Summer vacations are underway across the state. As teachers, we all look forward to summer as a time to relax and rejuvenate after a long school year of hard work. We set plans to catch up on all of the chores we overlooked during the school year because we just did not have the time. As a teacher, each summer I planned to read the books piling up on my nightstand that I was just too tired to dive into during the school year. I made resolutions to get organized, spend more time with family, and complete projects that were left unfinished. Summer is our well-earned time to take care of ourselves.
This summer, in addition to taking a break to rejuvenate yourself, consider carving off time to rejuvenate your practice. Summer is the time when you can step back from your work and reflect on what worked well and what you want to improve, without the pressure of the day-to-day responsibilities of the classroom. Here are some suggestions and resources to help you think about your practice over the summer.
- Search for FIP on Pinterest. There are lots of boards created by educators that catalog ideas for formative assessment, keeping track of student learning, effective feedback and more! You can start with my Finding FIP board. When you find some ideas you would like to try, pin them onto your own FIP board so they’ll be handy in August.
- Plan ahead for the next school year by creating Performance Level Descriptors (PLDs) and master rubrics aligned to Ohio’s New Learning Standards. You will benefit from this upfront planning many times over! PLDs, rubrics and blueprints make instruction and assessment so much more efficient and valuable that they are well work the effort. To learn more about creating these tools, enroll in the Designing Sound Assessment module series.
- Have just a few free minutes? Check out some of the new videos on the FIP Video Library. You’ll see how other Ohio educators are using formative instructional practices to improve student achievement in their classrooms and schools.
- Learn more about the expectations in Ohio’s New Learning Standards. Choose a FIP in Action or Creating Clear Learning Targets module to learn more about the content and rigor of the standards and begin deconstructing your standards into clear learning targets. Focusing in on the target learning will help you to focus your instruction on what really matters and, of course, save valuable classroom time during the school year.
- Have you finished the Foundations of Formative Instructional Practices modules? What comes next in your learning? Check out the course selector tool to pick your next module.
- Challenge yourself to improve student ownership in your classroom by implementing three new practices this year. Some good examples are illustrated in the FIP in Action modules. See Kindergarten Opinion Writing, Science Grade 5, or Math Grade 8.
I know how hard teachers work throughout the year and how important it is to take time to rest and focus on yourself for a little while. It’s important to take the time to read a book just for fun! It’s also important to take some time to engage in professional learning while your head is clear and you aren’t rushed. It will help you to think ahead and make some adjustments in your practice for the new school year and will help you revitalize your enthusiasm for your work.