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Summer Professional Development

August 16, 2011

Teacher Musings:
For many teachers summer is a time to not only to recharge and recover from the school year, but also time to engage in professional development.  During the school year it is difficult to carve out time and attention for professional development opportunities.  I love to attend conferences and workshops, but when it requires me to be away from my students on weekdays or my family on weekends, it is difficult to make it happen.  During the summer, however, teachers have a bit more time and a lot more brainpower to spare.  Many of my friends do summer PD, ranging from week-long institutes and grad school to one or two-day workshops.  As I have started to get back in touch with co-workers I have enjoyed hearing about all the great things they have learned and are going to try in their classes next year.  One of the best parts about having these thoughtful friends and colleagues is that I will reap some of the benefits of their PD without having to attend myself since I get to pick their wonderful brains.

In past summers I, like my colleagues, used summer “break” to take advantage of PD opportunities.  I attended an AP teacher institute, I took summer grad school courses, I attended district sessions, etc.  However, this summer was a bit different.  This summer I was home with my son and my husband (a stay-at-home dad) and we had several weeks blocked off to visit family.  While there were a myriad of PD opportunities that I would have loved to participate in, I had to limit myself to one week of sessions that were mandated by my district (even though the 30 hours gave me about 30 minutes worth of learning) and the mandatory mentor training I needed as part of my role as a mentor-teacher this year.  The rest of my summer time was set aside for my family.

My shift from teacher to teacher/working parent has not been an easy one.  One of the aspects of my professional life that had to change was that I needed to find ways to stay on top of education trends and access professional development from home during my son’s naps and bedtime.  Luckily I live in the age of the internet and social networks and I have learned quite a bit by staying on top of e-mail, journals, blogs and joining twitter.  Just from staying linked in with other educators I have discovered mentor texts, opening day ideas, suggestions for how to support my new mentee and thought-provoking critiques of current education reform.  I am extremely grateful to be living in this age of connectivity since I can’t imagine how I would keep up professionally without it.

What professional learning networks are you a part of?  To see a summary of my network, check out my new My PLN page.

Yummy Stuff:
It is summer and we are swimming in squashes and tomatoes a plenty!  Last night I made a casserole that was an adaptation of Colleen Patrick-Goudrou’s fantastic squash and tomato dish from Color Me Vegan.  The whole family enjoyed this super easy dish.  Also, a quick plug for Colleen’s book the 30-day Vegan Challenge.  If you have ever thought about going vegan, but didn’t want to give up cheese, or were unsure how you could eat out with friends, this is the book for you!

Summer Squash and Tomato Bake

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
1/2 lb macaroni
1 1/2 lbs summer squash (about 5 smallish squash) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups of chopped tomato (about 2 medium tomatoes)
5 cloves of garlic minced (if you want to mellow the garlic flavor, saute these in oil for a few minutes before adding into the veggies)
2 TB olive oil
1 TB minced basil
1 TB minced thyme
1 TB minced parsley

Topping:
1/4 almonds (lightly toasted in a dry pan on medium-high heat for 4-6 minutes)
1 TB nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions.  When it is done, drain and rinse with cold water.  While you are getting the water boiling for the macaroni, prep your veggies and herbs and toast the almonds (and saute the garlic, if you want)  Also, pre-heat the oven to 375
2. Mix the squash, garlic, oil and herbs in a bowl until everything is evenly covered.  BTW, fresh herbs are REALLY worth it for this dish!  Add in some tomatoes and stir some more.
3. Make the topping by putting the almonds, nutritional yeast and salt in a food processor and pulse until the almonds really fine.
4. Mix the macaroni in with the veggies and pour the bowl into a nine-inch square baking dish.  Sprinkle the topping evenly on the veggies and bake it for about 30 minutes.  Enjoy with some bread or a yummy green salad!

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