Every summer I tried to prioritize what I was going to do to get ready for the next school year. I wanted my classroom to be engaging, fun, inviting and a place that I wanted to be each day. This will give you ideas on things you can do this summer to refresh for the fall and prepare for a fantastic first week of school!
1) Pick a theme: Each year I liked to have a new classroom theme. Some that I have used before are: Jungle, Smiley Faces, Oklahoma, Beach etc. I wanted my classroom to be fun and engaging for my students and families, and I liked having something fresh to look at each year! Teachers spend a lot of time in their classrooms and so, it should be homey and warm. This theme was always separate from what my thematic units were each week and added to the classroom décor and atmosphere. This way my classroom not only felt exciting, it also looked awesome! (don’t forget that first impressions are what people remember)!
2) Review your curriculum: Is there anything new that you want to try? I changed, added or redeveloped my curriculum often. Some curriculum that I have tried are Frog Street Press, Literacy First, Letter People, and I developed Classroom Mascots which I developed a small curriculum on my own. Find something you believe in and that works for you and your students.
3) Professional Development: This was one of my favorite things to do in the summer because it always refreshed me, my thinking and my teaching practices. It also gave me up to date ideas and curriculum that work. Some that I have really enjoyed are: Dr. Jean, NAEYC, Great Expectations, Bal-A-Vis-X Training, and Parents as Teachers. Often times we have to use the curriculum our school requires, but you can always add things to make it better.
4) Pinterest : I think it’s important for teachers to get ideas from colleagues and peers. This includes finding websites that showcase other’s work. This also gives you the opportunity to showcase your classroom and what you love and believe in. I enjoy searching the internet for different way to set up a classroom, centers and even field trip ideas. You can also find great articles like Tips and Tricks for Back to School while doing a search on how to have a great school year!
5) Re-organize your classroom set up (Environment). Reorganization can mean many things. Going through old and used materials, cleaning up your environment, painting, new bulletin boards, and even a new chair for you to sit in will make you excited about starting the year. Do something or find something that makes you happy. This can be as simple as decorating the door to your classroom.
6) Go to garage sales/Goodwill: These are great places to find new furniture, book shelves, books and pretty much anything you want for your classroom for cheap.
7) Research new and innovative ways to reach families: It is important that we stay abreast on current topics and ideas happening in education. Social media is one great way to reach families and another way to keep families involved is by using Kaymbu. There are several options of alerts and text messaging for families, virtual pages, bulletin boards, and Parent Parties.
8) Be a Great Teacher: Great teachers inspire to change a child’s life. They build relationships with families and they take the time to get to know each student individually. The 8 ideas in this post go a long way in getting you ready and even excited about the new school year!
This list is very basic and minimal. There are so many things you can do to get ready and refreshed for next year. Good luck and have fun, make it the best year yet!
This guest post was written by Tisha Shipley. Tisha has a doctorate of education in Curriculum and Instruction and has taught multiple grade levels at Moore Public Schools, including pre–K and gifted 3rd–6th graders.
You can find Tisha online in these places: