Planning for Next Year
Many teachers are unwinding and counting down the days, but one of the most important aspects of our job is to reflect and revamp. This is the perfect time to look back over the year and decide what worked and what didn't. What concepts really "stuck" with your students and what concepts need to be taught differently next year to achieve that "stickiness"? Which units went on too long and which units really needed more time? What great ideas have you seen this year that you'd like to implement next year?
Taking the time to address these questions and make notes for yourself, will really improve the quality of what you do next year. Things get stressful when we wait until the last minute to do them, so why not get a head-start now? You will thank yourself next year...I promise!
In a few months you won't remember all of the stumbling blocks you encountered unless you make notes now. So, get out the Post-its and start making notes. Another great idea comes from What the Teacher Wants.
Be sure to check out and download their FREE Planning Ahead List. I don't know about you, but as a science teacher I always feel like there is something I should be gathering for an upcoming lesson/lab. To keep items from sneaking up on you, you could insert these planning lists in your Teacher Binder and start working on your prep work a week or two earlier. This would also be a great To Do list for a teacher's aide. I try to have a student aide each semester, but there are always days when I can't think of anything for her to do. This would prevent that and take the stress off of you.
It's also time to start looking back through all of those Pinterest boards. GO HERE for a step-by-step tutorial on how to print out your Pinterest boards. Then print out this unit planner sheet (I especially like the last page of the planner) and start organizing your pins for the next school year (by unit). Gone are the days of remembering you had a great idea from Pinterest AFTER you have finished teaching the unit. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
This year, I'm going to find a way to incorporate all of those great ideas I've seen on Pinterest into my unit planner. GO HERE to check out my Create Your Own Teacher Planner on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Just last week, I printed off my 2-page monthly spread calendar and started planning in reverse. Beginning with the end in mind, especially if you teach in a state standardized assessment grade and content area, is a great approach.
1. First, determine when the state assessment is. How much time do you need to review before that? That is sacred time that you can't afford to lose, in my opinion, so I get it on the calendar immediately and don't let anything I do alter it.
2. Get out your district/school calendar and write in when the grading periods begin and end. What holidays and planning days are built into the calendar? How many instructional days do you have before state assessment? Don't forget to leave some wiggle room for things that come up throughout the year like field trips, assemblies, pep rallies, state assessments in other content areas, early release days, etc...
3. Begin mapping out your year-at-a-glance and determine how much time is needed for each unit. Do you have extra time? Have you figured in formative (ongoing, throughout the unit) and summative assessments (culminating assessment over the entire unit) to this time frame? Does your district require you to administer common benchmark assessments throughout the year?
4. I highly recommend having at least 2 planning calendars. I have a monthly calendar and a weekly calendar. My monthly calendar is used for rough planning and the weekly planner involves more detailed components of my planning. Included on my weekly calendar are my state standards, unit focus questions, vocabulary students need to be familiar for the unit, and ways to differentiate or modify instruction for lower-level or more gifted students.
I know you want to just kick up your feet at this point and ease up on the homestretch, but before you start working on that tan and the long list of books you want to catch up on, go ahead and do these few simple steps and I promise you will rest much easier this summer.
Hope you all had a wonderful teacher appreciation week and have an even better last few weeks of school. Love on your kiddos before they leave you.