Many of you have been out of school for a week or two. Hopefully you're enjoying sleeping in, spontaneous bathroom breaks, and maybe even a drink or two by the pool. You probably also have a Pinterest board full of projects you planned on doing over the summer, as well as a pretty long to-do list of things you didn't have time for during the school year. Here's my list of the 5 best ways to stay productive over the summer!
Choose a classroom theme
Once school starts, decorating is always the last thing I have time for. I love decorating my classroom and like to mix up my themes every year. Choosing a classroom theme is a fun way to be productive over the summer. (Let's save the tedious assignments for during the school year. It is summer break, after all!)
It probably won't surprise you that I pick my themes from Jodi @ Clutter -Free Classroom's huge selection. I'm torn between travel-themed and dog-themed.
Choosing a theme early in the summer gives you time to leisurely print all the fun decorations and have your kids or spouse help you cut and laminate. I like to get it all ready to go, then put it in my "back to school" box so that I can put it up the week before school starts.
Make sample notebooks
I love, love, love interactive notebooks, and so do my students. In the past I've put together my notebook the week before each lesson. Sometimes I fell behind and didn't have a model in my notebook for the students Monday morning... which is bad. A couple of years ago I started putting together my sample interactive notebooks during the summer so that I was 100% prepared for every lesson. It cut down on my planning time, and it was pretty therapeutic to color, cut, and glue! It's also a good time to get help coloring and cutting if you have school-aged kids at home.
3rd-5th Grade Math INB can be found in my store here.
4th-6th Grade ELA INB can be found in my store here.
If you haven't tried interactive notebooks before, download this rounding lesson for free to see if it will be a good fit for your classroom! This can be your first sample interactive notebook that you create this summer.
Read Professional Development Books
We do lots of great book studies during the school year, but I always feel like I don't really get the time to read and discuss the books. Take time over the summer to get together with a couple of teacher friends and really read a good teaching book (without having to juggle lesson planning and everything else that happens during the school year!).
I highly recommend the following books (affiliate links)I like:
Five years ago all of my materials were in folders in filing cabinets and binders. I could never find anything and I often forgot about really great resources I had... until I was cleaning out the cabinets. Go through your materials and scan them (or have them scanned to save you time). Organize them by concept or standard to make your life a whole lot easier next year. I did this on a Free dropbox account so that I could access my materials from every computer and also share and collaborate with other teachers.
Shopping is my favorite thing to do on summer break. As far as productive shopping goes, I use all my extra time to hit up garage sales and the used bookstore to get books to renew my classroom library. I also hunt Craigslist for great deals on organizers and furniture that I can use in my classroom.
Every summer I give myself a $30 budget for summer book shopping. Last year I was able to buy 50 gently used books at garage sales and mid-week library sales! I don't bother buying new books because they're only new for the first 5 minutes - pretty much until the first kid touches it.
I absolutely love being productive in the summer, but in a fun way! These 5 things will help you get ready for next school year, without it seeming like you're doing a whole lot of work.
Most of all, do things you enjoy this summer, even if it is teaching related!