect them to learn. I like having that fresh start again in the fall.
– Leora Seri, Medfield, MA
Because this is my first teaching job, I have a few days of new teacher training, learning about the systems my school will be using and other things like that. I am a Special-Ed teacher so I will be co-teaching with General Ed teachers. We will all meet before school starts to look over the curriculum and our vision for the year. At that time, I can make necessary modifications for the students who receive services. That will be the last two weeks of August before school starts!
– Allison Foley Malden, MA
“I am learning a new web software often used by libraries called LibGuides. Our state organization called RILINK would like us all to switch our web pages over to LibGuides by the Fall, so I’ve been busy learning the software and creating library webpages for my two schools. I attended a 3-day Google Apps for Education (GAFE) training. Our district (South Kingstown) became a Google district last year, so though I’ve had years of personal use of Google Gmail, there are a ton of things and tools available, as well as add-ons and apps to know about.
“We are doing a lot more with Digital Citizenship this year—its always been an element of our instruction, but we’re formalizing our curriculum- using Common Sense Media as a basis. I’m preparing some units using Common Sense Media, and experimenting with a Blended Learning/Flipped approach to these units, or at least some of them.
“I’m reading lots of the new kids books so I can be well prepared when doing reader’s advisory- an important part of our jobs as school librarians- got to capture that reluctant reader and satisfy our avid readers!”
– Martha Badigian South Kingston, RI
“Last year was my first year as a School Library Media Specialist, and I was hired late last summer, so I started my job with my feet on the ground running! This summer, I did a lot of the work that I wanted to do all year and didn’t have time. I did a thorough weeding of the nonfiction collection and cleaned the library office. I did two professional development classes: one of GAFE (Google Apps for Education) and one on blended learning. Since I did those two courses, I’ve worked on getting my computer literacy courses ready on a blended learning platform. I did my first fiction book order. I’m also researching ebooks and how they might fit in my library.”
– Dee Carlino Wakefield, RI
Editor’s note: Responses were edited for length