how to plan over the summer, plan book and pencil

How to Plan for the School Year Over the Summer

I always want to plan over the summer but somehow between summer jobs and things to do, it never happens how I’d like. I’ve only really done this once so far (last year), and it helped SO MUCH. The more you can plan/prep before August/September rolls around, the better. I was able to cut a lot of time working on the weekends and staying late at school. I was able to look ahead more instead of focusing on that day’s lesson or the next day’s lesson.

With that said, this year is extremely difficult to plan for (and probably next year as well…). Are we going to open in the next month or so as planned? Are we going to do in-person learning or eLearning or a combination? Our governor has already stated that he wants to open schools up in the Fall. Even so, we still don’t know how to plan for that because it could look a million different ways.

I am going to plan like it’s a “regular” year and go from there. It’s easier to edit an existing plan than to have to start from scratch. We just have to go in with a mindset that things WILL change so we don’t get caught up in things changing. Even after I write this post I know that I will want to tweak everything because I’m currently watching the Get Your Teach On trainings/videos and of course, they are amazing. So it makes me want to implement a million things right away.

To start, I listed all the subjects I teach in a Word doc. (Reading, Writing, Math, Science) Social studies is integrated into the other subjects in our county. Then, I typed the curriculum or ideas I knew I wanted to implement this year. For example, I want to try most of Mr. Greg’s hands-on science experiments, so I put that under science. I also want to incorporate Miss Decarbo’s vocabulary curriculum, so that’s under reading.

Then, I made desktop folders for each week of the school year. I drag and dropped things into the folders that I knew I would need for those weeks. So the first two weeks had back to school activities, December had holidays around the world, and each week had it’s different vocabulary sets. This is still a work in progress and may not get done, but it’s a starting place. I don’t have everything for every week, but I have the bones.

I looked through the resources I had electronically to see if I wanted to use them for this year. If I did, I tried to figure out where I would put them and why. It’s easier if things are themed or go in a specific order. The vocabulary was easy to input because it’s chronological. The science experiments were mostly easy because a lot of them were themed to holidays.

Math is probably the biggest struggle because my first grade team and I have to agree to a curriculum map and we won’t be doing that until the beginning of the year. If you are in a similar situation, just do the best you can. The first two weeks will probably be a review/simple addition/subtraction concepts if you are teaching primary.

That being said, think about one math unit you know you’ll be teaching in the first quarter. Gather everything you need for that unit- video resources, exit tickets, games, etc. and plan that unit fully. Even if it’s not the first unit you teach, you will be so glad that at least one of the units will be finished! Same idea goes for reading!

Moving back to the Word doc, I also have other categories besides the four subjects: back to school, management, homework, end of the year, miscellaneous, and to-do. This is where I jot down ideas I want to try this year. When I’m in the mood to make progress on planning/prep, I can pull this up and get started on something from the to do list.

The most important thing that I want to knock out is the first month of school. (or at least the first two weeks) We know this is the craziest time and not having to worry about major planning is a huge weight lifted. This is some of the most fun planning, too. You can get to know your students through fun activities and games, and teach basics like routines and how to best get along with others and problem solve.

After those key things are planned, I also want to make sure I have everything ready for meet the teacher night. This may include an ‘all about your teacher’ sheet, school supply sheet, small gift bags (a very small bag of popcorn or candy with a cute saying), and a brochure that outlines some basics on how you/the classroom will look like for the year.

Also think about your classroom: what do you want your bulletins to look like? If you can create a rough sketch or to-do list for your room before you come in, that will save a lot of time- you can focus on getting everything up instead of what you will do with the space.

Get your sub binder ready for the year. Include a week or two of emergency plans. This is just in case you aren’t able to create them when you’re in a bind. Our school actually requires us to have this ready to go by the second or third week. (but do it now so you don’t have ONE more thing to do!)

Lastly, think about homework. While you probably won’t give it the first two weeks, think about what you want it to look like and have it prepared for the coming weeks. It is SUCH a timesaver when you have your homework prepped for weeks at a time or for the whole year.

To wrap up, make sure you have at least the first two weeks planned out AND at least one full math and reading unit. Then, move on to things like: meet the teacher night, classroom space/bulletin boards planned out, sub binder ready, and homework done.

Get a jumpstart on teacher planning for the school year this summer! Lots of tips to get started and plan efficiently! Click To Tweet

Do you plan over the summer? What does your summer planning look like?

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