Summer is here and you are ready to prop your feet up, pour a glass of wine, sit by the pool, and relax! While all of these are definitely on every teacher’s summer to-do list, there are also a few proactive summer tips you can check off your list that your future teacher-self will thank you for as the summer comes to an end and the new school year begins! Here are a few small proactive summer tips to ensure you ease into the next school year gracefully!
Purge, purge, purge! Whether you “Marie Kondo” your classroom items and keep only the things that “spark joy” or you furiously toss old items in the recycle bins, it is helpful to begin the new year with a blank slate! No-one wants to enter into the next school year with piles of old items from the previous year. This is stressful! Go through your notebooks, supplies, etc. NOW instead and toss any old items that you will not use the upcoming year. After, you can start fresh when you return. This will allow you to focus on the new group of students that will be coming into your classroom rather than dealing with anything from the previous year. Trust me, this makes returning to school a lot easier!
PRO TIP: I like to use the rule of: if it has not been used in a year – TOSS IT!
ORGANIZE FILES (DIGITAL & PAPER)
Take the cleaning to a whole new level by organizing your digital and paper files before you leave. Saving master copies digitally will help you save room, keep from having cluttered filing cabinets, and know that items are always saved in a safe place. I simply reprint whenever these items are needed! Come up with an organizing system that works for you! I prefer to organize my files, master copies, etc. by six weeks and then by subject. Color coding along the way makes organizing even more fun! The Home Edit would be so proud to know that I organize my six weeks files in rainbow order.
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First Six Weeks (color coded red)
Sub Folders: Phonics, Math, Social Studies/Science
Inside each sub folder I include materials or master copies used for THAT subject in the first six weeks. I find this system easier to find units and make my lesson plans as the year goes on!
PRO TIP: Also create a folder titled “Year Round Resources” with sub folders for each subject. Here, you can throw any of the resources that you do not use year round such as writing templates, leveled readers, etc.
These folders can be made both digitally (I prefer Google Drive) or as hard copies in your classroom filing cabinet! A great resource for hard copies are these color coded folders with tabs to keep organized!
SCHEDULE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Summer is a great time to schedule a little professional development. Of course, you do not want to jam pack your summer schedule with so much professional development that you are burnt out before school even begins, but adding in a little professional development to your summer schedule can keep information fresh on your mind and add ideas for the next school year. Try listening to a podcast or webinar while relaxing or doing tasks around the house!
MAKE A LIST
When you feel overwhelmed, making a list always helps to ease the mind! A list can help you to feel proactive over the summer while you are at home and not able to actually prep in the classroom. I like to make lists of items I want/need for the next school year and plan new activities I would like to incorporate into my classroom. For example, I will be changing my classroom theme, so I am planning where I will put new décor items in my room. I want to incorporate more fun, hands-on learning activities as well, so I am listing ideas for whole brain teaching and interactive websites such as Fluency and Fitness where students can have fun while learning and reviewing concepts!