School vacation, for many teachers, is not time off, but time on.
Contrary to popular perception, many educators don't spend the summers just relaxing at the beach or rejuvenating for the coming school year. Plenty of teachers take advantage of the summers by organizing, participating in professional learning communities, and lesson planning, among many other things.
On June 25, the first day of this “school vacation,” many Philadelphia public school teachers rallied in Harrisburg with more than 1,000 other teachers, counselors, nurses, safety workers, librarians, and others from across Pennsylvania to demand equitable funding for public schools.
On the second day of “school vacation,” I attended a half-day workshop offered through Arcadia University's continuing studies program. Christina Cantrill, a senior program associate with the National Writing Project and co-director of its Digital Is project, facilitated a hands-on workshop, where teachers had an opportunity to make, write, and remix, while exploring ways to match the demands of Common Core state standards with students’ interests and passions
The workshop was part of Making Learning Connected, an exciting six-week-long initiative that the National Writing Project has kicked off this summer. This collaborative, knowledge-building and sharing experience is designed as a “MOOC” (Massively Open Online Collaboration) and is open to anyone who’s interested in making, creativity, and learning. This particular MOOC incorporates "connected learning" principles and engages participants both online and face-to-face.
You can learn more about joining by visiting the Making Learning Connected website. All educators who work with youth in or out of schools are invited to participate and follow the hashtag #CLMOOC.
Sabrina Stevens, who runs the American Federation of Teachers' Voices from the Classroom project, is encouraging teachers to share what they are doing while school is out. As you work with students and colleagues this summer, share photos and videos of what you're doing using the tag #HerePastJune. Or share in the comments here what you see educators doing this summer.
Show your work! The public needs to know that “summer break” is not something teachers take lightly.
Samuel Reed III, a teacher consultant with the Philadelphia Writing Project, is an active member of the Teacher Action Group (TAG Philly) and has been teaching middle school literacy for 15 years.