by Diana Remick, Guest Columnist
Wow! Where has the summer gone? Here it is July and the stores are stocking the shelves with school supplies and advertising for Back-to-School sales! I just finished teaching summer school and packed my classroom for summer cleaning. My plan is to take a couple of weeks off before heading back into my classroom to prepare for a new school year. However, if you are anything like me, you are already planning ahead. During the school year I kept a journal of lessons, activities, and ideas that worked well and those that needed to be changed. During the summer months, I reflect on my notes and start making changes.
Time Saving Tips for the New School Year
This past school year our school district implemented a new math curriculum to support the Common Core. Since it was added at the beginning of the school year, there was not time to become “comfortable” with it. As with the rest of the teachers in my school, we “jumped” right in and began teaching it. Along the way we made adjustments and supported one another by doing the best we could. As with all new programs, full implementation does not happen right away. Since I teach 2nd grade, I noticed there were “gaps” in students learning so I had to become familiar with the foundations that were set in Kindergarten and 1st grade. There were also a lot of manipulatives that had to be created and lessons to be learned prior to teaching. Since I felt like I did an “okay” job of teaching math and my notes reflected that, I have decided that I am going to tackle math first. My instructional coach has allowed me to check out all my math manuals and resources so that I can become more confident in learning the program. With my colored sticky notes, I am busy reading and marking. I know that what I am doing now will build my confidence in teaching math as well as save me time during the school year.
Our school requires us to send home Classroom Handbooks at the beginning of the school year. Some components of the handbook are school policies while others are more individualized. This summer I am revising mine to fit the changes made in the district and in my classroom. I like to include a section on “what your child is learning and how you can help”. My handbook reflects our adoption of the Common Core Standards and the math program. I am searching for new ideas to add. I know that my Classroom Handbook will not be completed until I have my schedule, etc. but at least I will have a great start and the work I do now will allow me to focus on other “projects” during our staff workdays.
Throughout the past school year I have received numerous books that will help me grow professionally. I am now able to focus on reading. As a wife and a mother of three wonderful children I am still enjoying my summer time with my family. While they are swimming, I am enjoying reading by the pool.
I have also found that mornings are the best time for me to work and to plan ahead for the upcoming school year! I encourage any teacher who wants to “get ahead” to begin by reflecting on changes that need to be made and then putting a plan in place!
About the Author
Diana Remick is a 2nd grade teacher in La Junta, Colorado. She has been an elementary educator for 18 years. Mrs. Remick earned both her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her Master’s degree in Reading and Linguistically Diverse Education from Adams State College.