Summer 2015 PD Plans

After expressing my fears of June, July, and August, I have decided that I can waste away the summer months fretting over the commencement of school or I can do something about it. Deciding to grab my pen and write out my fears, I realized my fears were simply of the unknown.

I’m slowly accepting that I cannot change the things I do not know. But what I can do is make a plan. Inspired by Elisabeth’s Summer PD blog series, I made a checklist of my own summer professional development I want to accomplish.

With checklist in hand, I already feel more at ease than I was last week. So without further adieu, here is my summer pd plans:

1. Poetry Jar


CC image by Amanda Tipton

The closure of each class will be a poem of the day. I love that students leave my class with pieces of poetry in their heads that I hope will continue to inspire them throughout their day.

The poetry jar I want to incorporate is for student poetry suggestions. It’s not my classroom, it’s a shared community and students need to take ownership in our activities and routines. The jar will be at a central location and students can write down poems they want featured as a poem of the day and put them in the jar. Also, if students want to share their own poems, they can also let me know via the poetry jar.

I need to search through Pinterest to figure out how to make a jar more attractive or poetic. Either will work.

2. Poetry Collection

To supplement the poem of the day, I want a more systematic way to choose which poem is read. It was difficult to keep up with the poem of the day while student teaching because I found myself flipping through all of my poetry anthologies trying to find a good poem on the fly. I have several poetry anthologies, and I really need to dig through them to see what poems I would like to share with my classes.

What I want is a simple excel spreadsheet that outlines good poems for the poem of the day. It would include the title of the poem, page number, and book so I can find them easily and cross them off as I go. I also want the collection to incorporate Youtube videos where authors read their own work, so I need web addresses for those.

3. First Week


CC Image Dafne Cholet

Who knows how much time I’ll actually have to plan my first few classes when I finally show up to work in August. I do not want to toss together “something to do” for those first crucial classes. In fact, I’ve already had several nightmares of unprepared first days of school.

An assignment in one of my pre-service classes was to design the first two weeks of class. However, I did not necessarily design it for seventh grade or for 60 minute class periods. I need to revisit my original plans and make some changes. When I accomplish this, I’ll feel much better about starting my job. And hopefully my first day of school nightmares turn into wonderful dreams.

4. Year –Long Curriculum Skeleton

Even though I don’t know how my school plans curriculum, I want to make a skeleton of the curriculum I really want to teach. I need to review the professional development books I’ve read (Write Beside Them, The Art of Teaching Writing, Writing with Power, Writing Without Teachers, In the Middle, and Reading in the Wild) to see what I REALLY want to teach.

Right now I’m thinking I’ll model my classroom after Penny Kittle’s Write Beside Them, writing through the genres and independent reading at the beginning of class, but I’m not 100% sure.

5. Parent Communication


CC Image Delwin Steven Campbell

I want parents to know what’s happening in English class. However, I don’t know the best way to do so yet. I’m leaning towards a monthly newsletter, but I need to research this more. I want a plan intact before school starts so I can inform parents what to expect from me this school year.

6. Workshop Routines

This is another area that I’ve explored in some of my pre-services classes, but I need another look at it. How do I really want the reading and writing workshops to run? This may require another visit to the trusty professional development books.

7. Classroom Jams


CC Image Jesse Kruger

When students walk into my classroom, I want them to know they are welcome. What better way to do so than music! Instead of making an announcement and fighting voices, the music will be a signal to students. When the music plays, they are free to roam the classroom library and chat with each other. However, when the music ends, they need to settle down into their spots because class is about to begin.

I’ve considered adding select songs to my Youtube account and playing then from there, but I also could try to find a Pandora station that works. I also am considering Spotify. Of course I want edited versions and clean, positive songs to play so this could be trickier than I imagine. I’m also considering having a music jar, similar to the poetry jar, where students can suggest appropriate songs to be played.

8. Syllabus

And finally, my last goal for summer pd is to take a second look at the syllabus I’ve already created and make changes. Mainly, the area I’m still unsure about is grading. My school does standard-based grading so I don’t know how that will affect my syllabus, but I honestly don’t know if I even like the original grading policy I made.


Now that I’ve written it all out, it looks like I have some work to do! What about you? What are your summer pd plans? If you have thoughts and comments about my summer pd plans, please let me know.