Monday, June 4, 2007

Year-end Reflections and Summer Planning

As I read through the articles for this week’s Inbox Ideas section, I noticed that we ask a lot of questions as the academic term comes to a close:

  • What are we (students and teachers) going to read this summer?
  • What were the best teaching ideas this year?
  • What were the most powerful words students have written this year?
  • What can we do to refresh ourselves during summer vacation?
Typical questions like "How long does this have to be?" fade out, and we turn our attention to questions that focus on best and favorite classroom experiences and on plans for the future.

As a teacher, I always set off into the summer vacation with a huge list of things to do—books to read, articles to write, research to do, classes to plan, assignments to write. I never got it all done. Now that I work full-year, my summer months offer less of a chance for grand projects, but I still have a summer to-do list: revise that book manuscript, write articles in response to a couple of recent calls, work on some lesson plans for ReadWriteThink.

So I’ll be busy the next few months (and people think teachers get the summer off!). How about you? Please take a few minutes to share your stories of wonderful moments in the classroom and your plans for the summer in the comments. We’d all love to hear from you.


Anonymous said...

I will throw out everything I did this year and start over, like I always do. At the very least, I will evaluate what I did, but I try to make each year different in some way in order to avoid extreme boredom. I will also read at least three books that my students recommended from their own self-selected reading, so that I always have something to have a conversation about. I will read other books of my own choice, in order to remind myself what adult writing looks like.

Teri Lesesne said...

When I was a middle school teacher I spent summers reading YA and adult novels and developing a tan. Since I moved to the university, I spend summers teaching. In the past 2 days I taught two classes that met 400 miles away from each other. I head back out for another 800 mile trip this weekend to teach another course. In between I do some workshops.

Once all this is done (July 2), I plan to spend some time writing in earnest. Breaks from writing come in the form of YA books and audiobooks and an occasional lunch with a friend. I also get to spend some more time with my family!

I find I do not miss adult books since the field of YA literature has some talented folks writing for teens. So, I will read at least one YA a week and add them to my blog and web site. I will listen to LOTS of audio for my ALA committee work, too.

I love that NCTE is blogging and hope to see the sections begin to make their blogs work to keep us all in touch with one another.

NYC Teacher said...

Just posted my summertime goals at, but I don't think it even scratches the surface of what I really want to accomplish professionally.

Jen Barney said...

Wow...goals- How long and how many pages do you have? This year has been an incredible year for me as I am diving deep into Writer's/Reader's Workshop. I am new to this and only hope that I can gain more information and really understand how to best guide my treasures next year. ANY SUGGESTIONS????

Jenny said...

I am learning as much as possible through different professional development activities.

I always feel so energized when I attend workshops because I can bring new ideas and strategies back to my students.

I will be attending on of the Folger's Teaching Shakespeare Institutes and can't wait to meet other English/Drama teachers and learn more about Shakespeare.

I am a new teacher (3 years) so I will also spend some time keeping activities that worked and throwing out extra things that didn't.

And, of course, I plan to read as much as possible, YA, adult, professional...everything!

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to attending a summer writing institute at TC and to try to get my thought processes positive again. I have now taught for 8 years (as a second career) and am in the midst of a group of teachers who simply don't want to learn or consider change. How do you deal with this? After an investment of this amount of time - do you simply walk out and try somewhere else? Maybe the summer will place me in a position of being more able to do what I think is right. Any ideas or suggestions?

lisa said...


Have you checked the resources at ReadWriteThink ( There you can find many resources on Writer's Workshop and Reader's Workshop. I'm not sure of your level, but here is an example lesson plan: Good luck!

Clarice said...

Taking time to read for pleasure and learning--Amagansett by Mark Mills. So I am in a book fog--a favorite place to be. Emailing with friends about our reading and dreaming of standing on Montauk Point "as on some mighty eagle's beak." Time next week for reflection about the past year.

Mrs. Tyler said...

I am a new teacher, but I am coming into the profession rather late in my life. I plan to read for pleasure and professionally, (and yes, that will include a lot of YA literature).

I am also taking several professional development courses over the TV and the internet and attending a charter school conference.

I plan to keep about half of what I used last year, so I have things to fall back on and lots of room for new ideas.

Some things I didn't do last year that I know I want to try this year are literature circles and writer's workshops. I actually tried writer's workshops, but this year I really want to use them extensively.

Anonymous said...

Next year I will be teaching AP Language and Composition and English 9 -- both courses I've taught before. I will be reading mostly non-fiction from my AP course's summer reading list. Oh. . .I will also be selling my condo, looking for a new home with my fiance, and seeking ways to keep open the lines of communication between me and my 14-year-old son, who is growing up way too fast! I hope, also, to develop a plan to better balance work and family. I would LOVE to read a book on that topic. This job can be SO all-consuming, and it's easy to lose sight of what's most important in life. Any suggestions???

Anonymous said...

I posted a call for what we have in mind for our summer reading with our faculty and only got a few responses back. Think many are hesitant to admit that pleasure reading even occurs. I have spent my first day off with a trip to the bookstore to build my own summer stack. I have Test Talk - Investigating Test Prep. into Rd.Workshop and Diller's Making the Most of Small Groups. I also picked up A Thousand Splendid Suns. I try NOT to think about school for a week, and then reflect. I did ditch quite a few things this year (after teaching in this district for 17 years...) I have MAJOR investment in professional books and have started to consider how to best distribute these in the next 8 years or so. Especially since some are 'classics' of reading and writing workshop life - that is currently 'out of favor' in my district.

Mrs. Stansbury said...
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