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Do Teachers Really Work 180 Days a Year?


You hear it everywhere you go -- the old 'teachers have it easy" refrain; the one that follows "They work just five hours a day, 180 days a year." So do teachers actually spend their summers bathed in coconut oil, basking on unblemished beaches? Discover what the teachers we asked said they did last summer! Included: A chance to share your summertime activities on the Education World message board.





Today's Assignment

Complete the following:
On My Summer Vacation, I ...




On my summer vacation, I taught a two-week enrichment course on the Middle Ages to fourth and fifth graders. The children learned about castles and medieval times, using WebQuests that I wrote and others posted on the Internet. At the end of the enrichment class, the students displayed castles they made using software downloaded from the Internet.

I also conducted staff development sessions for K-5 educators on using KidPix Studio Deluxe and free online applications. The teachers learned to use bookmark managers and build class Web sites using SchoolNotes and Homestead. They also learned how to find sites that provide free lesson plans, activities, tools, and information.

The classes were well attended and full of curious educators eager to spend some of their vacation furthering their computer knowledge and skills. In fact, we found it necessary to run two sessions to accommodate everyone who wanted to learn.

Carolyn Salerno
Grade 5 Teacher/Internet Trainer
Bretton Woods School
Hauppauge, Long Island, New York



On my summer vacation, I didn't do much. I just...


  • learned Paint Shop Pro so I could teach it to the kids this year.
  • redid the school Web page to create a new look -- using skills I learned in Paint Shop Pro to make the overlay buttons.
  • participated in online discussions with other technologists about how to incorporate technology into the classroom.
  • wrote lesson plans for the accreditation team.
  • built several new theme parks in RollerCoaster Tycoon!
  • learned how to make a template in Word 2000.
  • taught my bird, PC, to say "Ta-ta for now" when he heard me log off.
  • Helped eight families purchase new PC systems.
  • read a lot of good books, including my first Harry Potter.
Jennifer Wagner
Technology Coordinator
Crossroads Christian School
Corona, California




On my summer vacation, I took several courses at Connected University, which is part of Classroom Connect. The classes, which were totally online, included many Web site sources and lots of interaction among learners in the forum. Some classes had students work in cooperative groups on projects; others offered more-independent work. The best part of the classes was the opportunity to learn with educators from across the country while sharing ideas and successes. I completed the training course and a course on searching and audited two other courses. I've also registered for more courses this fall.

Marcia Reed
Media Center Coordinator
St. Pius X School
Toledo, Ohio



On my summer vacation, I mixed work and fun as I


  • taught technology sessions on integrating the Internet, using scanners and digital cameras, and creating school Web pages. The classes were held at the district technology institute, which is funded by TEACH grant money. I enjoyed watching the teachers discover the exciting possibilities that technology adds to teaching and learning.
  • taught two sessions of Introduction to the Internet for adults at the local community recreation department. The adults learned to use Netscape to track finances, plan vacations, track down friends and relatives, and research many topics.
  • taught two sessions of Reading, Writing, and Technology for students in grades 2 through 5 at the community recreation department. The kids used KidWorks Deluxe, Print Shop Deluxe, and the Student Writing Center to create wonderful posters, stories, signs, and poems.
  • took two online courses from Classroom Connect -- Using Technology to Support Literacy Instruction and Science and Technology: A Natural Partnership. I love this new format of online learning and the connections I made with the other participants from around the world.
  • updated my classroom Web page.
  • attended a science training session in my district.
  • wrote an Internet field trip on Hurricanes! for Scholastic Online.
  • planned activities to use in my second-grade classroom this year.
  • visited San Francisco -- one of my favorite cities in the world -- where one of the highlights was attending a local antique show and getting hooked on collecting Bakelite bracelets!
  • read lots of books: some for pleasure -- mysteries, fiction, and travel books -- and some -- books on education, technology, and leadership -- for my job.
  • planted lots of annuals and perennials in my garden and enjoyed the colorful and fragrant results.

Mary Kreul
Grade 2 Teacher
Richards Elementary School
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin




On my summer vacation, I worked on my master's degree from Lesley College. As part of the Master of Education in Creative Arts program, my classmates and I created lesson plans for incorporating storytelling, music, and art in the classroom. We spent hours rounding up kids to practice what we said we were going to try to do; then we critiqued the experience and re-wrote the lesson plans for a new school audience in September.

In addition, we practiced storytelling, drawing, painting with watercolors, sketching from life, slab pottery construction, singing, conducting, listening, using rhythm as a mnemonic, and making instruments from found objects. The projects employed all kinds of cool techniques while incorporating theory work on multiple intelligences and integration.

I also reviewed databases for the Washington State DataBase Licensing project, took a class in using ProQuest more effectively, updated my library site, and put together a training workshop in 6+1 Traits of Writing, with an emphasis in science writing for K-12 teachers involved in the Washington Virtual Classroom Consortium.

In addition, I celebrated my 50th birthday, in combination with my 25th wedding anniversary, by renting a hall and inviting everyone we knew for hors d'oeuvres, cake, punch, conversation, and dancing -- complete with swing tunes and air moves, conga lines, mirror balls, and strobe lights.

Eve Datisman
Library Media Specialist
Forks High School
Forks, Washington




On my summer vacation, I taught a Project Smart course on global diversity to teachers and pre-service teachers. Each educator chose an area of the world that his or her students would be studying and linked up with a teacher from that part of the world. The teachers exchanged first-hand information and images of their respective areas and created a Web page comparing the two areas of the world. To create a model site for the course, I made a connection -- with the help of epals -- with a gentleman in India. He provided me with the information and photos I needed to create Web sites comparing cities in New York and India and comparing A Day In the Life... of an Indian child with a day in the life of a child from our own city.

The class also included a workshop on digital camera photography. After learning to use the camera, we added the photos we took to a public domain, Photo Archive, that provides images for educators.

After teaching the course, I went to Chicago to deliver a presentation on the Power of the Internet to teachers in an intensive four-week training course on how integrating technology into the classroom.

Back from Chicago, I worked feverously to complete my third book, FrontPage in the Classroom, which was due to the publisher. When I finally sent my manuscript on its way, I was ready for a real vacation -- an 18-day cross-country family trip. Starting in New York and driving all the way to San Francisco, we saw such wondrous sites as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Big Sur, the bay around Alcatraz, Mount Rushmore, the St. Louis Arch, the memorial site of the Oklahoma federal building bombing, and more. I used both my digital and 35 mm cameras to take hundreds of pictures, which I'll be adding to the photo archive for teachers. It was an exciting and productive summer!

Cathy Chamberlain
Teacher on Assignment for Elementary Technology
Oswego City School District
120 East First Street, Oswego, New York




On my summer vacation, because I'm always looking for ways to use technology to make our school and school district just a little bit "hipper," I took some time to make myself a little more technologically knowledgeable. At the end of last year, I bought a digital video camera and took footage of some classes and of the school.

During the summer, I purchased Final Cut Pro (half-price for teachers from Apple) and took a course to get better acquainted with the program. The result is a six-minute video (with original music!) that will be used for Parent-Teacher Night and at all school orientations. The video looks great! In fact, it's so professionally done, I'm sure parents will think the district hired someone to make it. It certainly does give our school an edge.

I also constructed a Web site for one of the elementary schools in our district. The district closed some schools about ten years ago because of redistricting and reopened them in September. I thought it might be really cool if one of the newly opened schools had a great Web site before school started, so I went to work. The Captree Elementary School site is now up and running -- and everyone is very proud of it.

John Simeone
Beach Street Middle School
West Islip, New York

The Education World Tech Team includes 40 dedicated and knowledgeable educational-technology professionals who have volunteered to contribute to occasional articles that draw on their varied expertise and experience. Stay tuned in the months ahead as members of the Tech Team share their thoughts on a wide variety of topics.

Linda Starr
Education World®
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