Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Tips and Tricks ~ Part 2

So now that we have relaxing and making lists under control, here are two other tips:


I always ask a parent or two to make copies for me during the last month of school.  I have them copy EVERYTHING I know I'm going to need for the next year.  I go through each subject and pull all the masters for the "must do" items--assessments, spelling lists, interactive notebook pages, etc.  If you don't have a volunteer, or your school doesn't allow them to make copies, it's worth going in for a morning in the summer (also if your school allows this) and making the copies yourself.  I always focus on the things I know I am going to use the first week as well.

So why is this important?  Well...remember the first week teachers are back to work, long lines at the copiers, and constant copier breakdowns?  Now you can avoid it!  Happy Day!


Now this may sound like a HUGE task...but it really isn't.  I'm just talking about mapping out when you'll be teaching your major units over the year.  This is a great way to see how they will align with holiday breaks and how you will fit them all in.

I love the year planners by Traci Clausen!  Be sure to check them out in her store (click here).  I chose the excel version and it comes with a ton of different templates to meet your needs.  You can have color or black and white...and add as little or as much detail as you need.

Here is her sample and I was impressed by how easy it was to make mine look the same.

This year our district participated in a "vertical alignment" process to align our ELA curriculum with the new Common Core State Standards.  As part of that process all grades had to map our their year using the same template.  It's not as pretty, but just as functional.  Here is my upcoming year:
Now, you may be thinking why this is important?  First, as I said before, it will ensure you can fit in all your required units and ensure you plan for units to end at major breaks.  In addition, it can help you plan when you'll need to make copies (seriously get a parent to come in once a week for 30 minutes--it's a lifesaver!)  Perhaps most importantly, it acts as a guide as you make detailed plans during the year.  Of course there are going to be things that you have to reteach, or concepts your class aces through...and that is why it's an outline and not locked in stone. This helps you pace your plans and determine what you have time for and when.

Now start thinking about what units are a "must do," what field trips or events you have, and then map around that. This will save you HOURS during the year and ensure that you are giving your students exposure to all the standards at your grade level. More tips to come!  

Enjoy! ~Lara

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