The Daring English Teacher Looks Ahead

The most terrifying moment for any teacher is mindlessly walking through a store on summer break, seeing all of the back to school displays, and suddenly realizing that you haven’t thought about a single thing for the next year, let alone planned anything. 

Cue teacher panic mode. And that, my dear friends, is why I am already looking ahead. 

As the school year comes to a close and we begin daydreaming about the bright promise of hot summer days spent at the pool with a book in one hand and a cool, refreshing beverage in the other, there is one thing we can do right now to avoid the end of summer panic: look ahead at the next school year.

I’m not talking about planning elaborate, detailed day-by-day lesson plans. I’m just talking about planning a rough sketch of next year’s curriculum: determine the length of your units and what you will read and write for each of those units. That’s it! If you do this, you will be able to enjoy your entire summer break without hearing that nagging teacher voice telling you to start your lesson planning. Plus, you will also feel eager and ready to not only start the school year, but to conquer it.

Summer Planning Tip: 
One thing I try to do every summer is look ahead and plan ahead for the next school year. This helps me prepare for the upcoming school year, and it also helps me keep my sanity and actually be able to enjoy that last week of summer vacation. You know the week: the one that feels like a perpetual Sunday night. To look ahead, I create a rough sketch of my upcoming school year on a single piece of paper and put in the front of my teaching binder. It is much easier to plan daily lessons once you have a snapshot of what your entire year will look like.

Once the organizer is filled out, it looks like this. When I fill it out, I try to map out which common core standards I will focus on for each unit, the length of the unit, and the major reading and writing for each unit. After that, planning is a breeze!

Get my FREE planner HERE!

Next year, I am teaching freshmen English, and I like to have one major reading assignment and one major writing assignment for each term. Since my school adopted the common core standards, I also want to make sure that I teach and assess each major type of writing (argument, informational, and narrative) at least two times during the year.

Beginning of the Year Resource: 
I always start my English classes with a six-week short story unit. In the beginning of the year, I use my Introduction to Short Stories unit. I created this unit for my freshmen, but it can easily be implemented in grades 7-10. 

If I am teaching ninth grade English, I usually start with "The Most Dangerous Game," "The Necklace," "The Gift of the Magi," and "The Interlopers." If I am teaching tenth grade English, I usually read, "The Lottery," "There Will Come Soft Rains," "The Rockinghorse Winner," and "The Yellow Wallpaper."

Teaching short stories in the beginning of the 
year is a good way to teach plot elements and theme -which always comes in handy later in the year as we get to the epic, the novel, and the drama. Teaching short stories in the beginning of the year is also a great way to get students interested in reading after a long summer. 

This resource is helpful for two reasons:

First, it contains a fully editable 18-slide PowerPoint presentation about plot and common short story elements. I like to include editable PowerPoint presentations in my units because they provide teachers with a bit more flexibility. This presentation is a great introduction to short stories, and it can be used with any short story you choose. 

Secondly, I rely on this unit because it includes supplementary teaching materials that can be used for any short story. With the materials in this resource, you can teach theme, character development, and more. It also includes all of the materials for a literary analysis essay about theme (brainstorming and prewriting activities, outlining, drafting, peer editing, and a rubric).