Summer Time Prep

Yes! Summer is here and it is time for a break. You have the entire summer to relax, right? Wrong! The beginning of the school year is right around the corner and you know what that means. You will be in professional development and starting the first day of school before you know it. Here are a few things that you might consider doing before fall sneaks up on you.

  1. Edit your lessons. Do you remember that great lesson you taught that had a minor glitch? Go ahead and update your lessons so that they will be ready for the fall. I tend to repeat mistakes when I don’t write down ideas for improvements.
  2. Reflect on collaboration. Did you have a really great experience with a teacher that you would like to replicate? Remember, it only takes one good collaborative partner to give you examples to share with other teachers. Think about other projects that you can do with teachers and ways to attract them. Teachers like concrete examples of how collaborative projects will work. Have examples of what can be done when you approach them.
  3. Plan your bulletin boards. I always preferred for my bulletin boards to be based on the standards. Creating them can take a lot of time. I encourage you to think about your bulletin boards for next year and the materials that you will need to create them. I liked the Ellison machine. But I could not take it home. My 2D printers (Cricut and Silhouette) were always handy for creating my displays. If you have some time during the summer, dig into your creative side to create something fun and educational for your students. In addition, when displays are done right, they are excellent conversation starters. The students, teachers, and administrators will stop by to ask you about them.
  4. Plan your programming. Try to think about how you would like to introduce new programs for the upcoming school year. Projects take time to plan and are important for the school community. Moreover, creating a morning or afternoon learning opportunity for your students will help keep you off bus duty and morning cafeteria duty.
  5. Update policies and procedures. Do you have a policies and procedures manual? If not, you need one. If so, does it reflect current school district policies? This is important for substitutes, community members with questions, volunteers, and for book challenges. You never notice you are missing the policies until you need them.
  6. Think about student helpers. I don’t know one school librarian who feels that they don’t need additional help. If you noticed students that can be great helpers next year, go ahead and make a list of their names. If you don’t have a student helper program, create a proposal for your principal that includes information about student helper recruitment, rewards, and guidelines to get your student helper program started.
  7. Make a wish list. In a perfect world, you administrator would come to you once a month and ask you if there is something that you need for the library. Although it has never happened to me once a month, I did have an administrator ask me if I had a wish list. I also had a parent that bought supplies for the library. You never know when someone will ask what you need. Try to be prepared with a list.
  8. Catch up on reading and professional development. Did you fall behind on all the latest information about the newest books or journal articles about professional practices? The summer can give you some time to explore and think of new ideas to implement and books to buy.
  9. Look for grants. Extra money is something that many of us do not have the luxury of having. If you know you need an item or would like to implement a program, write a grant. Writing a grant can be time consuming and the summer is the perfect time to start. has a free grant search website to help.
  10. Relax! Perhaps you will only be able to do one or two things on this list. Regardless of what you decide, I think that you will thank yourself in the fall. But the most important thing that you can do to prepare yourself for next year is to relax. It is amazing how a little rest and relaxation can give us a new perspective on life.


Alexis_Fotos. (n.d.). Summer. Retrieved from

July 2017 Professional Development

Title:  Go Paperless with Tech Tools for Chromebooks and Tablets

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Friday, July 7, 2017 @ 10:00 AM EDT
  • Description: Whether you are in a one-to-one classroom or have only a handful of devices to share, you can use fantastic tools to manage workflow in your classroom. From sending assignments to your students to collecting work, these totally terrific resources can transform teaching and learning. Join Monica Burns as she shares her favorite tech tools, tips, and suggestions for going paperless with Chromebooks and tablets. She will cover a variety of options for going paperless on multiple devices.
  • Link:

Title:  Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices for Integrating Chromebooks and Other Devices

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Friday, July 7, 2017 @ 11:00 AM EDT
  • Description: As our schools become increasingly digital, it is important for teachers to have a basic understanding of how to best manage technology in the classroom – and that is certainly true of Chromebooks. Join Matt Bergman as he shares tips, tricks, and strategies for managing technology. In addition to discussing best practices for using technology in the classroom, Matt will explain the features and basic components of Chromebooks, as well as various shortcuts you can use with them.
  • Link:

Title:  Top 10 Free Google Chrome Apps and Extensions for Classroom Use

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Friday, July 7, 2017 @ 12:00 PM EDT
  • Description: You may be aware of Google Docs and Google Chrome, but are you using them to their fullest potential? Join Jerry Swiatek as he shares his top 10 favorite free Chrome Apps and Extensions for classroom use. Jerry will explain what Chrome apps and extensions are, as well as how to find them. He will cover a variety of apps and extensions that make you and your students more productive as you use Chrome and other Google Tools. Discover how to search, research, collaborate, and work smarter with these free apps and extensions.
  • Link:

Title:  Around the World in Eighty Days: Virtual Field Trips on Your Chromebook

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Friday, July 7, 2017 @ 1:00 PM EDT
  • Description: Field trips can be a fantastic learning experience for students. Unfortunately due to cost, time constraints, distance, and other issues, field trips are not always practical or possible. Thankfully, Chromebooks make it easy to avoid these restraints with virtual field trips. Join Meri Martin as she shares a collection of sites and tools that will let you and your students experience the world without leaving the classroom. Come discover some incredible learning experiences for a variety of subjects and grade levels!
  • Link:

Title:  Screencasting with Chromebooks: Make Thinking Visible and Improve Learning

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Friday, July 7, 2017 @ 2:00 PM EDT
  • Description: Screencasting is a powerful way to use technology to impact teaching and learning. With Chromebooks, teachers and students can easily record screencasts with a single click of a button. With screencasts, teachers can see and hear student thinking, making it easier to assess learning and adjust instruction. In addition, screencasting allows teachers to make their thinking visible for students. Join Dr. Jayme Linton to learn how to use Chromebooks for screencasting and gather ideas for making student and teacher thinking visible in order to improve learning and cultivate thinking skills.
  • Link:

Title:  Help Students Take Ownership, Create, Share, and Reflect with Chromebooks and Chrome Apps

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Friday, July 7, 2017 @ 3:00 PM EDT
  • Description: Join Naomi Harm as she shares how Chrome app smashing also allows for students to demonstrate their understanding, reflect on a process, and envision creating a learning artifact that was previously inconceivable. She will discuss how it can help students take ownership of their learning process, develop technology fluency, and identify the best possible means to “show what they know.” When there are no limitations to what can be created with the available tools, then there are no limitations to how students can demonstrate their growth as learners.
  • Link:

 Title:  A Collective Impact on Literacy: The Power of Partnership

  • Organization: net
  • Date: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 @ 3:00 pm EDT
  • Description: In this edWebinar, MaryLou Whaley, Director, Community Engagement, Outreach & Philanthropy, Hillsborough County Public Schools; and myON’s Doris Linville, Senior Manager of Project Management and Literacy Advocate will share how to advance literacy throughout the community. Attendees will learn:
  • What a community approach to literacy looks like
  • How this approach to literacy can become the catalyst for coordination of services
  • How to set learning goals for a community approach to literacy
  • How to create objectives for articulating a community-wide action plan
  • Link:

Title:  How Research Can (and Should) Inform Curriculum and Product Design

  • Organization: org
  • Date: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 @ 4:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Learner diversity in classrooms has grown tremendously over the past 30 to 40 years. However, our education system has been slow to support millions of students who are bright, capable, and eager to learn, but are held back by traditional pathways designed for the mythical “average.” In this edWebinar, join David Ciulla, Executive Director, ReadWorks and ReadWorks Digital, to explore how learning science research can help us better support all learners, and how ed-tech product development can be guided by what we know about learners. Superintendents, instructional tech administrators, district level curriculum staff at all grade levels but particularly elementary, and developers and entrepreneurs of ed-tech will benefit from this session.
  • Link:

Title:  Hidden Treasures: Engaging and Free Resources from TeachersFirst

Title:  Broadband Imperative: State Leadership Supports Equity of Access for All Students

  • Organization: net
  • Date: Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 3:00 pm EDT
  • Description: This session is part of a series of edWebinars on SETDA’s 2016 report, The Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning. States are uniquely positioned to provide both policies and funding to help ensure all students have equitable access to reliable high-speed broadband access. State leaders will share examples of support to ensure the equity of access for all students including statewide partnerships, regional consortia and policy initiatives. State leaders from Michigan and Wisconsin will share their unique approaches to broadband implementation and support statewide.
  • Link:

 Title:  Amazing Organizational and Timesaving Apps for the Connected Teacher

  • Organization: SimpeK12
  • Date: Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 11:00 AM EDT
  • Description: Learning online can be an incredible journey, but at some point you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of resources. Do you ever feel as though you are suffering from informational overload? Do you often feel excited about a resource you have come across, but want to access that resource at a later date? Many free Web apps exist that can help you quickly save, bookmark, categorize, store, and share information. This webinar will share how to use these apps on computer or your mobile devices so that you can get organized and learn while waiting. Join Shelly Terrell as she examines these apps and explains how they can help educators save time and get organized.
  • Link:

Title:  Easy QR Code Projects to Differentiate and Energize Learning

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 12:00 PM EDT
  • Description: Would you like to differentiate your lessons to better meet your students’ individual needs and learning styles? If so, QR code projects are a great way to modify and energize existing lessons so that you can differentiate the learning for each student. In this session, join Monica Burns as she introduces you to QR codes and discusses how to create QR codes, how to access them using mobile devices, and how to manage a classroom of enthusiastic students engaged in active learning and projects with QR codes. She will provide examples of differentiated lessons and projects that use QR codes and share tips for designing these lessons and projects for your classroom.
  • Link:

 Title:  Some Amazing Mobile Apps that Changed How I Assess Students

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 1:00 PM EDT
  • Description: Do you ever struggle with trying to figure out how well your students grasp a particular concept – so that you know whether they’ve “got it” or if you need to provide additional reinforcement? Mobile devices such as iPads and other tablets are amazing teaching and learning tools, but did you also know that they also make it easy for students to show you what they know? In this webinar, Dr. Jayme Linton will discuss how tablets and mobile apps changed how she assesses students’ learning, and show how you can use them to make student thinking visible. Jayme will focus on a few specific apps, including Socrative, VoiceThread, and some whiteboard apps, that can be used to assess student understanding and discuss some of the ways in which you can use these apps for assessment.
  • Link:

Title:  Introduction to Coding on Mobile Devices: Anyone Can Do It!

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Thursday, July 13, 2017 @ 2:00 PM EDT
  • Description: Every day, our world becomes more and more technology driven and yet thousands of lucrative jobs within the technology industry go unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers. As teachers, we have the responsibility of exposing our students to the types of skills that will enable them to be successful in the future. Coding, which encompasses computer programming, app development, and more is one of those particular skills. Join Lauren Boucher as she introduces the concept and skill of coding. She will explain the value of coding, cover the basics of how to code, and provide several mobile and web applications that allow students to code their own games and stories. Don’t be intimidated – it’s easier than you think!
  • Link:

 Title:  Rigorous Project-Based Learning: If They Build It, They Will Learn

  • Organization: net
  • Date: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 4:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Active learning must be rigorous to meet standards-based expectations. Drawing from successful examples like “High Tech High,” Kevin Baird, Chairman of the Board at the nonprofit Center for College & Career Readiness, will bridge the gap between makerspaces and projects to standards and outcomes.
  • Link:

Title:  Wikipedia for Libraries: Preview the Possibilities, Discover the Opportunities

  • Organization: WebJunction
  • Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 @ 3:00 PM EDT
  • Description: Wikipedia is more than its collection of user-contributed articles; it is a dynamic community with powerful tools that ensure reliability. For public libraries, Wikipedia can be a useful tool to connect patrons with quality information and help them build information literacy skills. In this webinar, learn how you can use Wikipedia to expand access to your collections and creatively engage your communities.
  • Link:

 Title:  Leave No Child Offline and Leave No Teacher Behind: Why Equity and Access to Digital Tools, Tech-Savvy Teachers, and the Internet are Important to the Future of Our Nation

  • Organization: net
  • Date: Monday, July 24, 2017 @ 2:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Digital equity and access in the 21st century are crucial to students being able to compete on a global level: There are few places in society where technology is not utilized or playing an important role. As a result, it’s more critical than ever that students graduate with the 21st-century literacy and technology skills they need to navigate, read and succeed in our increasingly interconnected, digital world.
  • Link:

Title:  How to Inspire and Energize in Everyday Conversations at School

  • Organization: net
  • Date: Monday, July 24, 2017 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Great educators and administrators inspire action with their words. They spark enthusiasm and commitment. With a single conversation, they can change the direction of someone’s life. In this edWebinar, Kristi Hedges will uncover how anyone can become an inspirational force in the lives of others, dispelling common myths that get in the way of motivation and engagement. She’ll spotlight the importance of inspiration in education, and provide simple, everyday strategies for igniting passion in others.
  • Link:

 Title:  Resource Roundup: FREE Tools from the Edge




Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Blog Topics, Professional Development

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