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Summer Special Education Planning – Create Now, Implement Later

The school year is winding down.  Teachers are cleaning their classrooms, taking down decorations, and handing back artwork and final assignments.  As the school year comes to a close, many teachers are a looking forward to a relaxing summer vacation most likely filled with family time and vacations.  However, I know many teachers actually use their summer time not to just re-charge their batteries for the next school year, but they also evaluate the year gone by and plan ahead for next year.  What worked?  What didn’t work?  What needs to be modified?  What new ideas can you plan for implementation in the next school year to reach your students better?  Below is a list of tech-related ideas for you to plan over the summer for a great 2010-2011 school year.

Vodcasts & Podcasts

Video tape or audio tape yourself reading the stories that you plan to read with the students in the next school year.  If you video tape you can include sign language for students who may have hearing difficulties.  This will also help students who are slow readers or have dyslexia.

Stay in Touch by Email

Administrators work all summer, and will be available by email.  If you think of ideas, lessons, or tech wish-list items for your classroom you can always email your administration and receive a response.  Many of your co-workers will also stay in touch via email.  If you have any grade level ideas or cross-curriculum plans you can always email ideas back and forth or even set up a time to meet over a relaxing lunch.

Professional Development

Many educational tech companies and non-profit organizations will hold webinars over the summer including great tech ideas, lessons, software, and hardware.   These seminars over the web are usually an hour in length and allow you connect with colleagues from all over the world.  Some organizations that have had webinars I have enjoyed include T.H.E. Journal and Tech & Learning.

Updating your Classroom Décor

Many of your classroom posters many need a bit of sprucing up over the summer.  Keeping up-to-date print-rich decorations in your classroom is one sign of a highly effective teacher.   Using a simple graphic or word processing program you can help update your “rules” posters, reading boards, interesting facts, motivational sayings, and word walls.  Many local office stores will print them large scale and laminate them at a reduced price for teachers.

The Web as an Idea Generator

Use the Internet as a tool to search for any ideas you would like to update for your curriculum.  You can watch videos online of how other teachers around the country are incorporating technology in their classrooms.  You can also read about the newest innovations about educational technology online through websites and online journals.  Lastly, you can plan day excursions in your local area to gain insight and ideas for next school year.

-Article by Laura Ketcham

What other planning strategies do you use during the summer? Please share!

Picture By Rennett Stowe

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