When summer comes around, everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax as much as possible. Often times, it is hard to withhold work completely. Organizing and planning during the summer eases some stress for the upcoming school year. I have more time to relax and less feelings of being rushed. I use bits and pieces of my time over the summer to plan, prep for the upcoming year and review the previous school year. In this post, I will share my routines over the summer and how I get ahead of the game!
Domain focused curriculum and prep
Using a spreadsheet to list out dates and assessment checkpoints start my organization. I first list the next dates for each week and then list any special events or days off that we have throughout the year. The next thing to get entered are the unit themes. Although I enjoy following student interests in the classroom, I do list generic themes that I want to cover. These are always able to be move around or changed as needed, but the outline gives me a start. After that, my biggest plan is to look through the materials that I have that correspond to the themes I have listed. Getting these gathered over the summer make lesson planning throughout the year much quicker and smoother.
Speaking of lesson plans, it IS possible to start lesson planning before the school year starts. I was never someone who was successful at lesson planning last minute. Getting them done weeks, or even months in advance are very helpful to me and my classroom team! Just like the yearly plan, these are not set in stone and may also change as needed, but a start is very helpful. I list out the domains that are within the assessment we use within the classroom and gather materials and resources that can be coordinated to help teach and assess different skills.
- Social emotional
- Social studies
Program samples and goals ready
IEP meetings, treatment plans, and progress reports come far too quickly, even when we think we have months before they need to be done. I have a binder full of goal and program examples that are organized by each domain or milestone. These are of course individualized when I am writing IEPs or treatment plans, however, using these as a guide or help to spark ideas and skills needed help with writer block. I also include research and excerpts from books to help learn from and refresh on current interventions, skills, and/or assessments.
Calendar and planner of meetings and due dates
I write down all IEP and treatment plan expiration dates and meetings that have already been scheduled. I put all of these within my planner and cross reference on lesson plans and my yearly planning guide. I gather and separate materials and resources that I will use for assessments and progress monitoring. I keep these separate from materials for lessons in order to have everything ready to grab within each center of the classroom. Lastly, I write down and print out articles and books that I want to read and use for research on programming and interventions. Planning over the summer is possible, and my experience of using slots of time to do so have made the upcoming year much less stressful and rushed.