It’s been a week since the 2020-2021 school year ended and I’m already thinking and planning for the next one! Who does this? Many teachers! July is often my most productive time to plan, organize and create for September. Let me share with you some ideas of what you can do now for the new school year. This mini check list will help the new teacher and seasoned teacher changing grades or schools.
Brain Dumps Are A Must
I find brain dumps very therapeutic! When it comes to teaching, we have a brain load of ideas and thoughts and it’s very hard to switch off. Get it out of your brain! When planning for the new school year, either take a page in your notebook, journal or digital resource, find somewhere quiet (or quieter, depending on your household) and spend 30 minutes writing it all down. If you have more time and you feel you have more to write, then do it! I tend to do a brain dump almost monthly, so I find 30 minutes a good amount of time.
- lingering thoughts about the previous school year
- wish list of purchases
- wish list of units, field trips
- re-examine organization, is it working? does it need renovating?
- to-dos, now and sometime in the future
There are more but those will get you going. Now, don’t put the list away! Keep it somewhere where you will see it. Go back through the list and see what you can add to your schedule this week. There may be items that you don’t need to do anything with (yippee!). Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting them out of the brain.
Organizing For the New School Year
For me, it’s always about organizing. Do I have enough book bins? Did my lesson planning, unit planning and assessment strategies work this past year? Will my room have a theme? I truly can spend months on this stuff alone! I don’t usually have themes in my room, though owls tend to make an appearance in the room. However, colours and where to have “white spaces” in the room is important. I am not about making my room “busy”. I get distracted by all the stuff on the walls, just like my students. Keep it clean and organized.
As I have less than 5 years in the classroom, I decided to revamp my labels (not all of them). Last summer I did my book bin labels and am happy with them. This summer I am almost finished the labels that go onto the whiteboard: the shape of the day cards, items you will need cards, classroom jobs, and where is the class cards. Here is a sneak peek of the schedule cards:
Year Overviews, Unit Plans
When I feel that I have an idea of what the classroom is going to look like, I start thinking about my year with the students. I do another brain dump:
- curriculum I need to teach
- unit ideas
- field trip ideas
- economy system
- STEM/PBL projects
There are a couple blog posts available to you. If you need one on lesson planning, click here.
This is about all I do during the summer. It is a lot but often, if I commit 4-5 days of focus, most of it gets done. If you are need more ideas, please let me know. I can either direct you to some of my teacher friends who work with new teachers or will have ideas myself (I mentor student teachers occasionally).
Hope you are enjoying your summer break! Until then,