It’s that time of year that all teachers have waited for, especially this year. Your students have grown and learned and you can now send them on to the next grade level or out into the world, wishing them the very best. Once you’ve said those tearful goodbyes, how will you then spend your summer? I’ve got some ideas for you.
Take a Break First
The very first thing you should do this summer is take a break and RELAX! You have been amazing this year, in spite of everything that the world threw at you, and you deserve some time to recharge and rejuvenate. Here are a few fun ways to do that digitally:
- Slow TV Map – This site lets you select a location in the world and then watch a video of a walking or driving or boating tour of that area. It’s a great way to see other places without having to pack or wear a mask. Where do you want to go?
- Standard Ebooks – Download some new and FREE ebooks to your favorite device and take a virtual vacation in your mind. “Standard Ebooks is a volunteer-driven project that produces new editions of public domain ebooks that are lovingly formatted, open source, free of copyright restrictions, and free of cost.” If you have an Amazon account (and who doesn’t these days???), you can use the Free Kindle Books website to find and access free books for the Kindle reader app.
- Stay connected with those far away from you and enjoy an online game, complete with an amazing buzzer system. Crowd Buzzer offers a way to give everyone a virtual buzzer and keep track of who has buzzed in during a family or friend game night. You have to provide the trivia questions, but those can be found in lots of places on the web.
Challenge Yourself to Try Something New This Summer
After you’ve had time to relax some, you should give your mind a recharge this summer by trying something new. This will cause more neural pathways to be developed in your brain and stimulate learning. Here are some possibilities:
- Sodaphonic – This is a great, free website devoted strictly to helping you record and edit audio online. It works on any device and is so simple that even I can use it! What stories do you have to tell? What about those family members or friends around you? Try creating a recording of a favorite recipe, a family tradition, or just some jokes that you particularly like. Sodaphonic does not require registration to use, but if you do register for free, there are a few additional benefits. There is also a Chrome extension to download.
- We all love the ease of Amazon for fast shopping and delivery. But it’s important to remember that there are local businesses out there who still need our support and who can provide some of the very same items. This article has two different websites and a great free browser extension that will help you find exactly what you are looking for from a nearby business, quickly and easily.
- Beautify your presentations for the next school year with the tremendous information and examples shared in this Make It Pretty Google Slide. It has links to styling tips for fonts, colors, images, and templates. Everyone loves a makeover!
- Spark your curiosity and connect with people from around the world with What’s Going on in This Picture? This site from the New York Times offer a different photo each day and encourages viewers to share what they think is happening. While designed for student use, it’s also great for getting adult minds thinking, too.
- Try out a new search engine (yes, there are others besides Google!). Carrot2 is a different kind of search engine that organizes the results into topics for you. This makes it much more user-friendly than just a long list. Or take back your privacy by using DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn’t track where you go or sell any of your information.
Start Planning for the Next School Year
Be well-prepared for the next school year by getting a jump on planning this summer. Here are a few things to try:
- Download the free-to-anyone TCEA ebook Digital Icebreakers. The ebook contains nine unique activities along with all of the instructions, templates, and resources you need to replicate them. It also showcases examples and suggestions for how to use each activity in your learning space.
- Start the year off right by really getting to know your students. This article has lots of exercises you can use to learn about their wants and needs and to help them get to know each other. (After the year we’ve all had, none of us are the same person we used to be.)
- If your students will be learning from YouTube videos this next year (and trust me, they already are!), use the tool Reclipped to highlight, note, and share important moments from those videos. There is a free plan and it is great to get started with. The Basic plan is just $1.99/month and has tons more features.
- Take videos to the next level with VideoAnt. VideoAnt is a web-based video annotation tool for mobile and desktop devices. You can use it to add annotations, or comments, to web-hosted videos, allowing your students to have online discussions about the videos they are watching. VideoAnt is from the University of Minnesota and is free.
- How will you have your students reflect on and document their learning this next year? This article has several different free tools that you can use. All of these online tools are easy-to-use, designed for classroom use, and are especially excellent for supporting student reflection and voice.
Finally, I have to mention the many online, self-paced courses available for educators from TCEA. These are the perfect way to add to your skillset this summer in a work-when-you-want-at-your-own-speed way. Courses are priced from just $29 to $49 each and provide 12 hours of CPE credit, a digital badge, and a digital certificate, along with amazing learning. Some of our newest courses include:
- Blended Learning
- Choice Boards for Educators
- Seesaw Educator and Seesaw Content Creator
- Completely revised and updated Google Educator Level 1 and Google Educator Level 2
- Teacher/Library Collaboration
- And almost 50 other topics!
How will you spend your summer? TCEA staff members will be working throughout the summer months and are always available to help you with a question or need. Just reach out to us! And enjoy your summer!