We head into summer exhausted and don’t really have an idea for how we want summer to go except that we need a break. Then we fall down the rabbit hole of continuing to think too much about work, not resting enough, not taking time to reflect and recharge. Then we wonder why we start our school year harried and not really feeling any better then when the school year ended. Let’s not have that be our reality this year. Let’s create a summer plan that empowers us to take care of ourselves and embark on a little learning all while enjoying the lazy days of summer.
Cast a Vision
Cast a vision for how you would like to come back in the fall. Then create a plan for how to make that happen this summer. Making this backwards design for yourself will help you help your students cast their own vision for how they would like to return in the fall.
Sample Teacher Plan
Goal: Come back refreshed and ready to tackle the new school year
Plan: Make time for rest ie build in time for a nap each day
Goal: To read for fun this summer
Plan: Join a book club or sign up for a reading challenge
Goal: Have more fun
Plan: Make time for things I enjoy and schedule them in my calendar
Goal: To learn more about how to build in more opportunities for reading response
Plan: Ask a couple of co-workers to read Writing about Reading with you this summer to discuss
Goal: Attend conferences that support my professional goals
Plan: Research conferences and books that I want to read and put them on my calendar
Make A Plan for Summer Learning:
Make a plan for your summer learning now while you’re still in school mode. This will help ensure that you don’t miss out because registration closed. Look for conferences that you can be a part of, lots are offered free online, like E2E summer reboot July 16th-18th.
Other conferences that I recommend especially if you are a teacher leader are:
Coaching Transformed- July 7th
Stepping Into Coaching- July 12th-14th
Look for books that help you give you a focus for growth next year or prepare you for changes ahead. If you are a Texas upper elementary teacher three that I recommend are:
The Literacy Workshop by Maria Walther and Karen Briggs-Tucker
Writing about Reading by Janet Angelillo
Raising the Standards Through Chapter Books
Join me on the podcast this summer as we embark on the journey to come back better. We will talk about what it means to:
Let’s make sure that you come back better and ready to tackle the challenges that are to come.
Summer Goal Setting with Students:
Like any goal setting session that you want to embark on in your classroom, it is important that we lead by example. Now that you’ve created your summer plan it’s time to help your students create one too.
Oftentimes summer for students represents a chance to relax, which is great, yet we often want students to engage in activities that help them grow academically. The problem is that we don’t give them a roadmap for doing that themselves.
We try to rely on parents to help them do this, but parents aren’t the ones in our classrooms. So let’s set students up for success and help them set realistic goals. Give everyone a copy of this summer planning page, and give students time to craft a summer plan that they have control over.
Sample Student Plan
Plans to have more fun-
Goal: Play outside more
Plan: Commit to not playing video games until I have played outside for at least 20 minutes
Goal: Be a more patient sibling
Plan: Make time to do something with my sibling that they enjoy for at least 10 minutes a day
Plans to grow my brain-
Goal: Read More
Plan: Make time to read 20 minutes each day
Goal: Write More
Plan: Write a letter to a relative about what I am reading about
Goal: Read different types of books
Plan: As classmates for book recommendations
Now that you and your students set goals for the things you’d like to accomplish this summer let’s create a Come Back Better Challenge that your class can participate in. You can have them participate in this together to keep you connected over the summer or create their own independent challenge. I have created a bank of ideas as well as a blank template that you can use to help you guys get started.
For you- Share these ideas and challenge with your colleagues so that you can participate together and hold each other accountable. Create one for your family to keep the fun going and give them a sense of purpose as well.
For your student- If you’re going to do the Come back better challenge with students then encourage them to post their boards on your school messaging app like class dojo in order to stay connected. If students will be doing the challenge independently, encourage them to recruit their family in order to build accountability.