Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of parents celebrating as school supplies are being purchased and first-day outfits are being picked out. That’s right… for many districts around the country, the first day of school is fast approaching! Now, whether your summer was spent poolside, beachfront, or in your minivan chauffeuring the travel team from tournament to tournament, summer always brings with it a feeling of magic. The warmer weather. The freedom from lesson-planning. The vacation from essays screaming to be graded.
And with the end of this summer magic in sight, the first day back to the classroom tends to bring with it a mixture of excitement and sadness. But what if this year, we carry that summer magic back to school with us? What if we were able to hold onto that magic for a little bit longer?
10 Ways to Create Summer Magic in the Classroom
- Wear your sunglasses. That’s right. Sunglasses. Start off a lesson wearing shades and don’t say a word. Then jump into how you have a bright idea. It doesn’t matter what the idea is, the fact that you were wearing sunglasses will hook the kids and get them excited for what’s next. Heck, go all out and play a little 80’s rock to show them just how bright the future will be!
- Visit somewhere new. Whether it is an impromptu journey to read outside under a tree or a virtual field trip somewhere they haven’t been before, it doesn’t matter. New experiences equal new memories. Let’s make them in our classrooms.
- Go “All-Inclusive”. Give your students problems and challenges that require them to tap into everything they have learned the previous year. What you’ll gain at this all-inclusive: a clear idea of where your students are, a map so you can meet them there, and snapshot of the personalities in the room!
- Crank some tunes. A little island music can help make anything seem a bit more fun. Fractions? No thank you. Island fractions? Why, yes please!
- Forget about homework. Yeah, that’s right. I said it. One of the best things about summer is the fact the families don’t have to worry about spending countless hours on homework; they just get to spend time together. The start of a new school year can be stressful for our littles, so ease into the year with a homework hiatus, and watch your students’ attitudes about school change for the better.
- Do something active. Whether it’s getting up and going on a nature walk as part of a lesson or simply employing GoNoodle to get kids out of their seat, make an effort to get them up and moving. Part of the magic of summer is the fact that we are always on the move!
- Open the windows. Let the sun shine in. Let the warm breezes and summer smells fill the classroom. Winter weather will be here soon enough.
- Read a book. Put time aside to just read. And let your students read what they want. Even in core subject classes, you can build in opportunities for student choice regarding reading. Historical fiction and nonfiction can help give students a better understanding of what they are learning in class. Plus, when students can empathize with a character and her situation, you have a better chance of making a topic more meaningful and relevant.
- Make time to share. All summer long, my social media feeds were filled with pics of my friends’ summer adventures. What does that tell me? People like to share! It makes them feel good. It makes them feel empowered. Allow time for your students to share what makes them happy. You’ll be surprised at what you learn.
- Visit the bathroom freely. Oh, wait. You’re a teacher. Never mind.