It’s official (for me) – summer has arrived! Closing activities completed, comments written, an awesome Summer Spark conference in the books, Wisconsin temperatures actually in the 70s … so now it’s on to #SummerSSPD! What’s my plan? What’s your plan? Can we plan together?
In my mind, summer is the best time for personalized professional development, as I can really dig in to the topics and tools I want to examine without worrying about the next class, the after school meeting, the massive email chains, and more. There are outstanding PD offerings available for all teachers, and the litany of possibilities for social studies is amazing. Here’s what I hope to do – hopefully some of these ideas can offer a little inspiration and collaboration:
READ – It’s something I never have time to do during the school year – and there are so many amazing titles that we can choose from! Anyone want to start a #summersspd book chat? I will definitely consume a few of my favorite terrorism CIA espionage guy-that-can-kill-you-with-a–spoon thrillers, but I also want to dive into some books for content and pedagogy. I plan on opening with A History Teacher’s Toolbox by Russel Tarr (@russelltarr), then re-examining Explore Like a Pirate and Play Like a Pirate from my pals Michael Matera (@mrmatera) and Quinn Rollins (@jedikermit), coming up with additional ways to incorporate their awesome ideas into my class (they are both SS teachers, of course!) For content, I plan on digging in to American and WWI much more … which goes along with one of my later plans!
WATCH – Who has time to watch all of the awesome documentaries that are available on various channels and online? Now is the time – and since they can be streamed, I can enjoy many of them wherever I am. My planned SSPD viewing pleasures include multiple titles from American Experience – The Race Underground, Last Days in Vietnam, The Boys of 36, and re-watching The Great War. I’m also hoping to watch some great docs on Netflix, including 13th and Reel Injun. And I will watch a ton of 30 for 30 – my favorite kind of docs! Of course, all of this will get me ready for Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War in September – it will be epic.
LISTEN – The power of podcasts is amplified in the summer, with walking the dog, driving kids to and from activities, hanging at the pool or beach, thinking about exercising, or just relaxing on the hammock in the backyard. Here’s what plays out of my earbuds …
- Talking Social Studies – Four awesome educators chat about the world of social studies education, and a whole lot of other topics.
- Civil War Talk Radio – Gerry Prokopowicz of East Carolina University hosts an interview session with leading Civil War historians every week – (pretty great, considering he is a leading CW historian himself).
- The Pritzker Military Library has podcasts of speakers, interviews with historians, and an awesome collection of discussions with veterans. I have been led to many invaluable books and authors simply by listening to these presentations.
- Gilder Lehrman has an insane (in a good way) collection of audio and video casts about pretty much everything you can think of when it comes to American history. Leading historians, fresh faces and viewpoints, and a wide variety of topics make these a standard on my playlist.
- Lectures … I use iTunes U a lot to search for specific content based discussions, especially in areas that I need a refresher (hello, Gilded Age). Head to iTunes and search the iTunesU directory – there has to be something that you don’t know (or remember from college).
TRAVEL – Social studies is everywhere – that’s one of the bazillion reasons why it is such an essential topic. There are some great sites you can visit in your own area, and it’s just a google search away. If you are heading out of town, check out a historical site or a new musuem at your destination. If have big plans this summer – heading to Kansas City, Belgium and France to experience American involvement in WWI. I will share my travels online – stay tuned!
CHAT – We have so many incredible social studies teachers that are connected in an amazing PLN – and now we have more time to communicate over the next two months! Of course, the awesome #sschat on Monday nights and #sstlap chat on Thursday highs are the places to be online for social studies pros. I hope to have a few open Google hangouts with anyone interested in a virtual SSPD chat. Please join me!
CREATE – You know that blog you wanted to start, that classroom website you wanted to develop, those flipped videos and podcasts you wanted to produce, those cool posters and images you wanted to create, those awesome tech platforms that you wanted to experiment with, and that lesson or unit you wanted to blow up and turn into something magical? Now is the time, because now you hopefully have time! I hope to add more to this blog as June and July progresses (but doing it outside on my patio). I plan on changing my approach to the organization and timing of our National History Day project experience, offering more guidance on checkpoints and gamifying the process to add evening more engagement. I also hope to create a few more Breakouts for my class – live and digital!
There are multiple conferences and programs for incredible summer PD for social studies teachers, like Gilder Lehrman, the WWII Memeorial Teachers Conference, the CWPT Teacher Institute , and some great NCSS workshops. Many require advance application, but it never hurts to take a stab.
I’d love to have everyone share their summer social studies PD experiences using a common hashtag (#summersspd). Please let me know if you are interested in organizing some hangouts, specific chats or slow chats, or meeting F2F!
With me? Who will come with me? Let’s get loud together this summer (and beyond)!