Brilliant Ways Teachers Make the Most of their Summer Break

Ah, summer time!  It is probably every teacher's favorite time of the year, including mine!  As much as we love teaching, who doesn't love a break with sunshine and flip flops?  As teachers though, we have learned we have to make the best of every moment.  How can we make the most of our summer break as teachers?  Check out these amazing ideas so you can start the school year refreshed and prepared.

Exercise and enjoy the outdoors

 Nothing could be better for students than a teacher who feels refreshed.   Get some vitamin D therapy, go for a hike on the trail, visit a local park.   Teaching is exhausting.  Take care of yourself so you can take care of your students when school starts again in the fall.   Getting active now and establishing a routine will help you stay in a routine when school starts.

Start gathering teacher and student supplies

 We go through a lot of school supplies throughout the year. Hopefully your school supplies most of those, but for those of us who need those extra items, summer is a great time to pick up some items on clearance or on sale. Look for sales on those basic items like glue sticks, composition notebooks, pencils, and paper clips.   One of my favorite places to shop for these items is Staples. Around July they start offering some amazing deals like 10 cent composition notebooks up to a quantity of 10.  However if you are a teacher they will also often let you buy more of that quantity. Just ask!   Last year I was able to score an amazing deal on glue sticks in the clearance section at Target. I try to stock up on those every year, but I usually run out. Check out this video for a great way to make glue sponges that will save you money in the long run.  I make mine over the summer.


Prepare the fun classroom items

 During the summer we need to relax and enjoy some things, but it is nice to be prepared when school starts and not feel as stressed out. (Let's face it; the first few weeks are hairy, but preparing a few items ahead of time can make all the difference!)  Prepare some fun items like birthday gifts and bulletin board items so you  can get your creative teacher juices flowing and start working to a fresh new start.   Check out this blog post by my friend Anna at Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey, where she shares how she prepares a birthday tub for her student gifts.

Relax and enjoy your time off

 Although it's great to prepare for the next school year, don't forget to enjoy your summer break. That's why it's called a break. Lay in the sun in that lounge chair with a cold drink. Go out to eat at lunch with friends. Take your kids to the pool and splash around with them. Sleep in!  It's sometimes hard for us teachers to relax. But enjoy a little bit of downtime so you'll be rested and ready to go for back to school.

Connect with other teachers on Facebook

No one understand you like other teachers! I love my friends, but for those friends who are not teachers, they just don't get us like another teacher. Find Facebook groups that match your grade level. I am a part of the All About 3rd Grade Facebook group, and I have learned so much this past year from other amazing third-grade teachers across the United States and around the world!   It's amazing to get to ask other third-grade teachers questions and get so many great ideas.   Follow your favorite teacher authors on Facebook too. They often share free resources and great new ideas to help you get excited about your upcoming year   I love sharing new fresh ideas on the Amber from TGIF Third Grade is Fun Facebook page. I'd love for you to join me there.


 Yes, professional development books are great. But, if you aren't ready to think about school right now, find some great, fun reads and get lost in an adventure or mystery! Ask your family or friends for suggestions. Tell them what some of your favorite books are and ask for some good suggestions with a similar genre .

 Start preparing items you use year-round

 Do you send home behavior or homework charts? Start copying those now and have a good supply ready for those first few months. Do you have benchmark assessments that you know you'll be using? Copy those now, paperclip them, and put a Post-it note on top to show how many copies do you have and what month the assessment should be given.  Put them in order from the first benchmark assessment to the last and all you have to do is grab and go throughout the year. Do you participate in the Pizza Hut book it program? Go ahead and copy off the sheets that you will send home for their monthly goals.  As I have learned to do these types of things over the years, it's made my school year so much easier.

 Spruce up your home

 I don't know about you all, but my home get so neglected during the school year.  I really don't enjoy housework, but I do enjoy starting the school year with a clean and organized home. Clean one room per week. If you spend one week on each room really decluttering and deep cleaning, you'll be able to bite off little chunks  at a time. Do any of the rooms need repainted? Now's the time to do it. You'll be so thankful when school starts.

 Prepare some items for the first week of school

 Do you have an already prepared first day of school letter that you will send home to parents? If not, go ahead and type one now! Go ahead and make the copies and that way you don't have to do it when you start school.

Do you need some activities to keep the kids busy while you do the necessary sorting through the paperwork that the office wants right away?    Try these back to school activities with your students. They are a lifesaver and they look great displayed in the hallway. They also help you get to know your students better.

Try out this 3rd Grade Back to School Freebie!

Prepare a few meals for those first few weeks

Cooking - ugh!  I hope you all enjoy it, but it is not my thing.  I do enjoy it more over the summer though.  As I do prepare some meals, I try to think ahead and prepare some extras that I can freeze.  I am a huge crock pot user, so one of the things I do is buy a larger pork loin.  When I prepare it, I get out two crock liners.  (If you don't know what those are, run to the store and find them in the aisle with the sandwich bags!!!  They will save you from having to scrub that crock pot!)  Anyway, I cut my pork loin in half and lay each half in each bag.  I season them and then one goes in the crock pot with some veggies and the other one gets tied up with a baggie tie and frozen in the freezer for the first few weeks of school.  When I am ready to use it, I seriously just untie it, put the bag in the crock pot, and add some veggies to it.  It makes my first few weeks so much better.

Another of my favorite BTS items is lasagna.  I make three lasagnas at a time near the end of summer in an aluminum pan.  I bake one at the time and freeze the other two unbaked lasagnas with aluminum foil on top.  When I am ready, I try to put it in the refrigerator on a Sunday.  Then it is mostly unthawed by Wednesday when I am already worn out.  I can come home, stick it in the oven and veg out for an hour while it bakes.


 If you taught last year, now is the perfect time to reflect on your teaching practices from last year. Find a small journal and write down notes. What did you like? What do you want to change? Start jotting those ideas down now. You may not be able to implement every idea, but it will give you an idea of which ones are the most important to you next year.

Enjoy your summer teachers!  We get two months to focus solely on ourselves and our families.  Make the best of it.

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