Refresh, Research, & Relax
Summertime is here! You have finally made it to the most glorious time of the year. However, we all know that a teacher’s work is never done. While the break should certainly be a time of rest and rejuvenation, you know you will be dreaming about next school year. Let’s think about some ways to make sure your nightly slumber does not involve panicky nightmares about August, rather sweet dreams about the great possibilities that lie ahead.
Do some meditative brainstorming here. What literacy practices are going well in your classroom? What routines and instruction can you keep, but just jazz up a bit? You may want to reorganize your classroom library or go to a used bookstore to restock a variety of literature. It is fun to shop for new storage to help make your small groups run more effectively. Perhaps take time to add to your reading review game options or unit lesson plan collections. Design a new reading strategies bulletin board- now is the perfect time to plan before the stress of the school year sets in. Maybe you need a new reading rug or just want to steam clean your current one. Add some new seating to your book nook? Remember one of the most exciting parts of the new school year is all the “newness” floating around, so think about ways to revitalize your classroom practices and surroundings.
Pick out a professional book to read. You know, that one you didn’t get the opportunity to read during the hustle and bustle of the school year. It is inspiring to learn about new practices that are researched based and will better equip you to help students reach their full potential. Find a book that pertains to an area of weakness you have in your pedagogy or just an area you are looking to learn more about. Keep in mind that this is not an assigned summer reading program. You get to pick! Recently I have really enjoyed The Reading Strategies Book and newly released The Writing Strategies Book. These texts even have their own Facebook group enabling educators from all over the world to share resources and ask questions pertaining to these user friendly texts by Jennifer Serravallo.
Let’s not forget that you really do need to rest up. It takes a ton of energy to get your classroom set up at the beginning of the year and to prepare yourself for a whole new crop of kids. Plan how you will attack the upcoming year. Sure, you can write a grant for some new technology for your reading centers, but only do so while in your pajamas eating breakfast in bed. Meet with your grade level team about how you will adapt your current reading series to the rigor of the revised standards, but only do so poolside. To gain more background information about an expository text unit you will be studying with your students next year take a vacation to places the books feature. Cut out laminated vocabulary cards while watching your favorite Netflix series. Teachers are some of the most creative folks I know, so no doubt you can think of inventive ways to multitask school planning with relaxing!
While your days may not be filled with parent emails, keeping up with a classroom full of kiddos, and after school faculty meetings, you can still be working towards a fantastic new school year. Enjoy this time by making the most out of it!