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My son’s first word was “Fish”, because I brought him to my classroom after school got out for the summer, and he was entranced with the fish tank. As a teacher, I was excited to spend more time with my family and relax over vacation, but I was also a new teacher and wanted to be as prepared as I could for the next year. I was organizing, prepping, brainstorming… much that my baby started talking to the classroom wildlife!

Here are some great resources for quick, easy improvements for next year. Ways to sprinkle in some literacy, inquiry, and fun without extending yourself too much or missing the point of summer vacation! 

1. Stir in some Microfiction:

No matter what subject you teach, you can deepen understanding and connection through writing. Instead of any kind of overhaul, take a look over your successful plans from last year and add just a few writing activities from the following resources.

From “Minecraft, Memes, and Microfiction”:

One of the most successful writing programs I used when teaching middle school writing was that of the 6 Word Story. After introducing them to the concept from (a filtered version of) the examples from Ernest Hemmingway’s famous challenge, I set them free to create as many as they wanted within different genres.

The boundary of “6 Words Only” encouraged reluctant writers and was deceptively simple. The low barrier to entry made it fun!

2. Watch a Webinar:

And the Answer is: Using Trivia to Boost Nonfiction Reading” is a great webinar that you can access anytime, and use to engage your students in the kind of nonfiction reading that supplements and extends whichever subject you are diving into. 

Additionally, check out Ed Web. Its full of free webinars for which you recieve a certificate. Topics for June include bullying, behavioral intervention, school climate surveys, array models for teaching multiplication & division, and ethics for school leaders.

3. Browse some Blog Posts: 

Here at Big Universe Blog, educators from all over the country and all areas of expertise contribute their knowledge in fast & fresh wasy. Here are some of my favorite posts this past year, which you can put to use in your classroom right away!

By the Dozen: Using Donuts to Dive Into Developing Dynamic Lesson Plans:

“Get math involved by having students calculate the area, radius, circumference or perimeter [for donuts that are not round].  Weigh the donuts to see how much fillings and toppings affect the donut’s overall weight.  Use these measurements to come up with the “perfect” donut, using the average size, weight, circumference, and volume to describe its attributes.  Compare the weight of donuts to similar breakfast items like bagels, muffins, and English muffins.  Another cool idea?  Have students learn how to follow directions, use fractions and proportions, and experiment with the chemistry of the cooking process with making their own donuts.”

Three Wishes For Teaching and Learning Success:

“According to Andrés, who authored Self-esteem in the Classroom or the Metamorphosis of Butterflies in Affect in Language Learning, “…although parents hold the key to children’s self-esteem, teachers hold a spare one…”

Self-esteem is based on children feeling the following Five senses internally, and strongly centered within – – (S.I.B.P.P.)

  • Security – feeling safe and not threatened.
  • Identity – knowing who you are.
  • Belonging – feeling part of your community.
  • Purpose – having reasons for doing things.
  • Personal Competence – having a belief in your ability to do things.”

Space Pioneer: Celebrating Sally Ride Day: 

“Her life symbolizes courage, endurance, and dedication to achieving what seemed to be the impossible.  She authored several children’s books, created programs to inspire girls to enter STEM-based careers, and taught as a professor, making a significant impact in the lives she touched……Study other women who were firsts, such as Mae Jemison (first Black American female astronaut), Victoria Woodhull (first woman to run for president in the US), and the Honorable Judge Sonia Sotomayor (first Hispanic American woman to be appointed in the Supreme Court),   How are their stories similar?  What can you learn from their lives?”

How else do you like to prep for the next school year while enjoying your break? What resources help you on your way?

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