Summer Learning

Last night, I read this great blog post by my previous vice principal, Kristi. She spoke about “summer plans,” and not just vacation choices, but also professional development plans that would make her “two months off,” not just “off time.” As Kristi mentions in her post, teaching can be hard work, and this vacation time is definitely enjoyed, but many educators do more than just rest.

While I love the chance to meet up with friends and go on some fun summer adventures, I also have “learning plans” for July and August.

  • For three weeks in July, I’m going to teach a multi-age summer school program. I’ve worked at the same place for over 20 years, and I love the opportunity to work with amazing students, parents, and staff. Many of these students have a variety of academic and social needs, and this teaching experience always helps me get better at differentiating, trying new approaches, and truly tailoring a program to each individual student. 
  • Reading and learning more about the Maker Movement and Coding. This has been my first year dabbling in “making” and “coding,” and in many ways, I think that these experiences have led to more questions than answers. I need to do some more thinking. I need to do some more playing (with the online programs and apps, as well as with tools such as Sphero and the Makey Makey — I hope to connect with a teacher in our Board, Enzo, for “playing time” with these). I need to do some more reading. I just downloaded Invent To Learn by Silvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager, and I’m excited to read this book over the holidays. Come the end of August, I really hope to have a better understanding of what “making” and “coding” can look like in a primary classroom, and why these options may be beneficial to students.
  • Learning more about play-based and inquiry-based learning. Inquiry has been a real passion of mine for the past couple of years, and this year, thanks to educators that tweet under the #ReggioPLC hashtag as well as a fellow Grade 1 teacher, Lori St. Amand, I’ve been thinking more about the role that “play” plays in inquiry. I’ve had a few recent a-ha moments, and these experiences have really made me think about the benefits of small group instruction over full class instruction and what full class instruction should look like. I’d like to use this summer to read back over the #ReggioPLC tweets, look at some resources listed, and connect with people that share different ideas (both face-to-face and online). I think that these connections could really lead to some positive changes for next year. 
  • Planning for next year. While there are always opportunities to connect at school, especially during the last week in August, the summer also provides a nice stress-free time to plan. I love being able to sit outside, or even go out, walk around, and chat and plan at the same time. Plans don’t always need to be written down. Sometimes it’s just nice to connect with teaching partners, exchange ideas, talk about student needs and curriculum expectations, and think ahead to a new school year. This planning time is also nice to do with some colleagues that teach at different schools, but teach the same grade and/or embrace the same philosophy. It’s also nice to hear about how others plan on making things work, and I definitely intend to do this over the summer.

What are your summer learning plans? Maybe the best way to help the public see that the summer is not just “time off” is to blog, tweet, or talk about these learning plans. Thanks to Andrew Campbell, many Ontario educators are currently taking to Twitter to share how we use our prep time (#mypreptime) and what we do for our students (#4MyStudents). In many ways, our summer learning ultimately benefits our students, so maybe we could continue to use the #4MyStudents hashtag to share this learning all summer long. Let’s change perception by sharing what we do for kids! What do you think?


2 thoughts on “Summer Learning

  1. You have so many plans, Aviva! Thank you for sharing. I think teaching is one of those professions that is hard to turn “off” but we can take the time to explore, play and try out new things in summer that we can then use the following year. I’m looking forward to learning how your thinking about coding evolves. I have a lot to learn about that too.

    • Thanks for the comment, Kristi! I’ve been thinking a lot about summer plans recently, and your post inspired me to share them. With the relaxed nature of the summer, it’s nice to have this time for “learning,” while also “relaxing.” And as for coding, this is one of my biggest summer plans. I dabbled with it this year. Now I’m determined to find out more about how it can connect to curriculum and meaningful learning for young students. I’m interested in seeing what’s possible … and I’m excited to do some “playing” of my own. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *