Two free printables to help you reflect and plan
By Rachel Padilla
As the year comes to a close, it’s time to pack things up for the summer and enjoy a much-needed break. However, before you walk away from the classroom, it is time to take stock of the last year and make plans for the fall. Just as our students forget much of what they learned over the summer, we too can forget important details and points from the year. Taking a little time now to reflect while the year is still fresh in our minds can save a lot of time and frustration later.
Use the printables below to help you jot down important notes and thoughts from the year before summer break.
Notes for Next Year
This printable helps you keep track of all those little improvements you want to make and maybe even find a few more. What went well this year that you want to be sure to continue? What would you improve for next year? Take some time to jot down thoughts about key areas of your work.
When reflecting on your classroom environment, consider whether it is inviting. Do the decorations and layout help students focus? Is the room organized and tidy? What systems are in place to help keep it that way? We know classroom environment is important to assist student learning. How can your classroom be at its best?
Behavior management is a crucial element in any classroom. Considering your expectations, how the are upheld, and your consequences. Fine-tuning these can make a huge difference. Were your behavior expectations clear and concise? Were they consistently applied? How did you encourage students to follow them and dissuade them from inappropriate behavior? Starting the year with a clear vision and precise expectations is a recipe for success.
Projects and larger assignments can have many moving parts. Some engage students and further their learning while others fall short. What strategies did you use this year for student assignments? What scaffolding was in place? How did you lead students without micromanaging their work? How did you give them choices without letting them flounder?
Like environment and expectations, classroom procedures can make or break a year. Were your procedures successful? Did they help your day run smoothly or create confusion and additional headaches? Were they appropriate for your students’ age and maturity? Were they explained well and consistently followed? Were your supplies accessible and clearly labeled or were students consistently unsure where the glue was or which pencils were actually yours?
Reflecting on these questions now while the memories are easier to access will save you time and effort when the year starts anew. Your August self will thank you.
Did you find yourself coming to the end of the week and realizing Tuesday’s homework was never posted or finding you had 12 things to check off your to do list before leaving Friday afternoon? Rather than simply planning day-to-day, assign recurring tasks to certain times and days of the week, so nothing slips through the cracks.
This printable walks you through how to plan that “ideal week” with the understanding that life may require adjustments along the way. The schedule includes what sort of assignment students will turn in each day. This is where to write in the Friday spelling test or weekly homework. The other sections of the printable allow you to include your recurring tasks before school, during prep, after school, and in the evening for each weekday. Write this down now and your schedule will be much easier to manage in the fall.
Using these printables can help you gather your thoughts and even get a head start on next year. Planning now, while the memories and ideas are still fresh, can help you worry less come August. Once you know you have written down your important ideas and even mapped out your week for next year, you can truly sit back and enjoy the summer.
Rachel Padilla is a campus minister in Colorado.
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