Believe it or not, 4th of July has come and gone and we are now on the down slide of summer. As we enjoy the pool, bask in the sun, and take in the final weeks of vacation, I can’t help but think about the upcoming school year and the new things I want to try!

As teachers, we know that the first couple of weeks are crucial. We establish classroom policies and routines. We get much-needed paperwork out-of-the-way, and we create the educational atmosphere to foster excellent learning opportunities. As much as I love summer, I also know that I need to prepare for this crucial time and so if you, like me are starting to think about this time, here are a couple of things I would recommend.

1. Set some educational technology goals. I am always looking for ways to improve the use of digital devices in my classroom. If you are blessed like me to have access to even a school set of these devices then maybe it is time to hit the twitter feed and check out some of the many great ideas that are floating around. ISTE was this summer and many teachers are posting inspiring and useful articles and blog posts full of great new ideas and helpful tips. Be thinking about how you are going to keep students on task, how you have to share the devices with your colleagues and how you are going to implement that great new app you just can’t stop playing around with.

2. Enhance your learning environment. One great way to improve the classroom environment is to look at your space and how you can utilize it better. One thing I am going to try this year is a green screen space. Part of our classroom environments is the continued inclusion of and teaching of educational technology. My school takes an inclusion approach. So I am looking to create a space where I can discuss with students and incorporate a green screen. There is a lot of simple applications for the green screen that can really enhance digital projects and activities. Maybe you want to enhance a reading corner, or classroom library space. Maybe you want to include science stations or a creative writing space.

3. Think about collaboration time. One of the most valuable assets to any educator is collaboration with other educators! If you are  new teacher. ASK QUESTIONS!!! The worst thing you can do is to remain silent. No matter how good you think your classroom practices and instruction are, I assure you there is someone who is doing something that is better. If you are blessed to have collaboration time, then I recommend thinking about that time and how you can make it more useful. Make sure to set aside time to talk about new ideas or things you have been reading about or learning!

4. Join a professional network. Whether you are on twitter, involved in educational technology organizations like MACUL or ISTE or whether you join a content organization like the International Reading Association or AAPT (American Association for Physics Teachers) professional organizations/networks can be an invaluable source of support. I personally find twitter to be one of the very best resources. If you haven’t found a good twitter hashtag to follow then check out this link called twitter for teachers.

There are many other things to do in preparation for the upcoming school year, but as many of us know. Time is limited. I am going to use this time to start thinking about those new ways to enhance my classroom and my own educational practices. I recommend you do the same! Enjoy the rest of summer, it will be over soon!