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We’ve all been there. Your district or building sets aside days for professional development. Sometimes the topics are specific to your school’s needs, but often they are not. The sessions drag on and all you can think about is all the work you have to get done. And this is coming from someone who facilitates professional development for a living.
Sometimes, the best way to get the most out of professional development is to find your own. There are many ways in which educators can find professional development opportunities with minimal cost and without leaving their home or school.
Below are a few tips for finding your own professional development opportunities:
- eLearning for Educators -A part of the eMINTS National Center houses eLearning for Educators, an online space for teacher professional development. Pricing is reasonable. Plus, the savings from not having to travel make it worth your time right away. Visit eLearning for Educators for more details.
- FeedOn the Horizon: 20+ Free Professional Development Opportunities for 2012Posted – Teacher Reboot Camp lists some great online PD opportunities that will only cost you to have decent internet access.
- Read educational literature – Sometimes, the best learning we can do is accomplished by sitting down with a good book. Larry Ferlazzo polled his audience to see what they have been reading this past year and the results can be found at this post.
- Cultivate your PLN – Personal Learning Networks (PLN) have been around for a while now, but I am still surprised at how many educators don’t utilize or even have one. Some good starting points for creating your own PLN are here and here.
- Watch TED talks. – TED talks bring together the brightest and most successful thinkers of our time to discuss their unique projects and perspectives. These talks are then shared with the world via online videos. A theme of interest for educators might be How We Learn, but most TED talks can provide great insight and inspiration to us all.
What other ways are there to attain professional development with limited resources and budgets? How can some of these ideas be applied to the professional learning communities (PLC) currently appearing in schools everywhere? How can these practices enhance your current professional development?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger with the eMINTS National Center.
As educators we are constantly searching out opportunities to grow professionally through conferences and workshops. Sometimes those issues of time, money, and of course the big one, being out of the classroom once again, rear their ugly heads and make the opportunities seem impossible. That’s why networking has become such a valuable asset to the teaching community. We need to learn from each other. With that in mind, I would like to share 3 of my favorite blogs that I follow in the hope that you might find them of interest and value too.
1. Teacher Challenge – A blog dedicated to professional learning. It is divided into 30 day professional learning challenges to increase your knowledge and skills on a variety of topics. Best of all, you go through it at in any order and at your own pace.
2. Master Learners – Ok, I follow the facebook page more than the actual blog but it is a page so worth following. It provides resources and information on current education topics. I love the way this focuses on educators as life-long learners.
3. Teachers Love SMART Boards – What an appropriate title because they do. This provides files and sites that are perfect for SMART Boards.
Now it’s your turn to share. Please comment with at least one tool or resource of some type that aids in your professional growth so I can possibly add it to my list.
Terri Brines is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center.
Image part of public domain. Source: Wiki Commons
Black History Month celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans. That history is part of the greater American history and a month is just not enough time to give this part of our history its due attention. There are some things one can do to insure that Black History is more than one month and a part of your regular history curriculum.
A great way to make history come alive for your students in general is to highlight a historical event for each day. Yenoba.com provides a searchable calendar of African American history. One can search by date or keyword. Within this calendar you will find important achievements, difficult struggles overcome, and great leaders in Black history. By default, the site displays an interesting fact for the current day, but one can scroll down and search the entire calendar.
One struggle teachers have is staying true to history and not allowing our own biases or lack of knowledge to interfere with the information we provide our students. A great way to combat this is to use primary sources. Loads of primary resources can be found at the Library of Congress website. Many of the featured sections include links to resources that specifically address Black history.
A major theme of Black History Month is the fight for change and justice in the face of institutional racism. Social justice is a theme that can run throughout the year and doesn’t have to be limited to just 28 days (or 29, depending on the year). Great professional resources are available for educators to help make social justice a part of any curriculum. Rethinking Schools Online is the website for the highly influential educational journal by the same name that focuses on social issues in education. Teaching Tolerance is another journal with a similar focus. Teaching for Change is an organization that provides publications and professional development for educators looking to make social justice a part of their curriculum year-round.
What do you do in your classroom to insure that Black history is a part of the entire year and not just one month?
Zac Early is an instructional specialist for the eMINTS National Center.