Your students are out of school and off having fun while you’re busy scheduling professional development opportunities into your calendar. Don’t let your summer PD get in the way of your fun — make it an integral part with this list of three great ideas.

No dragging your feet to these events. These professional development opportunities will leave you feeling renewed and inspired (while still leaving you time to relax).

  1. Start a book club with your colleagues
    Research shows that book clubs can be a highly effective form of professional development. Teachers can choose to read books on teaching techniques and leadership, or they can focus on possible candidates for their next year’s reading curriculum. Join EdWeek’s book club and discussion (see their summer selection here), or stay tuned for our own list of recommended teacher reads.And remember, book clubs don’t have to be limited to teachers within the same grade. Research shows that diverse groups may be the most effective.

  2. Organize a TeachMeet, speed-dating style
    TeachMeets function under the same mission as edcamps and unconferences — to provide participant-driven, interactive professional development at little or no cost to attendees. If you’re not lucky enough to attend one of the many edcamps popping up across the country (check out a schedule here), create your own by following a speed-dating style recently introduced in the UK. Here’s how it works:Each attendee must prepare a two-minute presentation on an innovative or effective classroom strategy. Participants’ names are dropped into a hat and the presentation schedule is randomly selected. Audience members are encouraged to engage in conversation, either through Twitter or another online forum, throughout the presentations. This method allows many different ideas to be shared in a short amount of time, encourages collaboration, and eliminates passive participation.
  3. Send yourself to (re)boot camp
    Join the 30 Goals Challenge at Teacher Reboot Camp, and you’ll be part of a group of teachers 5,000 strong who are committed to completing 30 professional development challenges in 2011. You’ll also learn great ways to document your progress using social media. Plus, you’ll receive support from an ever-growing online community.