Summer vacation was wonderful! We traveled the U.S. and Europe, and wrapped it up with a super visit with my daughter and grandbaby! But now, it's time to get back to work.
Now, take into consideration that I always think about my teaching and lessons through my vacations. Each location we visited gives me new ideas for the classroom, and sparks of lessons come to me frequently as we drive from interstate to interstate in the "Great American Heat Wave!" Yet, as I sit down to begin planning for the school year, I am at a complete loss. For. A. Moment!
Where do I start? What do I need to do? Where in the world will I find the time to get everything done before the school year begins?
Don't Panic! Don't Stress! I know the answers to these questions!
While I could go back and take a refresher course on preparing for the school year from my book, A Lesson Plan for Teachers, I think instead I will just wing it from memory!
1. Get my work space organized. This will not include the desperately needed dusting of the work space (having been gone for 31 days!), but I have moved everything I need to one area. In my swivel desk chair I can rotate to find books, resources, and anything else that I should require for my planning.
2. Clean out my email. One of my greatest distractions is my email. I cannot stand to see that little "new mail" icon pop up on my laptop without having to check it immediately. Seriously, it could be something important! So, clean out the email and take away the distraction!
3. Set up my curriculum maps where I can easily see them. This is vital to keep me on task and focused on the classes I want to tackle. More detailed information on curriculum mapping can be found in my older blogs, and I have a great template on Tpt for those just starting this process. It is an ABSOLUTE MUST before any other planning can take place!
4. Access my standards and assessments. Despite my confidence that I know these to the tee and can recite them in my sleep, it is still important to make sure I have them on hand to check myself in the planning process. Use them as a checklist and make sure you are hitting the mark with your great ideas.
5. Plan. Just do it. I like to start with my unit plan template, counting out the allotted days for the content to be covered. I also check my school calendar for any possible interruptions, and then I jump into the daily organization and the creative aspect of my planning. At this point, if you have set yourself up well, it will just flow. Before you know it, you will have a unit on your desk, filled with great daily lessons and activities for your students.
In the end, the task is not as overwhelming as it seems. It just takes the initiative to jump from that plateau of fear and intimidation and to tackle the tasks you know you must do to make your school year a great one!
We are just weeks away... Here We go!