It is summer, my absolute favorite time of year. I can honestly say that I love each of the seasons, but getting to have these warm weeks watching my own kids grow is a delight. As a teacher, I am not “off” for summer. I have the opportunity to grow with professional development experiences, I am busily creating classroom resources for my students, I am reading books to share with my three kids, students, and peers, and I am in full-time mom-mode running my kiddos to swim team, baseball, and camps. I wake up at 4:15AM to hit the gym, and I go to bed “summertime tired” around 10:30PM. Full, non-stop days, but the kind I adore.
Because summer can quickly pass by, I try to make the most of the moments I can find. While my littlest naps and my big kids read (dare to dream) and spend time with friends, I try to do what I can to gear up for the school year ahead. If you are looking to make the most of your summertime, here are the ways I am spending my time to feel refreshed and inspired for the school year ahead…
During the school year my reading time is limited. I tell my students that it is essential to read nightly and make the time to read, but as a mom, wife, coach, teacher, and friend, it is easier said than done in building that time into my schedule. There are kids to shuttle, dinners to make, sports to coach, and homework time to tackle with my own kids. Easily, the reading that I want to do can fall by the wayside. So, I read what I can at night before exhaustion takes over, and know that summer will be the opportune time to get to read more.
Currently, I am reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. You should too! Seriously, grab it. My favorite chapter is titled, “Reading Freedom” and I am hanging on her every thought of how she “meets students where they are as readers.” Like you, I want my students to love reading, not read for task completion. This book is just what I needed to re-evaluate the work I am doing with my students during guided reading and to assist my students with self-selected reading.
In addition, my students have become obsessed with graphic novels. This summer I am snatching those books up from Half-Price Books and taking time to read them, so I have one more literature option I can talk about and recommend to my enthusiastic student readers.
What are the tools you needed this year that you didn’t have? As teachers, we create and adapt our instruction on a daily basis, but I find myself creating even more resources that are specific to the needs of my students during the summer months. As an ELA teacher, I LOVE to create novel units, writing resources, and to write reader’s theater scripts. As a life-long reader and writer, I love to share these creations with my students so they can see that I, too, do what I ask of them, which is read and write.
With state testing being on-line, my students need extra practice reading and responding to text using their Chromebooks. To make this practice as engaging as possible, I took some time to create high-interest digital resources that I can’t wait to use with my students upon our return to school.
During the summer months, take time to create the tools you need to make your students even more successful.
I need summer to be with my kids. I want to watch them swim, play baseball, enjoy their friends, volunteer, and learn new things. Here is what we have been up to at my house:
- My daughter LOVES swim team. Her coaches are incredible and she can’t wait to improve each day. She couldn’t dive two weeks ago, this week, she can.
- My oldest son is in the city championship for baseball, but even more importantly, his coach encourages them to volunteer. We win most when we do good for others!
- My littlest is working on his letters and he loves to read the pictures of books. I could watch him become a stronger reader and writer ALL.DAY!
I feel refreshed just watching them. I love summertime, so I can just be their mom. It doesn’t get much better!
This summer I have had the good fortune of connecting with my friend, Noelle from Maneuvering the Middle. We met at a teaching conference in Las Vegas two years ago, re-connected in Orlando last year, and have had the chance to do Google hang-outs and collaborate on a middle school blog series this summer. I become a better educator when I connect with others, gain fresh perspectives, and implement new ideas.
If you are heading to any conferences, follow any favorites on social media, or are a loyal blog reader/follower, don’t be afraid to reach out and connect. You will be amazed at the bonds you will form and the growth you will experience as an educator through these connections. I can’t wait to see Noelle in California in a few short weeks.
I hope your summer is off to a great start! Before you know it, we will be gearing up for our eager students. Be sure to take some time to refresh yourself by doing the things and surrounding yourself with the people that make you happiest.
All the best,