I love summer.  I always have and hope I always will.  I was born in June and we have tons of birthdays in my family during the summer.  In my mind, it is just a time full of relaxing and celebrating.

However, I loved teaching, too, and sometimes balancing my love of both was difficult! Crazy, right?

Does your mind race with new and fresh teaching ideas now that you are off?  Do you want to get into your classroom and TOTALLY reorganized…something? Yeah, well.  That was me!

So, how can you embrace your freedom and summer and time to renew with your desire to improve?

First things first.  This technically IS your “vacation.” Your time to renew yourself.  Embrace it.
My definition of relaxing before kids and after kids during the summer time is a *bit* different.  A potty break all by myself now?  Heaven! But take time to do the things you love.  I love reading. I read all year long, but I reallllly read in the summer! 
Here are a few of my favorites- in no particular order.   I am terrible at deciding favorites!
I tend to like YA books with a paranormal twist.  I read other stuff, too I promise!
Whatever you do, take the time to do what you love. There is no better time than today.
After you got all that relaxing in, take some time to reflect. What do you want to do differently next year?  There are a MILLION and one ways to improve and change your teaching each year.  I NEVER did things exactly the same each year.  I don’t think it was even possible to do it the same with my DNA make up!  I thrive on change and improvement. What are some things you could try next year?
Whole Brain Teaching
Interactive Notebooks
Reading Workshop
Literature Circles
Social Studies Simulations
New Science Experiments
Reorganize the Classroom Library
Mentor Texts
Genius Hour
The list goes on and on.  Where do you want to get better?
I am a list maker.  It helps me to dump everything in my brain on paper.  It helps me sleep at night, honestly!
Theresa from True Life I’m a Teacher shared these awesome to do lists when we started out collaborative blog.
They are perfect for a summer “brain dump.” Click on the picture to download them from her blog FREE!!  Yahoo!
Sit down and write all of the things your would like to tackle for the next year. Scribble down all the stuff you want to accomplish this summer.  I remember years when my lists was pages long.  For real.  Some of it was little things like check out a book from the library and others were huge.  Like reorganize the classroom library.  Eek!
Look at your list and pick out your top three.  Yeah.  Just trying to keep it real.  I never accomplished more than three big projects over the summer- and that was before kids!
I always felt that the things you could do that impacted your day to day life in the classroom were the ones to choose.
Like creating a teacher binder, reorganizing the classroom library,  or creating long range plans.
Amanda Madden at Teaching Maddeness did an amazing series on writing unit lesson plans that included long range planning.  I love her approach.  It is a must read in my book!
After figuring out your top three things you want to work on, create a plan on want you will need to do to achieve them.  Create labels or materials?  Read professional books and blogs? Physically go into the classroom and work?
If you keep a realistic list of your goals, then completing them is so much sweeter (says the girl who always had an unfinished list that was two miles long!).

What do you do during the summer? All work?  All play? Or a bit of both?