Summer vacation is quickly coming to an end and instruction has already started for some. The first month of school can be the most challenging: establishing routines, developing positive rapport with students and families, pre-assessing, analyzing data, hosting open house, and the list goes on. Despite the endless list of back-to-school must dos, it is important savor all of the fascinating things you have done this summer and find a balance between your teacher self and your human self during the school year. Sometimes it is hard to turn off the teacher, but it can be done. I thought I’d use this blog post to reflect on my summer shenanigans as a student, teacher, and friend.

 1I spent the summer engaged in professional learning via a STEM and leadership fellowship and I am amazed by how much I have learned through hands on, collaborative, and innovative instruction. Collaboration is an essential component to learning and I’ve recognized that as I continue to discuss with my peers from my cohort and other teachers via Twitter. Twitter is an amazing social networking site that can be repurposed for instructional use. It allows students and teachers to dialogue with engineers, authors, ecologists, astronauts, classrooms, etc. to make meaning of the world around them. It is empowering by giving students a voice, it promotes digital literacy, engagement in social issues, and gives students accessibility to diverse perspectives. Check out some of the my summer learning via the hashtag below:

2During my first couple years teaching, my friends and I regularly attended pub trivia, but for whatever reason we stopped. This summer my team reunited every Tuesday and it has been so fun that we will totally continue playing once the school year starts. Not only have we won first place, but we also earned tons of gift certificates to our favorite establishments because of our love of random facts and spirits. If you are interested in the fun visit the link, trivia, for events in your state.

3I taught summer school for a couple weeks and am pleased to showcase some amazing final projects for our ecology unit. It is extremely important to create authentic, integrated, and differentiated performance tasks for students to showcase their learning. I collaborated with my art teach pal to create amazing 3-D models of biomes depicting how energy flows within the biome. The products were beyond what I expected and I’m extremely proud of all of the hard work.

Rainforest Diorama 1

Rainforest Diorama 1

Rainforest 2

Rainforest Diorama 2

Coral Reef

Coral Reef Diorama


Prairie Diorama


Always remember to have fun! I’m ecstatic that I got to spend a week in Mexico for my bestie’s wedding, was able to watch my favorite artists perform at summer music festivals, and was able to read for enjoyment. Continue to make time for fun during the school year however you interpret the word!

Relaxing after swimming with the WHALE SHARK

Relaxing after swimming with the WHALE SHARK

Fitz and the Tantrums, Foster the People, and Outkast all in one day was awesome!!

Fitz and the Tantrums, Foster the People, and Outkast all in one day was awesome!!

Summer fun!

Summer fun!

Awesome reads for the school year!

Awesome reads for the school year!

5Have you been reflective this summer? Part of my summer learning required daily reflections which had truly analyzing my instructional practices in relation to student achievement. During the upcoming school year, I highly recommend taking time to reflect on your practices to grow. Ask yourself:

  • How will I reach all learners?
  • How successful was my lesson?
  • How will I modify my lesson for diverse learners?
  • Are the technologies I’m using supporting my learning goals?
  • How can I incorporate inquiry projects to engage students?
  • How will I progress monitor and assess student achievement?
  • Am I really differentiating instruction?
  • How can I cut back on the number of worksheets printed? (Even if you created it, the fact of the matter is that worksheet is still a worksheet.)
  • How can I repurpose technology for my classroom?
  • How can I connect the world around us into instruction?
  • Are the texts I’m integrating into instruction culturally relevant?
  • What community resources can I tap into to make learning engaging?

Let’s step up our last year’s instruction!

Wishing you a fantastic school year,



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