Tips to Get Prepared for Back to School Before Summer Holidays

Quick tips to help teachers end the school year on a productive note to get ready for the next school year. Using this tips will help teachers stay focused and not use up their whole summer vacation planning by the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

Hello Teachers,

I am writing this blog post with a little over 3 weeks left of the 2015 school year. I will be sad to see this group of students move on to high school, but I really need my summer to rest up. I have joined up with some great English Language Arts bloggers to help you plan now for next year’s start up.

Tip #1: Use the Photocopier Before You Leave


I try to never leave at the end of the school year without having my first day photocopies completed or at least easily accessible in a folder. Basic items like Student Information and Interest Forms, Reading and Writing Surveys and Back to School Bingo. These are items I use every year and I know will be useful for the first day as I am trying to get to know my students.

Tip #2: Reduce Prep by Using Long Term Assignments


I love year-long assignments that students can get familiar with the routine and format, so they develop more independence as learners. Two of my favourite teaching resources that I use every year in my classroom is my Genre Based Independent Reading Assignments and Article of the Week Differentiated Lesson Bundle.

If you are looking for a structured independent reading program read this detailed blog post about how I use 12 Genre Book Reports. Each month students must read a certain genre. By the end of the school year, students have been exposed to more than just their “go to” genre.

Article of the Week is one of my favorite literacy strategies/assignments. I discovered this concept last year from the English teacher-guru Kelly Gallagher.
The basic concept is for teachers to assign students a non-fiction article each week to read and provide time for students to develop a well-written response. Each article needs at least two critical thinking response questions. This provides students with a choice on which question they want to write a response for. In my ten years of teaching, this was the best strategy that I consistently saw growth from my students in their reading, writing, and oral discussion skills. This strategy helps students develop their own opinions after reading the text and examining the issues presented. I outlined my Article of the Week program in this blog post.

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  • Reply
    Brain Waves Instruction
    June 5, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Loving the long term assignment to get students reading a variety of genres! Off to check it out now!

  • Reply
    June 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can't agree MORE. Anything you can do now to reduce those "August Blues" right before you go back… I am all in favor of! And…. I have to say … those genre-focused book reports are fantastic!

  • Reply
    Jackie Cutcliffe
    June 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Good advice re the copies! I love the long term assignment idea too–it also allows for lots of good scaffolding.

  • Reply
    The Daring English Teacher
    June 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I like to make many of my copies over summer too! However, that is pretty new. I wish I did that earlier in my career. It would have saved so much stress! I use our district's print shop for big orders. It really helps -unless if your schedule gets changed over summer.

  • Reply
    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle
    June 6, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Drat! I wish I had read about the copies before today – we're out for summer – and that idea is gold! 🙂

    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

  • Reply
    Brynn Allison
    June 6, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    My co-workers used to think I was crazy when I made copies for next year at the end of the year. Glad to see I am not the only one thinking ahead.

    Brynn Allison
    The Literary Maven

  • Reply
    Secondary Sara
    June 6, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Great idea to have a back to school activity planned before summer even starts! 🙂

  • Reply
    Addie Williams
    June 7, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Love the photocopy idea… I hate the panicked rush at the start of the year to get organized! 3 weeks left for me so I've got some time.

  • Reply
    Darlene Anne
    June 7, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    I have your genre reports, and they're great! I recommend them to all middle grade ELA teachers.
    Thank you!

  • Reply
    Sherri Tyler
    June 8, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I, too, make all my copies for the first week of school before leaving for summer break — when I return, I always feel ahead of the game and ready to roll! I think that's one of the best gifts teachers can give themselves so that they can relax a bit over those few short weeks in the summer!

    Literary Sherri

  • Reply
    Kristy M
    June 9, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Great question. I keep them in a file folder in my classroom over the summer. If you can't make the copies then pull out all the master sheets you will need and leave them somewhere accessible over the summer so you don't have to search during Back to School season.

  • Reply
    June 8, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Great idea! I wish I could make copies for the first week of school, but where do you keep them? I just don't think I have enough space!

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