[Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared on Common Sense Education.]

Thinking about ways to avoid the “summer slide” over the next few months? Keeping up on skills over the summer isn’t just for students. The summer break is a great time for teachers to take advantage of those professional development opportunities that are hard to fit in during the school year.

Teacher communities are a nice blend of social interaction and knowledge-sharing among peers. We put together a list of our favorite online PLNs for you to check out over the break. And yes, we included our own. See you there!

Common Sense Educators

Common Sense Educators is our new Facebook group for educators committed to creating a positive, collaborative culture of digital learning and digital citizenship in their classrooms, schools, or districts. Whether you’re a classroom teacher, administrator, tech coach, or homeschool teacher — you name it — you can connect with inspiring colleagues here.

Topics of discussion include tech integration, media literacy, internet safety, and much more. Members share articles, ask for advice from peers, give virtual high-fives, and relate to each other’s challenges.

And if you’re looking to complete our recognition program to become a Common Sense Educator, membership in the Facebook group is the first step toward that goal! It’s a “closed” group, so you’ll need to request to join.

Digital Is

For teachers, by teachers, this website is a professional development resource for new ideas on teaching media literacy. It was created under the direction of the National Writing Project (NWP) and champions a strong sense of community.
The site content is organized into four sections: Blog, Resources, Collections, and Community. This content not only focuses on writing but also extends to general teaching practices. Educators can get support and feedback from peers while staying current in the digital landscape.

(Next page: Teacher communities 3-4)

Teaching Channel

A community of classroom-teaching videos, this website provides teachers with an opportunity to learn from peers. Educators can share lesson ideas and find support in an active Q&A forum. Rather than take time away from the school day to observe other teachers in action, this innovative online tool allows educators to observe actual classroom teaching anytime. The Teams platform offers a more personalized version of the public model and enables individual schools to share videos within a small group setting.

Twitter

Twitter is an incredible resource for professional development. Although not focused primarily on teachers or education, Twitter makes it easy for educators to build and expand their personal learning networks. Education-focused chats are a great way to engage; they’re searchable by hashtags such as #edchat, #ellchat, and #sschat. By following other teachers and thought leaders, it’s easy to find new resources and support among peers.

About the Author:

As the associate managing editor of education content for Common Sense Education, Emily M. works closely with the editorial team to project-manage editorial processes, including analytics reporting and content management. She also creates content for Common Sense Education’s Digital Classroom blog and What’s New pages. Before joining Common Sense, she was the campaign and advancement manager at California College of the Arts, where she focused on raising money for student scholarships. Emily holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia.