My brain has officially switched over to school mode. I still have twenty-one days until I go back, twenty-three until the students do, but I’m thinking about school a lot. The classroom is close to being ready, which is a minor miracle. I decided to take some student advice and reorganize my library this summer. There are over three thousand books in my room, which made it a bit of a nightmare. All books are back on shelves, so the room is getting closer. When the physical room is set up, the planning can begin. There is so much to think about, so much to consider, but this is the stuff I love. Thinking about units, considering picture books, articles, skills I want to share. I love this part of preparing for the year. Each year is different, students shape what I need to teach and what standards need to be covered in depth. There are some things I know upfront I have to plan for, some wait until the year begins.
With curriculum constantly on my mind, I tend to find things I can use almost anywhere I turn. Quick writes have become one of my favorite parts of workshop. Whether it is a reading or writing class, I like to open with something to get my students writing. We can then share and move on to the mini-lesson from there. Linda Rief’s Quick Write book helped me start out, she has many poems you can use as you begin. From there I’ve pulled my own writing, student poems, and articles to use for our quick writes. One of my favorite things to write off of would be videos. If you want to try it with your students, here is a video I plan on using at the start of school. It is from Jack and Finn – twins from England that run a YouTube channel. I think the video is wonderful and could start a powerful discussion in our class—describe what you love.