Updated: Jun 9
Guest post by Leana Malinowsky
Preparing for a new school year is one of the most exciting times for teachers, but it can also be an anxious and uncertain time, especially if it's your first year (or second or even third!). Summer is an excellent time to start thinking about and preparing for the upcoming year. As educators, we are always thinking about our classrooms and future students, even when we are catching up on resting, meeting friends, and visiting the beach.
Lesson planning is essential. Using time during the summer is beneficial to get a head start. Before selecting a template or that "just right activity," there are a few strategies to consider first before starting lesson plans:
Review your grade level/ subject curriculum- This will initially feel overwhelming because most curriculums are voluminous. However, please read it all at once! Please start with the first unit or two (depending on how you organize it) and keep a notebook nearby to write down ideas you have for lessons as you read. Be prepared to reread certain parts, and note the standards you cover in that unit. It's also helpful to skim through the rest to get an overall picture of the year and skills you will teach; you can reread it in detail later!
Confer with other teachers- Reach out to other teachers on your team (grade level, department, etc.). They can help you get ideas for how the curriculum flows, shared lessons such as grade-level projects, and other points you might otherwise not discover through reading. Keep in mind that curriculums are updated often (usually during the summer). Don't hesitate to ask your team members what updates they are aware of and complete the updates. They serve as an excellent point person. You can get an inside view of what changes to expect, saving you from making plans based on an old version of the curriculum.
Start Small- Early in the year, focus on building relationships with your students. Using SEL books or having team-building lessons to solve a problem is fun and engaging, but they also cover more academic skills that we often recall. Do not put pressure on yourself to start lesson one on day one! The small moments we experience genuinely prepare us for the rest of the year. Be sure to write these plans first, so you are prepared and be ready for more ideas to flow! Working on these plans gives you practice for others and serves as a launchpad for creativity to include students'' needs and interests, which are essential to effective lesson planning.
Checked these off your list? Then you are ready to write your plans and get ready for back to school!