Professional development – let’s talk about it! Since so many events have moved online, there really are quite a few opportunities available for teachers without the cost of traveling or hotels.
Why You Should Attend
One thing we know about summer is that we are in a completely different mindset than we are during the school year. When we are rejuvenated and well rested, our brains are more willing to learn and consider new ideas. Teachers are the types of people who love to improve, optimize, and learn new techniques. Anything to help our students… and it is usually required. 🙂
Choose one or two focus areas. You could go to many different professional development sessions and not really implement anything new, simply because you are on information overload. Or, you can pick a focus area and use your energy to implement some of those ideas.
Summer professional development isn’t all formal sessions in conference settings. There are also Facebook groups, online courses, and Youtube Channels with a wealth of knowledge.
Facebook groups have many benefits to collaboration. When I taught, I was the only 6th grade math teacher, so I had to reach out online when I had a question specific to my grade level’s content. I find that the more specific my question is, the better answers I receive. I also learned so much just reading other teachers’ questions and answers. It’s where I learned about Blooket and Go Formative! If you aren’t in a Facebook group and you teach middle school math, take a second and go join our Facebook group.
Speaking of which, this summer in our Maneuvering the Middle VIP Facebook group, we have a professional learning series planned for the summer using Facebook Live. Each week, we will share on a different topic that you can join in on the conversation. You can participate live by grabbing a cup of coffee and chatting along, or you can watch later when it’s convenient for your schedule. Mark your calendars for our summer learning series beginning in June.
The YouCubed Facebook group hosted by Jo Boaler provides out of the box ideas for developing a mathematical mindset.
I love the conversations in both of these groups because they are encouraging, uplifting, and helpful to better your craft as a math teacher.
There are also groups to help troubleshoot specific software like Nearpod, Flipgrid, or Canvas. You will be surprised by all the assistance you can receive from strangers on the internet.
When you find a useful post, click the 3 little dots, then click on “save post,” so you can access it quickly at a later date.
Online Professional Development
Online courses and workshops are another option to try. Our team will be participating in these three:
- How to Learn Math for Teachers by Jo Boaler
- Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler
- Pam Harris’s Workshops – She has several topics that relate to middle school math. Her adding fractions workshop changed my teaching!
CAMT (Conference for the Advancement of Mathematic Teaching) is usually held in Texas each summer. This year they are hosting it virtually and it is great for the wide variety of topics presented. You can probably find a handful of sessions that meet your specific needs. There are literally hundreds!
Mix and Math – Brittany shared her expertise on fractions and divisions on this post. Her Youtube channel has ideas for upper elementary math, but many of her ideas are transferable to middle school.
Shake Up Learning – Kasey is a technology, specifically Google, expert. If you have a question about Google, she has an answer.
I actually love books about teaching because you can easily reference them, and they often provide visual examples. You can find my favorite below:
About Teaching Mathematics | Mathematical Mindsets | Building Numerical Fluency | 5 Practices for Orchestrating Mathematics Discussions | Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics
What are you doing this summer to strengthen your teaching muscles?