With the current school year quickly coming to an end, you probably have a gazillion things to cross off of your end-of-year checklist. But because you’re a teacher, we’re sure there’s a little voice inside your head challenging you to prepare for back to school time right now. You know that if you do, your summer will be that much more relaxed and restorative.
Adding more things to your to-do list may feel a bit overwhelming at the moment, but the following six preparation tasks are really worth doing before you head out of the classroom.
- All Points Bulletin. After you clear everything off your classroom bulletin boards, spend some time putting up next year’s board. The custodial teams will be making quick work of cleaning up your classroom, but they tend to leave the walls alone. Simple, colorful backdrops will make it super easy for you to feature summer adventures or student artwork next fall. Consider creating a birthday bulletin board, or a board that showcases student poetry or titles of the books they read over the summer. A homework wall is another easy bulletin board to tackle ahead of time.
- Make Your List and Check It Twice. Pull together a list of your necessary supplies and place the order with the main office. Think about batteries, extension cords, workbooks, textbooks, paper supplies, etc. If your classroom is rich in technology, summer is the time to make sure software is up-to-date, new apps are loaded, projector bulbs are replaced, and everything is in working order.
- Lesson Renovation. The first week back to school is notoriously hectic. Why not come up with some icebreaker activities NOW, instead of waiting until the week before school starts? You might also meet with your team members and create enough activities and lessons for the first week (or decide whether to reuse the ones from this year). Be sure to check out the award-winning MimioConnect™ online community for the latest teacher-created lessons for interactive activities. Taking these steps will certainly relieve some of the back to school jitters that teachers experience (just like students).
- Rearrange This. Take the time to look at your classroom’s workflow and layout. Decide how you want your room to be arranged or rearranged, and make any changes to the way you organize materials such as files, manipulatives, and your class library. Be sure to assess how well your classroom is set up for collaborative work. Where is the best place to store 1:1 devices? Do you have a cart for charging and storing Labdisc™ devices and student tablets? Do you have a height-adjustable, interactive table that’s ideal for group learning activities? Think about the best location for you and your students.
- Substitution Switcheroo. You never know when the unexpected sick day may strike, so prepare your substitute packet now. Include important notes about how to use classroom technology like your MimioTeach™ bar or touch projector. Give detailed instructions for such things as how to get students logged in via their most used apps.
- Take a Fact-Finding Trip. Yes, down the hall or across the district or around the globe – ask colleagues for helpful ideas on classroom management, homework routines, technology integration, class rules, procedures, time management, e-portfolios, YouTube, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, a class website….and whatever else interests you. Post what you learn in an online notebook app, and then, over the summer (while sitting on the beach!) you can browse through your digital notebook and decide which ideas you would like to incorporate in your daily or weekly routine.
Now’s a great time to get a jumpstart on the next school year…so you don’t have to spend the summer thinking about it. Some end-of-year prep can give you the gift of a summer vacation in which you can relax, rejuvenate, and rejoice that you survived another school year!
If you have ideas to add, please share them with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts!