5 Action Steps to Prep for a School Year of Uncertainty

Take deep breath. You made it through the craziest few months of teaching. ever. It was tough but you did your best and now it’s over.
Or is it?
The general consensus seems to be that none of us have a clue as to what is school will look like this fall. I get it. I’m in the same boat. It’s hard to focus and know what to do. Sure, people say “just relax, it will work out.” But…have you met teachers? We are planners! We enjoy routine and structure. We like to use these summer months to get ahead and knock things off of our to do lists. It’s tough to know where to start, but, you can get some things done this summer! Here’s some actionable steps for taking control of your current situation and making the most of summer 2020.
By this time, I’m sure you’ve had the opportunity to reflect on how things went during distance teaching. We all have things we would have done differently, and hopefully had some successes as well! Make some notes about what you would do next time should this situation happen again. Use your experience to make some decisions about next year. Obviously, it’s not all in our control. But some things, we can start thinking about…like:
  • Establishing a system for communicating with families for the upcoming school year. (I use Seesaw!)
  • What programs and websites worked well for you and your students?
  • Which skills do you want to prioritize teaching so that students will be prepared for a possible school closure? (i.e. logging into websites, using Google Classroom/Seesaw ect)
  • What will you continue to incorporate into your classroom next school year?
  • If you haven’t already, debrief with your teammates and discuss how you will work together next year to be prepared.
I’m the queen of “I’ll remember all of this! I keep the best mental notes!” Yeah, right! I am a fool for ever thinking that and it’s crucial to write all of these things down. You could start a shareable Google Doc for your team to get their thoughts “on paper” or make notes in a planner or notebook. Whatever you do, take the time to get your thoughts out. It will help you later!
You might not be ready (or want) to purchase anything for this school year–and that’s okay! I have had summers where I didn’t buy much if anything. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t “save up” for when you might need something.  If you are a TpT buyer, this one is for you! I hope you already know this but if you don’t, you can earn FREE credits towards educational resources just by leaving feedback on your previous purchases! Summer is a great time to veg on the couch, watch some Netflix and leave some feedback! Just log into your account, click “my purchases” and choose “leave a review”. It’s that easy. You can check your credit balance by clicking “TpT Credit Balance”. You get 1 credit per every $1 spent. They add up quick! To redeem your credits, look for “Use Account Balance” located under the “Checkout” button in your cart. Enter the amount you’d like to apply toward your order, and click “Apply.”

Speaking of TpT, you might be having a difficult time deciding what, if anything, you should be prepping for the fall. Choose resources that can easily translate from classroom to home learning. Consider the logistics of students not being able to share learning materials, cutting down on paper copies, having tools that can be easily packed up and sent home for use.

Fast Fact Folders are a great tool to use for in class or distance learning. They take some initial prep but then, the system practically runs itself! Students can be independent in their practice AND they translate to home practice seamlessly. They are available in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division!
One of my big projects for the summer is prepping The Class Couple’s Phonics QR codes. I can’t wait to use these with my students (whenever that might be). But, the best part is, Becky is adding a digital version for Seesaw so I can use them remotely as well! Choosing versatile resources is key!
Learn a new digital skill. Regardless of what’s to come, learning a new digital skill will come in handy at some point. YouTube has so many amazing videos that walk you through pretty much anything you can imagine. Here’s some that I’ve found helpful:

My district has invested in Seesaw and there are SO many things you can do with it. I am presenting 3 PD days for my district on how to use it but I still have so much to learn. I have carved out a couple days to dedicate to learning all the things so I can share with the teachers in my district.


Do something for you!

Okay, so I realize this is kind of open-ended. But out of all 5 action steps, this one is the most important. Shut off the news, take a break from social media, try to block out all that is going on around us. Enjoy some “me” time.  Personally, I’ve been reading for pleasure. I even joined a book club (although, it’s been virtual recently, it’s still fun!).

Getting some exercise has been a great distraction from 2020’s insanity

I’ve also started using my FitBit every day and even joined a StepBet. It’s an app where you can bet some $ and win for meeting your personal step goals! It’s been so motivating and helped me get my tush off the couch which has resulted in more energy and feeling better overall! Read a book, take a nap, watch Netflix, work in your garden. Do whatever you can to take your mind off school and avoid worrying about next year. It’s tough–for sure–but necessary.

I know there is so much to be concerned about in the months ahead. It’s not to be taken lightly. Worry 24/7 will not change what happens so it’s important to try to distract ourselves at times and focus on things we can control. I hope you can find moments of relaxation this summer.
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