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Summer Reflecting, Learning, Tweaking, and Planning

As I sat to write my blog post for this month, I found myself with a serious case of writer’s block. I kept thinking to myself, “but it’s June…school’s out… What do educators want to read about in June? Summer vacation is just starting... ” Then, I thought about how I used to spend the month of June when I was a classroom teacher: going back over the prior year’s unit plans, making notes about things that worked or didn’t work before I forgot, tweaking things to make them work better, outlining units of instruction for the next school year, creating handouts and materials, designing projects and rubrics, and always, always, looking for more inspiration and increasing my professional knowledge through taking courses, reading in my field, reflecting, and incorporating new ideas into next year’s plans. June and July for me were not months of vacation (despite the misconception that many non-educators have about the teaching profession). Rather, these months provided less structured time to reflect, learn, tweak, and plan.

And I realized that perhaps in this blog post I could provide some inspiration as educators all over the country (and the rest of the northern hemisphere) start to engage in this summer mode of professional work.

Here are a couple of things that may be good use of your time this summer, and will hopefully make your life a little easier when classes start again in the fall:

[if !supportLists]1) [endif]Find ways to incorporate multiple perspectives into your lessons.

[if !supportLists]2) [endif]Plan a background-building lesson at the beginning of each unit to promote deeper conceptual learning.

[if !supportLists]3) [endif]Research the various cultural backgrounds that your students represent to build a better understanding of how your students respond in your classroom.

[if !supportLists]4) [endif]Find ways to incorporate the arts into more lessons and units.

[if !supportLists]5) [endif]Find ways and moments to incorporate the languages other than English that your students speak into lessons, units, and the physical space of your classroom.

[if !supportLists]6) [endif]Take an introductory course in one of the home languages of your students. This will show your students that you value the assets that they bring to the classroom, and give you insight into their language and culture.

[if !supportLists]7) [endif]Create a pictorial preview for each unit, to be sent home and discussed in the home language throughout the school year.

[if !supportLists]8) [endif]Read up on how to make assessments that are more valid and reliable for your English learner students

[if !supportLists]9) [endif]Take a trip to visit the native or heritage country of your students to better understand their cultural identity.

[if !supportLists]10) [endif]Catch up on your favorite television shows, while contemplating how language permeates the world around you, and finding teachable moments in popular culture.

Here’s to a summer full of reflection, learning, tweaking, and planning!

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