Summer is a time when teachers have more time to plan their courses for the upcoming school year. With curriculum standards constantly changing and evolving, this is no easy task. Further, summertime can also be a time during which teachers undertake professional development for their own self-edification.
In this spirit of planning and learning, curriculum directors can help teachers make the most of their summertime planning by suggesting the following activities:
1. Involve teachers in creating new action plans.
Summer can be the best time to develop longer-term teaching and learning goals. If you’re interested in creating far-reaching learning plans, summer may be your only opportunity to make those happen.
For example, some curriculum specialists can engage teachers and staff to create action plans that span multiple grade levels. You could meet with teachers virtually to simplify their ability to participate.
2. Ask teachers what resources they need for the upcoming school year.
Teachers may be so overburdened during the school year that they don’t have time to consider the resources they need to teach more effectively. Does one instructor need new textbooks for her changing classroom? Would another value more paraprofessional time during his complicated lessons?
Encourage teachers to make these preparations early; it’s much easier to plan ahead than make changes when challenges arise.
3. Encourage teachers to study curricula holistically before teaching lesson-by-lesson in the fall.
One of the reasons the United States falls behind other industrialized nations in math is because teachers often teach the subject on a lesson-by-lesson basis. Instead, teachers of all subjects can teach more effectively if they understand how learning modules incorporate lessons and how these modules build into the larger curriculum.
Suggest that teachers consider what they’re teaching in month- or semester-long units. They can create complex curriculum maps over the summer.
4. Incentivize creating a repository for assignments and assessments.
Now that cloud services are available, teachers can share effective assignments and assessments more easily than ever before. Demonstrate that you value the lessons that teachers are creating for themselves, and save other teachers time creating assignments, by developing a repository for teachers to share materials they have created.
5. Offer easy-to-access learning modules on innovative teaching practices.
Without a doubt, there are always new and innovative teaching practices in development. Many of these methods have been denoted “best practices,” but teachers don’t always have time to keep up with innovations in their fields during the school year.
Simplify this kind of learning for teachers by creating best practices modules or by partnering with an educational development firm to create custom content. Incentivize this kind of professional development by offering teachers online badges for them to add to their online portfolios. Often, the issue isn’t that teachers don’t want to stay up to date with new resources; it’s that they don’t know where to start.
Teachers are willing and committed to spending the summer months productively. With some professional development preparation on your end, you can help them reach their instructional goals as well as work on some of their dream projects.