Summer break – a time for teachers to indulge in some much needed, well-deserved self-care. Laptops are traded in for loungewear…hydro flasks for a fruity cocktail, or two. At least for some of us, anyway.

Summer break is also a time to reboot, revitalize, and refresh your teaching practice. Now, that’s not to say I’m a workaholic – I am ALL about summer break. However, I’m not one who can go through summer without thinking about my classroom. At the end of the school year, I am already looking forward to all of the new things that I can try in my classroom come Fall.

Now, sprinkled in with my weekly trips to the beach, dinners at Knotts, and almost daily trips to my local library, I’m also engaging in some professional learning. Here are my summer “must-haves” for a summer refresh:

1) Reading Material
Now, I am an avid reader – when I’m motivated to be. (I’ve gotten into several YA dystopian series this year that I have absolutely consumed!) And although I buy a ton of “professional reads” – often more than I know I will be able to work through each month – my “to read” pile continues to grow. Now, the following is not an exhaustive list but a list of titles that I’ve cultivated over the last year in areas I’m most interested in for professional learning.

Equity & Anti-Racist Teaching
Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain by Zaretta Hammond
Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Start Here, Start Now: A Guide to Antibias and Antiracist Work in Your School Community by Liz Kleinrock
Equity by Design: Delivering on the Power and Promise of UDL by Mirko Chardin and Katie Novak
Universal Design Daily: 365 Ways to Teach, Support, & Challenge All Learners by Paula Kluth

The EdTech Infused Classroom
The Interactive Class by Joe and Kristin Merrill
Educated by Design by Michael Cohen
The Chromebook Infused Classroom by Holly Clark

Writing and Beyond
Sketchnoting in the Classroom by Nichole Carter
Teaching Writing in Small Groups by Jennifer Serravallo

2) PD in PJs
I am all about getting professional learning in, without having to roll out of bed. (Because summer, bed, and staying in pajamas all day for at least the first week of summer break just makes sense!) While summer is usually the slow season for educational conferences, there are a couple that are always on my calendar.

Educators 2 Educators offers their three-day Teacher Summer Reboot Conference for free. This summer marks their third year of providing this free conference, where educators can partake in three-days of pre-recorded sessions centered around this year’s theme of “Back to Basics.” The conference, which will take place July 16th-18th, offers sessions in the following areas:

  • Healthy Work-Life Balance
  • The First Days and Weeks of School
  • Back to School Books
  • Technology Tips and Tricks
  • Parent and Family Communication
  • Classroom Organization and Management
Teacher conference
The third annual Teacher Summer Reboot Conference happens July 16th-18th!

Another free conference I’m attending this year is the California Early Math Symposium on June 25th. The conference, put on by a host of EDU powerhouses like the California Department of Education, AIMS Center, and WestED, are hosting featured speakers Dr. Megan Franke, Dr. Brian L. Wright and Dr. Jo Boaler. This year’s sessions center around STEM and math in the early childhood classroom.

3) Connecting with my PLN
I’ve only been on Twitter since 2017 but I will tell anyone who listens how much it has done for my professional learning. I’m grateful that I have a PLN who share ideas, encourage, inspire, and ultimately contribute to my growth and development as an educator. Here are some of my favorites to follow and learn from – all go above and beyond to share great practices, lessons, and EdTech activities they’ve created:


Lisa Chavez
Leticia Citizen
Megan Venezia
Esther Park
Candace Buchanan
Jessica Twomey
Amanda Sandoval
Karyn Fillhart
Ben Cogswell

Now, however you choose to spend your summer break, know that you’ve had an amazing year (even if it didn’t feel like it at times), you’re valued and appreciated (even if you couldn’t see it at times), and you’re going to rock it again come Fall.

Happy summer, y’all!

Kristin Oropeza

About Kristin Oropeza
Kristin is a full-time special education teacher, contract consultant, and educational content writer. She is a Google Certified Teacher (Level 1 and 2), Google Certified Trainer, and MIE Expert for 2020-2021.