As summer break begins, you might be starting to think about your teaching strategy for the upcoming school year. While outlining lessons and gathering resources might not be the most fun breaktime activities, it pays to plan ahead. 

Before you return to the classroom, check out these four practical tips for prepping yourself and your English language arts curriculum for the fall.

Know Your School or District’s Instructional Plan

With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout underway, the majority of schools across the country are planning on reopening for full-time, in-person instruction in the fall. Some will also offer remote learning options for families who wish to keep students home. 

At the time of writing, the CDC recommends that in order to safely bring students back into the classroom, schools should: 

  • Require consistent and correct use of well-fitting face masks by all students, teachers, and staff
  • Make changes to physical spaces to maintain a healthy environment, including improving ventilation and regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces
  • Use structural interventions to promote physical distance between people, with at least 3 feet between students in classrooms
  • Ensure that students, teachers, and staff use proper handwashing and respiratory etiquette
  • Encourage students, teachers, and staff to stay home if they feel sick

By now, your school or district has most likely developed a COVID-19 instructional plan for the start of the school year. Now’s the time to familiarize yourself with your institution’s individual safety guidelines and prepare for any questions your colleagues or students may have. When in doubt, you can always review the latest operational strategy recommendations by the CDC. 

Review Your Language Arts Curriculum

No matter the circumstances, it's always a good idea to review and revise your current curriculum after classes end for summer break.

Last year, educators everywhere had to adapt their English language arts units for distance and hybrid learning. With students returning to the physical classroom, lessons will likely have to change again to accommodate the learning environment. As you sketch out next year’s lesson plans, take a moment to evaluate what worked and what didn’t these past few semesters. If you taught remotely, what online lessons did your students enjoy? Could they be adapted for in-person instruction? 

Perhaps you have specific teaching goals in mind for incoming classes. Many educators plan on tackling learning loss at the start of the year. Much like the "summer slide" that occurs when school isn’t in session, pandemic-related learning loss has led to regressions in students’ skills and knowledge. Reversing learning loss in the ELA classroom requires building a comprehensive teaching plan that covers the core subjects: reading, writing, and vocabulary. In this post, we’ve outlined several ways you can reinforce any language arts skills lost or weakened during the pandemic. 

Learn more: Addressing Learning Loss in the English Language Arts Classroom

Order Resources Sooner Rather Than Later

Procrastinators everywhere, heed this warning: Don’t wait until the last minute to gather any resources you’ll need for the new year!

Due to supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, some publishers are having trouble printing enough books to meet the current demand. This is true for many of the paperbacks used in literature classes, especially new and popular titles. Books that are in-stock today might not be tomorrow.

That being said, if you plan on ordering large quantities of non-Prestwick House paperbacks from us, we strongly suggest placing your orders as early as possible. Our fulfillment team is working hard behind the scenes to make sure you receive your paperbacks on time.

Most Prestwick House language arts materials, including our Literary Touchstone Classics titles, Literature Teaching Guides, and range of grammar, vocabulary, and reading workbooks, are in stock and ready to ship when you need them!

Take a Break

Finally, the most important thing you can do in preparation for a fresh start is to simply rest. We can't emphasize enough just how taxing this year has been for everyone, especially for teachers like you. That’s why it’s so important to prioritize your personal needs before diving into next year’s to-do list.

Throughout summer break, let yourself indulge in moments of self-care. Since practicing self-care means different things for everyone, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. Reading your favorite books, making artwork, playing video games, and dabbling in other hobbies are all perfect ways to de-stress. Maybe you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors or traveling to a new place with family and friends. Perhaps you prefer more introspective activities like journaling and guided meditation.

No matter what you do, remember to take all the time you need to relax, recharge, and reflect so you can start the new school year with confidence.

How else are you preparing for the 2021-2022 school year? Let us know in the comments below!