How to get ready for the next school year

With the school year winding down, some of you teachers are thinking about the many ways that you can get ready for the next one. After all, every day we spend relaxing is another day wasted away from school!

OK, this might not actually be the case. However, there are some ways that we can get ready for the coming school year that help make us to better teachers while still allowing us to do whatever activities we enjoy over the summer. Here’s how to manage this feat:

  1. Get some rest. Yep, if you want to be ready for the next school year, you have to make sure that you’ve gotten enough rest from the last one. Take time off, go visit your families, take the kids to Licensed Character Theme Park, and get sunburned at the beach. You’ll be glad you did.
  2. Keep your mind open to things that might be useful for your teaching. These things can be big or small, developed ideas or very rough ones. Spend two minutes a day considering the events of the past 24 hours to see if your students might benefit from hearing about it.
  3. Write down whatever you found in #2 above. If you just have a simple phrase in mind, write it down. If you’ve got a whole lab in mind, write it out as best you can. I’ve had a Post-It in my home office with the words “vinegar pennies” written on it for a couple of years – I haven’t done anything with it yet, but I may have a stoichiometry lab in the making.

I’ll give you an example of how this works with some events that happened to me this past week.

  1. I’m trying to make the house look nicer and was replacing the pull knobs in the kitchen. Maybe this isn’t exactly “getting some rest”, but I was enjoying doing it.
  2. At one point I had a big bag of metal knobs in front of me and I wondered what they were made of. Perhaps this can be made into a lab!
  3. I wrote down the words “What’s the knob made of, first day?” and put it in my home office. From this I knew to pursue the idea of a first day lab activity where the kids try to figure out what the knobs are made of. This may or may not actually become a lab, but if it doesn’t, it may spark another lab. (And either way, I’ll post the resulting lab on the teachercav.com site when I finish it.)

So get relaxing, have some family time, and kick back by the pool. And if you see something interesting, make a note. It might just be your next exciting lab!

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