the world is your oyster

School’s Out for The Summer!

For many in education, summer has begun. For those of us that work the summer, we continue to chug along. If you are fortunate enough to have time away from the classroom, take advantage of the time. I’ve always believed in taking a week to just chill and unwind. Enjoy a good refreshment (you know what I mean)! Once you’ve done that, it’s time to get some more knowledge and tools under your belt. If you aren’t careful, August comes knocking and you’ll be wondering, “What in the world…already!” “But I had so many things I wanted to learn about.” “I need one more week!” I get it.  So how do I manage my time during the summer effectively to learn something? May I propose several challenges.

Twitter Chat Challenge

One of the best bang for the buck in terms of professional growth has been Twitter Chats.  Whatever topic or subject that interests you, you can pretty much find a chat on any given day. Education Chats has compiled list of chats that take place pretty much every hour, every day.  Even at 3 am for those of you digital insomniacs.

I personally enjoy #Edtechafterdark on Mondays @ 10:00pm EST.  This has been one of the best form of personal learning for me. I’ve made new contacts, shared ideas, and learn new things. It’s amazing how small the world gets when you can easily chat with others from all over the world.

Spark Challenge

Explore your creative side! Add some Spark! What do you mean? Energy drink? TENS therapy? I’ll attest to the latter, it feels awesome after a good adjustment from my chiropractor. But I digress. I’m talking about Adobe Spark app (currently only iOS). The Spark app, as well as its companion site, enables you to create social graphics, web stories, and animated videos.  The best part is that there is no programming involved. You don’t have to be an artists or a photographer.

The challenge is to create graphics to use on Twitter or any social media site; create a web story; or create an animated video.  Here’s a Spark Page I created. Each Spark app is easy to follow with it’s built-in guides.  Give it a try!

Blog Challenge

Okay, blogging may be a huge undertaking. But with a good amount of time away from the classroom and those wonderful students, it can be a great time to start.  Blogging is a great way to share your thoughts and ideas with others.  You’d be surprised at the response you get!

So what’s the challenge?  Try writing about something you’re passionate about.  For example, if you believe strongly that art should be a part of every student’s education, blog about it. Start by writing maybe once a month (maybe two over the summer).  As you get more comfortable, you move to bi-weekly, weekly, and so on. Before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of people reading your blog. Here are a few links to help you get started:

Challenge is Underway

If you’ve thought of trying something new but weren’t sure, why not try one of these challenges? In those in between times, give it a chance.  I share these challenges because each one has greatly benefited my professional growth. Feel free to share with me @ClaudioZavalaJr.  Have a great summer!


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