Slice of Life Tuesday: July dreams

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers


July has come and gone, and August begins today.  Those were my first thoughts upon waking this morning: July is gone, here comes August…here comes the new school year! Even though I have three more weeks of Summer vacation stretching out before me – somehow, the moment I see August on the calendar, I think about Room 202 and the kids who will be walking in.

July is for dreaming…August is for planning to make those dreams come true; here are some July dreams:

*carving out more time for students to share what they have been reading with each other. My summer book club has been so much fun – lots of reading, and lots of talking about the different books we’ve read and how they have impacted us as readers. I want to give my students a chance to do this, too.

*opening up our reading journals to new ways to experiment with reading responses.  For my summer book club and the PD book groups I participated in, I deliberately experimented with sketch noting and a few other forms of responding to both fiction and nonfiction.  I want to make time to share these with my new students, and to brainstorm with them for ideas they will undoubtedly also have.  It’s time to have more response options in reading workshop!

*our soft start of the day was such a success, that I want to experiment by bookending our block of time (three periods) with a soft closing as well, just to give my sixth graders an opportunity to end their time in our classroom in a calm way as well.

*designing a short unit on “how to think like a historian” before we go on to examine the historical time frame mandated by our curriculum. My friend Julieanne shared this link with me:, and now I am more excited than ever about opening our year with this unit.

*creating a history blog, so that we are writing about the events we’re learning about, and carrying on with our class discussions after time to think/do some independent research.  This is a work in progress, but that’s what August is for.

*a graphic novel book club.  I think it’s time for this!

I have a few more dreams up my sleeve, but the above seems quite enough to get through for the moment.  After all, three weeks is not that long of a time to make all of those July dreams come true!


17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: July dreams

  1. Wow. We are so alike. I have SO MANY ideas that I’ve bookmarked, jotted down, and entered in my phone over the summer for possible use in the fall. Now that it’s August 1, I really need to prioritize and get organized. I go back for in-service Aug. 10. Enjoy your three long remaining weeks!

  2. What a great slice to capture your dreams. I have been doing a lot of thinking, but haven’t written down my “dreams” for my kiddos yet. It’s on my list of things to do. I go back Aug. 31st – still have time to write down my dreams! Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Having read your post today, and your admirable “to do” list, I have a suggestion. You’ve done the creative work, and you’ve already thought through some of your ideas. Now take the rest of August to relax, refresh, restore so that you arrive in your classroom ready to take on the huge responsibilities you have identified. These three weeks are a gift and you need them as much as you need to create, think, plan and so on. Life’s too short….

  4. I am enjoying my last day of summer today. We start tomorrow. I wish I felt as ready as you seem to be. Maybe once the kids come, I’ll have a renewed sense of purpose.

  5. Oh, I love your dreams and your planning. I’m especially interested in more response options for reading workshop and the soft closing. You’re lucky to have your students for three period blocks! And I’ll be watching your blog for more about a graphic novel book club. I do love to follow you and your Smithlings.

  6. I’m impressed by your plans and ideas. I’d like to investigate ways to respond to reading, too. I teach 4th grade, though, so part of what I do is direct my students away from retelling the whole book! I’m going to look at the Think Like a Historian link, too, though it is for older students. We do a hands-on introduction to Jamestown through a NASA lesson on survival that looks at artifacts from Jamestown. It requires students to think like a historian/archeologist and a settler.

  7. I’d love hear more about your “soft start” to the day. I keep reading things about getting started with teaching right at the bell and not wasting time. But I find my students (grades 2 and 3) need a gentler start to the day. Someone suggested that having them read to start their day (which is what I love) is really just me managing them and wasting some time while we wait for announcements, take notes from parents, etc. I’ve thought a lot about that since and have decided that I am going to stick with a “soft start” to our day, and ease into the transitions after recess, etc. It doesn’t feel like wasted time to me!

  8. Tara, I love the image that tops the post–so suggestive of ways of framing and seeing. I think all of your suggestions, musings concerning next school year have merit. I appreciate that you apply what you have found to be true as a reader. The soft openings and closings seem most important.

    You epitomize thoughtfulness.

  9. Fantastic ideas! I truly love the idea of the history blog as well as a soft close to your day. Here’s to all the dreaming that will become the reality for the lucky kiddos in room 202!

  10. Pingback: Why I love soft starts and what I hope for soft closings | A Teaching Life

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