Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What to do??


I hope all of you are posted up at the pool enjoying the sunshine, outdoors, and stress-free beauty that is summer.  It is well-deserved!  There is nothing quite like the feeling of having NOTHING to do.  It starts out as amazing-I can clean my house, go to the pool, walk the dogs, read a few books, etc. But then, after 2-3 weeks....reality sets in.  I am bored.  I dislike LOATHE being bored and feeling unproductive.  So, I have compiled a list of "things to do" for teachers of the restless variety.  You know you all secretly love having the opportunity to spend some quality time just brainstorming creative new ideas for your classroom-even if it is during the summer.  I always enjoyed having enough time to COMPLETELY revamp, refresh, and update my classroom.  So without further ado:

8 Summer Projects for Teachers

1.  Work on a long term curriculum map.

Evaluate what went well, and what needs revamping from the previous year.  There are a plethora of free templates on teachers pay teachers or that you can find by just googling "free long range plan templates".  If you are moving to a new grade level or subject area, familiarize yourself with your new curriculum, and begin developing a long range plan for yourself.  This WILL HELP you in the long run.  I always found that a long range plan would help me remember special units or books that I wanted to use with certain skills.

Check out these amazing resources:

Scholastic Long Range Planning Guide
More ideas from Scholastic
Mandy's Tips for Teachers **This teacher has some amazing stuff!!**

Feel free to download this sample long range plan that I used with my team:

2.  Create a floor map for rearranging your classroom.

Tired of the same ole' thing in your classroom?  Take measurements of your room, and brainstorm ways to rearrange your class while maintaining an effective flow.  There are several online tools that you can use to help you, and an infinite number of classroom photos online to help you form new ideas.
3.  Create a Reader's and Writer's notebook to use as a model for students.

Check out my post HERE.  I made these models during the summer, so that they were ready to go during the school year.  I also made several extras, so that when new students joined us late in the year, they would be able to use the same type of notebook as their classmates.

4.  Read or Reread The First Days of School or some other motivational/inspirational teacher book.

Whatever teacher book motivates and inspires you...read it!  I reread The First Days of School every year.  It helped me reset for the upcoming year, and reminded me that I set the tone and expectation on day one!  Another inspirational read is The Freedom Writers Diary.  It has been a while since I read this one, but I remember loving it.

The First Days of School

The Freedom Writers Diary

5.  Create or organize learning centers for use during guided reading.

This can be EXTREMELY time consuming during the school year.  I like for my centers to be very tactile, which means finding a lot of resources.  It can be a challenge to change up centers during the school year.  To help yourself prepare, think of center ideas during the summer, and gather up materials so that you can have them ready to go!

Click HERE to see some ideas for literacy centers that I have used in the past.

6.  Create new procedures posters or rotation charts.

You know they fade.  Just freshen up!

7.  Develop a new integrated unit.

Have you always wanted to teach fractions and plants together?  Go ahead and think through an integrative unit now, so that you are less overwhelmed when the times comes to plan for the unit during the year.

8.  Use Donors Choose to create a project for funding.

I have had many projects funded on Donors Choose, and I posted most of the projects during the summer.  It can take a little while to post a project on the site, but once it is there, you don't have to do anything!  Also, Sonic does Limeades for Learning during August/September, which is a great time to get your family to enter votes for your existing project for FREE.

Donors Choose

Sonic Limeades for Learning

I hope that you find this list helpful for you if you are the kind of person who has to be busy **like me** ! Please include any other ideas that you have in the comments box:-)

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