This is my first summer back to a teacher’s summer schedule (not vacation) after two summers away, when I was working outside ofeducation.  I have learned more about teaching andtechnology this summer than I have in a long, long time.

Unlike the stereotypical teachers that are portrayed in the media or in urban legendswho just lounge around the house all summer with their feet up and their favorite drink in hand.  Many of us are improving our teaching skills, learning how to use technology more effectively, creating new lesson plans, class websites, attending conferences or taking classes and getting ready for the next school year.

That is, the ones that are not looking for a new teaching position as a result of RIFs at their previous school.
Sure it is done at a less frantic pace and when we choose (think evenings) than it is during the school year, but many teachers are putting in more than a good week’s work towards preparing for next year, even though most of us are in a Non Paid Time Off (NPTO) status.

So what tangible things have I gotten done this summer.

  • Created my class website – I consider this my major accomplishment of the summer and while it still has a few wrinkles to iron out, but it is about 80% where I want it.
  • Created a new template for tracking my Special Education caseload
  • Created Class blogs for each of my classes and a general Mr Shaw’s Room 220 Blog for school related postings.
  • Changed my personal blog over to
  • Kept the same theme on my blog for almost a month (color changes don’t count – inside joke with Richard Byrne)

Professionally I have read or am reading:

  • “Teach Like a Champion”
  • “Teaching as an Act of Love”
  • Numerous blog posts and articles related to education

Professional Development

  • Almost every Tuesday night participated in EdChat
  • Attended Maine Learning Technology Conference in Castine, Maine
  • Participated in 3 sessions of the The Reform Symposium
  • Attended 1/2 day training on SRA Corrective Reading
  • Participated in a bunch of Webinars related to education
  • Communicated almost daily with my Personal Learning Network onTwitter.
  • Finished 3 of 6 of the Google Certification Prep Courses
  • Google Apps Education Edition
    Apps Mail

What’s left to be done

  • Finish reading “Driven by Data” — I just am having a difficult time finishing it (probably need to leave it in the bathroom)
  • Preparing an Introduction to Blogging presentation on 8/16 for District’s Technology Summer Training
  • Go in tomorrow and discuss the 7th Grade ELA Curriculum and probably prepare at least one major lesson plan
  • I plan to attend EdCamp New Hampshire on 8/17, if not I will take part in Moodle Training and the 3rd day of our Tech Training
  • I expect to participate in the State’s Teacher Mentor Training Sessions on 8/19 & 8/20
  • Finish up the Google Certification Prep Courses

I didn’t realize how busy it will be next week, I will be in training all week and we don’t report to school until August 23rd.

These are just the education related things that I got done, my completed honey-do list was almost as long and the only large things left are finishing up the wood for the winter and setting up a new shed.

This has probably been one of the most productive summers I have ever had and it was nice having Mary home every day with me. I have learned the value of my Personal Learning Network and enjoyed meeting a few of them face-to-face this summer.  Actually I could get used to this lifestyle – very quickly.

What did I learn this summer?  I love learning more about teaching and technology, that my techie skills are not that bad and that professional development is not just about what you learn from the session, it is also about who you meet whether face-to-face/electronically or both.

The getting to know other teachers, learning how things are done differently or the same, time to whine and complain with each other, an opportunity to see things from a different perspective than just what “our” school does is so valuable.  The biggest thing you gain by having a PLN is that you are not an island and you get to talk with others that have similar issues and learn that they can be solved or at least resolved.

Those are the lessons that I am taking away from this summer. I was told to give it a break and just enjoy the summer. You know something – I did and am enjoying my summer, I am doing something that I love, learning more about becoming a better teacher.