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May 23, 2018

16 Professional Development Options for Teachers Over the Summer

Written By: Kristyn Corace
Professional Development

Professional Development

Teachers only work ten months a year….WRONG!  Well sort of!!  We may only be PAID for ten months, but that does NOT mean that we are not working!  Professional development does not have to be limited to the school year.  You also may not have to pay for all professional development either.  Here are some great options for you to consider over the summer.  Many are online, so you can also complete them poolside or on the beach if you wish!  Enjoy and happy learning!


1. Google

Last year, I became a Level One Google Educator.  They have a outstanding training website and then you can take the 3-hour test to become certified.  It does cost $10, but I now give workshops in my district to other teachers and paraprofessionals!  If you use Google products even a little bit, with a little training you can do it!  I plan to get my Level Two Certification this summer!

2. Common Sense Education

Our entire school district became Common Sense Certified last year.  I also took another step and became a Common Sense Ambassador.  At their website, there are plenty of free webinars and online courses to take.  Some have associated fees, but many do not.  This is a great resource for teaching students to be safe digital citizens.

3. Flipgrid

An incredibly cool website that allows educators 1 FREE grid to use in their classrooms.  Don’t know what it is?  It allows students to record short videos about different topics.  You can have a classroom grid and the students can watch, respond by video and express themselves in new and exciting ways.  There are plenty of free training videos, live webinars and more.  Check it out!!

4. Kahoot

Have a hoot with Kahoot!  Another free resource that has tons of free training and ideas online for their free product.  Use already made games or make your own (SO EASY).  My kids go nuts when I say we are going to use Kahoot!  You can use iPads, chromebooks, smartphones, etc.

5. ISTE Conference

Definitely not free but if you are interested in tech education, then you must attend this HUGE conference in Chicago this year.  Check it out!

Professional Development

State specific: Do a quick Google search for your state.  I just googled “Summer 2018 Education Conferences in New Jersey” and a ton of suggestions came back.  Do not ignore your local colleges who may offer summer programs as well.

Most state department of education offices offer summer workshops that are free or low cost options.

National Organizations:

6. ASCD Conference

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development is an extremely well-respected organization in education.  They have conferences throughout the year as well.

7. National Education Association (NEA)

The largest teachers union offers many opportunities during the summer months.  Check your local state affiliate’s website for dates and costs.


An online conference TED Talk style about Art Education! August 2, 2018!

9. naeyc (National Association for the Education of Young Children)

Empowering early childhood professionals with fresh ideas and insights to participate in and facilitate the highest quality professional development. June 10-13, 2018  |  Austin, TX

10. International Literacy Association Conference (ILA)

ILA believes that literacy is the pathway to equity in education, and it drives everything we do—including this conference.

July 20-23, 2018 | Austin, TX

Professional Development

Keep your eyes open for postcards that come in the mail,  you are on more mailing lists than you think. One year a local company sponsored an expo of vendors, but they also offered a choice of several workshops that day.

Local Options:

11. Barnes and Noble

My local store has teacher educator nights throughout the year.  Some offer workshops for CEU’s, author appearances and more – all geared towards educators!  Contact your local store and get on their email list!

12. Museums

Many museums (especially art and children’s science museums) offer workshops for teachers in a variety of topics.  If you have a museum near you, go to their website and search “teacher workshops”.

13. Professional Theaters

Many professional theaters have teacher workshops.  Go to your local theater’s website and search “teacher workshops”.

14. Craft Stores (Michaels, Joann Fabrics, A.C. Moore)

Not “technically” professional development, but they offer OUTSTANDING crafting classes.   You could learn a new craft to bring into your classroom!  Plus they usually offer you coupons when you attend a class or free samples!

15. Microsoft or Apple stores

Both the Microsoft and Apple stores at local shopping malls offer teacher workshops throughout the year.  You can also follow up with a field trip for your students to both stores for an in-store lesson/activity with your class!

16. Other options

If there is something you want to learn about for your classroom, seek out that knowledge!  Do you want to build a birdhouse with your class or take a class at Home Depot or Lowe’s (yes they have classes!)?  You can also always take a class at the local community college for sign language, photography, ancient history, whatever it is that you want to learn more about.

Don’t wait, just go and do it!  Happy learning!!

What are some professional development options for teachers that you have completed during the summer break?


Kristyn Corace has been teaching students with special needs for 23 years at Thorne Middle School, a public middle school in Middletown, New Jersey.  Her class is called a Multiple Disabilities class and she has students with Down syndrome, autism, communication disabilities, general cognitive impairments, physical disabilities and more.  The focus of her class is independence!  Kristyn and her staff of paraprofessionals work daily to help her students learn valuable life skills, make personal choices and communicate verbally, with Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices (AAC) and sign language.  It is important for Kristyn to teach her students in the community as well.  The students practice their skills in the real-world every month on Community Based Instruction (CBI) trips!

You can follow Kristyn on Twitter: @MrsCorace

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