Summertime Professional Development . . . sort of!

I always set a goal for myself to begin working on improving some part of my professional knowledge with the goal of either writing a new article or a curriculum piece by the end of the summer.  My usual elaborate plan typically involves reviewing the key literature and updating my research base in June, then reading new works and ideas in July, and finishing writing in August.

Even when I was in the secondary classroom, my summer would be focused on rereading books I had encountered to glean additional information and picking out two or three new sources of information (invariably, it would be on the American Civil War.  However, I want my experience to be invigorating and stimulating, not dull and monotonous.  Dare I say, I even wanted it to be entertaining.This blog entry, I am going to suggest a few online sites for you to review, renew, and maybe even learn some new ways of enhancing your teaching..  If nothing else, it should provide you with some entertaining time on the web. has put together a plethora of videos that can be used both to help you as the teacher understand what historical thinking is and also provide directions that historical thinking can take in your classroom.  This video is perfect as a review for you as a teacher and could be a great introduction for students as well.

Check out a collection of sources!  There are a plethora of sites out there.  Sometimes, it helps to have someone do a lot of the preliminary sorting for you.  I invite you to check out my delicious site which has about three years of interesting and meaningful sites, or at least places to stimulate your thinking.

If you are like me, you can completely lose yourself in surfing on the Internet.  At first searching for specific information on why the 45th Illinois was called the Washburn Lead Mine Regiment, then finding yourself laughing at Grumpy Cats.  Believe it or not, one of the fascinating websites available today helps feed this addiction.  StumbleUpon is a website that allows you to enter categories, then allows you to rapidfire through related websites to explore deeper and deeper random components of the web.

A final place to spend some time is in the same vein as stumbleupon, it is a site that goes by the acronym ILTWMT…I Like To Waste My Time.  This site is interesting as it provides photos, quotes, and videos with a bit of novelty effect.  For the creative mind, this site has a lot of possibilities for “bellringer” photos.

As I discussed early in the experience, sometimes this type of exploration can stimulate thought and ideas of how to present information.  Sometimes you will find the “it” picture that perfectly complements a lesson.  Or sometimes, you need that day of unproductiveness on the Internet to reenergize your brain.

Best wishes,


About bradburenheide

I'm an Associate Professor at Kansas State University's College of Education. Currently I am the program coordinator for secondary social studies education. My research interests include instructional gaming, history education, and creative pedagogy.

Leave a Reply