Teacher Time Management During the Summer

Happy Summer friends!  We are spending our time playing in softball tournaments and visiting colleges across the Southeast.  I love the places we get to visit, and they always give me a little inspiration for my classroom.  While I don't spend the entire 4 days of the tournament glued to my computer, I do have activities that I take with me that help me make a more smooth transition to the school year in August.  Today I wanted to share a few of them with you, in case your life was also spent waiting and watching your kids and their activities.

#1 Read and/or Annotate
One of the best parts of the summer break is that teachers on social media start posting about books that they have begun reading.  While I'm ALL FOR READING for pleasure #givemeallthebooks,
I also like to try and get in some reading for my grade level.  Florida tends to make this a little more easy for me because they publish a list of Florida Sunshine State books.  These are novels by amazing authors that they believe students in Florida should read.  While many of you may not live in Florida, it is a great list to get some good ideas from.  I always try to read at least half of the 3-4 list before school starts because then I can recommend books right away to students when they come back to school.  I always brag on the ones I really really liked to get students interested in reading again right away.  A few of the Sunshine State books are also part of my Reading Tasting Party at the beginning of the year.  It always helps motivate my students, and my stamina tends to rise quickly with these types of activities.  Currently, I'm reading A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner.  Here is an Amazon link (its an affiliate) if you want to read more about this book.

Here is the link to see the Florida Sunshine State books for the year.  This is their main page, and from there you can navigate to each of the book lists.  
There are lists that are 3-5 and 6-8.  I also love checking out the other levels that I'm not teaching. 
#2: Sketch Out Your Classroom and Jot Your Ideas
Another thing I like to do at the ball field is sketch out my classroom and create a things to do list. While I've seen other teacher parents sit at the field and cut laminating, I save this for nights I have to be at practice, NOT for when I'm traveling across the Southeast... too many other things to bring.  I do always carry a notebook with me and I love to spend time sketching out ideas for how I can maximize the space in my classroom.  I also like to look at different ideas that I've saved on Pinterest, and then give myself a reality check for accomplishing those things.  I mean, let's BE HONEST!  Everyone WANTS a Pinterest worthy classroom, and yes, I'm envious, just like others who drool over everything under the sun that is color coordinated.  But I'm a realist, and I know that what is really going to make my classroom amazing, isn't my coordinated teacher box, but the amazing lesson plans and activities that I create for my students.  So I spend my daydreaming time at the ball field thinking up lesson plans and activities.  I make a list of activities I'm thinking of, and then either find the resource on TpT or make it myself to use.  Lots of times if it is an idea for an interactive notebook page, I'll sketch it in my notebook, and then when we are back at the hotel in the air conditioning, I'll put the page together on my computer.  When I get home from the trip, I print it out, tweak it, and put in in my INB sample binder for when I'm ready to teach it.  To me this is a no pressure situation.  I'm at the field, not much else going on, and I let my mind wander.  Sometimes, it wanders its way to school things, and that's when I think creatively about my notebooks.  Other times, meh... I want to read that trashy novel. LOL.  The point is, you have a notebook available, in case the thought comes.  My idea for this novel project came at the ball field, and my class LOVED doing this! Novel Book Report Project

#3: Make a To Do List and Check it Twice
Again, for me it's all about that notebook.  At the beginning of the summer I lay out a few goals that I want to accomplish.  NOT A TON... JUST A FEW!  

We all need to give our brains a break.  It's like doing a reset.  But I do have a few things that I like to take care of before school begins, because it makes the beginning of the year a little less stressful.  For example, I try in the summer to learn to make a few different weeknight meals.  I have teenagers who get home before me, and this summer they are going to learn the art of food prep and meal creation.  Momma doesn't need to do it all.  I've gotten a few meal magazines to take with me when we travel.  I'll make some decisions about meals we may want to eat and and that take under 30 minutes to cook.  This summer we'll be trying them out, and adding them to our monthly meals list.  Another goal that I have for the summer is to get some long term plans in place.  I'm the PLC facilitator for my grade level, so I am going to create our long term plan and goals on a calendar that I can share with my admin and team.  Because the calendar is online, it is easy to access while I'm sitting at the ball field, so in my day dreaming mode, I'll be able to enter dates and thoughts, and be ready for teacher pre-planning.  Usually, I strive for 3-4 big to dos.  If I get super motivated, and those were easy to accomplish, then I set a few more.  But the point is to NOT GO GOAL CRAZY!!!  You want to feel accomplished when the end of summer rolls around.  I want to feel like the summer was productive without feeling like I slaved over my computer.  But having a few goals helps me to prioritize my time when I am sitting and waiting.  Again, I go back to that notebook at the ball field.  I write down calendar dates, to dos, thoughts, ideas, lesson plans, interactive notebook ideas etc.  Then when I get back to my computer, I work on putting those thoughts into my online planbook, or creating new INB pages.  Right now, I'm working on INB pages for our place value unit.  It is going to feel SO amazing to know that I have an entire unit created and ready to launch at the beginning of the year.  It keeps me motivated, and learning all summer long!

I would love to hear what motivates you in the summer!  Leave a comment below and let me know some of your goals and/or accomplishments!

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