In five weeks, the 2010-2011 school term will begin in Monongalia County. When August 23 arrives, we all will marvel at how quickly summer evaporated; In truth, five weeks is a lot of time - time workers in other jobs would love to have. (Let's forget, for a second, that our summer break is unpaid leave.) I know I am going to need almost every second of these upcoming weeks to get ready for the new school year. Here are some things I have done so far:
Reading: At the risk of being stereotypical, I have spent a lot of time this summer catching up on reading I have meant to do a long time ago. On my completed reading list is another re-reading of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I also read Shutter Island, Eragon and the Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. I have two more books, Endymion Spring and Alcatraz and the Scrivener's Bones to read in the next five weeks.
I have been catching up on professional reading, mostly via RSS subscriptions through Google Reader. I have been perusing two of Carol Simpson's works on copyright for schools; these are valuable resources, but not much fun.
Planning: Most of my planning has been in regard to our reading theme, A Reading Rainforest. I have spent TV time this summer making construction the paper chains I will be using to simulate vines. Doretta Malone, one of our kindergarten paraprofessionals who for the past two summers has volunteered for the summer reading program, purchased green vinyl table coverings in 100-feet rolls. Combined with the chains, these table coverings will be used to make a canopy. My daughters' Beanie Babies will be used to provide wildlife. Each child will be given a rainforest animal marker to track his progress through the rainforest.
Cybersafety education is a goal I hope to pursue aggressively this year. I have downloaded and reviewed the iSafe curriculum for each grade level. I want to meet with each class once a month in the computer lab or library to meet these curriculum standards.
Of course, I also am very interested in continuing and expanding existing research projects, such as the fourth grade explorers, Native American and scientists units, and the fifth grade energy unit. I want to re-institute the third grade nonfiction writing project and add a few more projects along the way. I would like to schedule a time to introduce second grade to the OPAC and 4th grade to Destiny Quest.