It’s finally SUMMER! After counting down for months, saving all of your lengthy to do’s for those glorious days off, and planning that amazing vacation away, you finally made it. You deserve all the rest and rejuvenation in the world after another crazy school year. Soak all that in! You made it!

5 min read


If you’re anything like me, you’re already thinking about next year, what your classroom will look like, who will be in your homeroom, and how in the world you are going to teach that brand new curriculum. There is this looming sense of overwhelm thinking about that first day of school… one that you’re committed to being your best yet. Yes, you have the summer, but those days slip away so quickly…

But don’t stress! This is why I put together your very own Teacher Summer Bucket List, so you can have your fun in the sun AND feel prepared for that first day of school come September. You can think of me as the friend that rubs the sunscreen onto your back without missing a spot. I gotchu!Here are some things you should check off your list this summer to feel ready for your first day.


The way that you set the tone for your students that first week MATTERS. The first week of school is the perfect time to be crystal clear about classroom behavior expectations for your students. Maybe you’ve found a new positive incentive system that you KNOW will get your students so excited to learn. Or maybe you are focused on establishing a strong sense of community in your classroom that relies on student ownership. However this looks for you, be sure that you are very clear on how exactly this system will work in your classroom both for you and your students.

If your selected strategy is more personal to your teaching, like positive language or relationship building, make it easy for you to commit to this strategy so it is well established in the classroom. For example, if your focus is on relationship building, perhaps set up a journal system where students can feel free to share their daily journal entries with you if they choose. Whichever strategy you use, plan it daily so you can prepare any materials and roll out necessary to start this transition smoothly.


This is probably the LAST thing you want to do right now, but trust me, when you have the back to school jitters, half of your classroom to finish decorating, and still have a summer sleep schedule, you will want that first day planned and ready to go. Give that first day all you’ve got so that you can start the year strong and win on your students on day one. Really decide how you want the flow of each class to go, and set strong and clear procedures on that first day so students know what to expect for the rest of the year. You will thank yourself later!


Summer is a really great time to think about what type of learning community you hope to have in your classroom. Maybe this is one where students take the lead on their learning and build strong independent skills. Or maybe you hope to establish a community of learners that consistently leans on one another for support and has a strong culture of peer tutoring. You can even focus on how to set the tone for a space that feels truly safe and brave, where students listen actively to one another and lookout for each other consistently. Be intentional and clear on which focus you want to have for the upcoming year. It can also be a good idea to start drafting a few ideas to incorporate throughout the year to intentionally develop that learning environment through activities, lessons, and classroom procedures.


We all know how important executive functioning is for our students, but it’s also imperative that you set yourself up for success too! If you’re anything like me, the decision of finding the perfect agenda is one of the most important choices you’ll make all year. For good reason! This is your organizational heartbeat, where your schedules live, where you keep your lesson plans, and where you keep track of all of your meetings. So take some time, do that extra research, and make sure this agenda will be your trusty sidekick for this next school year. In addition, make sure that your space is organized in a way that makes sense to you. All of those extra papers, old lesson plans, and holiday activities should live in a place where you can easily access them and feel logical to the set up of your space.

Your students also need lots of TLC when it comes to organization. Think about how you want them to use their desks, cubbies, lockers, and establish a clear set of expectations to review with them the first week of school. Maybe you schedule a weekly organization time where students ensure that all of their materials are where they should be, any extra papers are brought home, and no missing assignments have found their way to the bottom of their backpacks. Think about how the flow of your class will influence student materials and daily practices. Do students need to take notes daily? Will they take them in a special way? How will you teach them that note taking strategy?


Of course, the goal as a teacher is to support your students’ growth. Part of your preparation for the school year should include a well thought out system that makes collecting and saving data easy for you (dare I even say fun?) With the overwhelm of the school year, it can be easy to miss data and let this procedure fall to the wayside. Now is your time to ensure that this does not become the case. Whether you are keeping track in a binder, on google sheets, or in a gradebook, be sure that this method is one that feels sustainable and supportive to you as well as your students. And commit to it! This stuff really matters!

Now that you’ve thought about all of that, go take that dip in the pool, take a nice long nap or watch that movie with a loved one. The summer will come and go quickly so relish in the time that you do have. When you feel ready to think about next year, come back to work through your summer bucket list to feel centered and prepared as you get closer to that first day. You can do this!