The Literary Maven Looks Ahead to Next School Year

June 05, 2015


You've made it! Another one bites the dust! Your school year has ended, or if you are like me, you are in the last week or so and things are winding down. Despite this year coming to a close, you are a teacher and teachers are planners, and you are already looking ahead to next year. How to teach differently, how to do things more efficiently, how to work smarter not harder.

Unless your district has gone paperless, one thing we all struggle with is the paperwork, the daily handouts, the assignments for absent students, the extra copies. My tip for you...


...create a "while you were out binder." 

You will need a large binder, two or three inches, and plenty of page protectors. Make plenty of copies of this free "while you were out" sheet. Each day that you give out handouts, fill out the sheet and place extra copies of handouts behind it. 


You can check off the different activities completed in class and fill in notes about the assignments or any important announcements. This would be a great job to assign a student with great attendance (work smarter not harder!) I place the most recent items at the front of the binder so students have less pages to flip through to find what they missed. 

Having this binder puts the responsibility on the absent student to get the information and materials he/she missed. When a student asks you, "What did I miss yesterday?" you can just point to the binder. No discussion needed, no class time wasted. This binder is also extremely useful for that point at the end of the marking period when that student who has slacked off all marking period suddenly wants to get caught up with all his/her work. Everything is in order and missing assignments can easily be given again.

If you are looking to start the year, each week, and each day right, check out this must-have product...



Because so many words in the English language include Latin or Greek roots, focusing on roots rather than just vocabulary terms at random will increase your students' vocabulary exponentially. Each week, before introducing one root and five connected vocabulary terms, have students make predictions about the meaning of the new terms based on context clues.


Weekly PowerPoints provide student friendly definitions as well as warm-ups/bell ringers, word practice, and exit tickets/closings for each day of the week. This resource also includes a homework choice board and choice-based assessment, both of which can be used weekly. Using this resource means part of your Mondays are planned (introducing vocabulary), part of your Fridays are planned (assessing vocabulary), and the beginning and end of your classes ALL week are planned (warmups and exit tickets). Can you say time saver? You can even download this sample for free.

In between reflecting on last year and planning for next year, your best year ever, be sure to also make time to rest up and relax. It is summer time after all!

For more Back to School ideas and resources:




You Might Also Like

9 comments

  1. The binder is a great idea! My district isn't paperless, so this is something I can easily implement in my classroom.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the ideas Brynn! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brynn, I couldn't agree with you MORE about the absent binder. It is good for you... good character building for the student. Teaches responsibility, and yes! Absolutely saves time. I want to also thank you for sharing the vocabulary root resource. I know how much you personally love reading and lit. Many students still don't read as often/much as they should. Roots is a GREAT way to go. Thanks so much, Gina

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the "while you were out' idea. The binder is a good way to avoid too many piles of paper. I will definitely be using this next year!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Instead of a binder, I use a folder box and have 31 folders in it. Students match up the date of the absence with the same number folder and inside is the work missed. However, I like your form very much and think I shall add that to my system! :) I also love the root-based vocabulary instruction! It is so important!

    -Lisa
    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are attempting to go paperless soon, so I will think about how to translate this idea! Maybe a Google form...Thanks for sharing! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wahoo! It's in the newsletter! Thanks so much for organizing all of this for all of us!

    ~Addie

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brynn, I'm going to be purchasing your root-based unit for next year. It looks like exactly what I need. Thank you for sharing it!
    Darlene
    ELABuffet

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks so much for sharing these clever ideas to start the year off successfully and stress-free!

    Sherri
    Literary Sherri

    ReplyDelete