As you look ahead to next school year, what organizational or curricular tasks do you want to tackle before the first day of school? Here are some suggestions:
1. Prepare & carry a shopping list. Keep the list of items you’re looking for within your purse/wallet so it’s always with you. These may include:
— Toys, triggers, and concrete objects to use as visual aids in mini-lesson instruction. TIP: Garage sales and discount tables are great places to search.
— Picture book titles you wanted to find personal copies of. TIP: These could be new or used books.
— Containers to reorganize areas of your literacy environment. TIP: Be sure to take some measurements before leaving your classroom.
2. Organize your mini-lessons. Check out the Idea Library link for organizing your mini-lessons.
3. Find anchor papers. Identify student writing samples to correspond with mini-lessons you conduct. These could be writings from your own current students that you saved and photocopied or samples you acquired from online resources. Need help locating good anchor papers? Check out these additional Web resources.
4. Create a day-to-day start-up to your writing year. What are the procedures you want to deliberately incorporate into your first weeks of school in order to improve the management of your writer’s workshop? How will you reveal the 6 Traits to your writers? Make a 20-day game plan that includes each day’s mini-lesson and students’ independent writing time activity.
5. Create a day-to-day start-up to your reading year. What routines and behaviors would you like to implement into the launch of your reading year? How will you introduce reading comprehension strategies and use your reading block time? Maximizing the time requires a specific game plan for reading. Kristi McCullough created a resource, Launch the Reading Block, that shows how to establish routines, outline expectations, and build stamina at the beginning of the school year.
6. Identify core vocabulary. Go through your academic standards and identify the math, science, social studies, and/or language arts terms that are essential for your grade-level. Identify the top 30 core concept words per content area for the year. Pinpointing these core words helps you more intentionally teach them throughout the year.
7. Clean up your computer. Don’t forget about your computer hard drives, CDs, flash drives, etc. Reorganize documents into digital folders for quick access in the future. And remember to back up your hard drive. When you burn the items onto a CD, or save them all to a flash drive, you save yourself great trauma when realizing the school server crashed over the summer and all was lost!
8. Identify your summer reading list. What professional books do you want to read? What about looking for some new chapter books/novels for all-class read alouds? Websites count as “reading,” too. What professional sites do you want to spend time perusing this summer?