As I sit here in my classroom, which is now completely cleaned up and everything is stowed away, I think back to everything I accomplished this year. I also start looking forward to what I can do next year. One thing I learned during my National Board Certification, is to constantly reflect on what I did well this year and what can I change and do better. I am very happy with the progress I made with my students this year. I sent a group of children to 3rd grade who I feel are ready to attack any task at hand. What I hope most is that I instilled in my students a love of learning that will continue. Even though they may struggle at times, they will continue to face each challenge and use the skills needed to succeed. So now begins my thoughts towards next year. I will make my lists of the activities that worked well, which I know I want to do again, and the activities which need tweaking or should not be done. I will spend a lot of time online, searching for great activities to match the curriculum, and find ways to infuse the Common Core into all activities I complete. I just received in my school year this morning two new books to read over the summer. Even though they did not come with a note (rather odd if you ask me!) I am assuming they are to prepare me for my upcoming role as 2nd grade mentor teacher to all new teachers in Pinellas County. My district just asked if I would like to provide Professional Development, work as a mentor teacher, and provide support to all the newbies to 2nd grade. And considering our district, being the 24th largest in the US, has over 80 elementary schools, I think that this will be a full-time challenge. So as I read Pathways to the Common Core, Accelerating Achievement by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman; and Opening Minds, Using Language to Change Lives by Peter H. Johnston, I can only hope to be fully prepared to help these teachers achieve success in their classroom as well.
As you begin cleaning your classroom and getting it ready for next year, my biggest advice is to STAY ORGANIZED! Don't just throw things anywhere, thinking you are exhausted from this school year. Use a little extra time and make sure everything has a place and a purpose. Also, you don't need to keep everything. We, as teachers, tend to keep everything thinking we might need it in the future. My motto is: if you haven't used it in 2 school years, you don't need it! Keep organizing, and going through all your stuff, and enjoy your summer break!