My Top Five Tips on How to Celebrate Summer in Style

By Addie Albano on August 2, 2011
  • Grades: 6–8

Like most teachers, I am relishing every moment of summer, but before we know it the days of grading papers and creating dynamic lesson plans will be upon us. Therefore, let's live each day of the next few weeks to the fullest so we can return to our classrooms refreshed and ready to go.

Like most teachers, I am relishing every moment of summer, but before we know it the days of grading papers and creating dynamic lesson plans will be upon us. Therefore, let's live each day of the next few weeks to the fullest so we can return to our classrooms refreshed and ready to go. Here are my top five ways to celebrate summer. You can use these tips to make the most of your time off and rejuvenate yourself and your teaching as well!

1) Home, Sweet Home!

DSC00006Maybe your area is known for its incredible beaches or its breathtaking scenery. Or perhaps there are special features that make your home truly unique. Whether you are in a rural or urban setting, each of us has something in our surroundings that we can take back to our classrooms for discussion. For example, maybe you have an amazing farmer's market that can inspire a lesson on organic farming or hydroponics. In Buffalo I find our Thursday at the Square really gets my creative wheels turning. One of the best ways to celebrate summer is by rejoicing in your surroundings.


 2) Take in a Movie Under the Stars

Outdoor movieWhat better way to watch the latest flick while learning about technology at the same time? Creating a backyard movie theater is an inexpensive and easy way to enjoy family time and brush up on tech skills. For beginners, this is a perfect opportunity to learn about multimedia projectors and their importance in the classroom. Many teachers are curious about using technology, but are unsure where to begin. An evening at home is the perfect occasion to master these skills, especially if you have children, who can be the best teachers themselves.


3) Make a To-Do List

To-do-listThroughout the school year, and especially on my toughest days, my mind drifts to thoughts of how I will spend my summer. I find that jotting down a few goals for myself really helps me take advantage of my time off. Whether it's spending extra time with family and friends or visiting that must-experience destination, committing to treating yourself for all of your hard work is essential. Start the year off confident that you enjoyed this precious gift we are given each summer.

The to-do list is a great motivating tool for students as well. I've found that most students, especially struggling learners, can have too much time on their hands. This can lead to negative outcomes unless they have things to keep them busy throughout the summer months. We often forget that this blessing can be a curse to some students. By encouraging students to make a to-do list, we provide them with a chance to start setting goals for themselves and hopefully return to our classrooms with a positive attitude and a sense of accomplishment.


4) Use Your NoodleColour_books_stack

About halfway through the summer I begin to feel restless and find myself looking for ways to use my brain. Practice some great classroom techniques and use your noggin in the process by trying out some new games. My favorite is a low-cost, fun game called Paperback. Grab your closest friends and a bunch of paperback books and place them in a pile. Pass out a few scrap pieces of paper to each person. Then designate one person as "the picker." The picker chooses a book and reads the description on the back to the others, who write down what they think could be the first line in the story. The picker submits the real answer with the other submissions, and they're all read aloud and voted upon. One point is given to the person with the most votes and two points to the person with the correct answer. Continue until everyone has a turn. The winner chooses a book to take home with them. This is a great game to play with your students and can be used as a preview for the fall books.


5) "Summer in Sixty" 

Here's a great way to put all of those vacation pictures to good use. For this activity, you upload your favorite snapshots into Microsoft Movie Maker or Photo Story, but the catch is you are limited to 60 seconds of film time! This is an amazing back-to-school project for students who can't wait to show you how they celebrated summer. See one that I made to give you a quick idea. For more on the power of digital storytelling, join me this fall when I write about how to implement this effective tool into your classrooms.

For more resources on how to make the most of your summer, visit The George Lucas Educational Foundation's Edutopia Web site. I would also LOVE to hear how you celebrate the summer months!


Hi Tonia, thank you very much for the compliment! It was a wonderful way to spend time with my son, and we realized how grateful we are for all the wonderful things in our life. We've truly had a wonderful summer. I hope you are enjoying yours as well!Please let me know your thoughts on future blogs. I would love to have feedback!

Great Blog Addie. I love your creativity on here, the 60 second of summer was wonderful. I am jealous. Enjoy the rest of your summer, it is going fast.

Hi Mary! Thank you for the compliment. I hope that I'm a worthy successor to your blog this year! :)

I like the low budget suggestions. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you Charles! I'm anxious to hear how your movie night turns out. I'm also hoping to hear a parents perspective on the blog, so please join in our discussions this year!

Those are some great summer ideas! Not only for a teacher but as a parent also. I especially like the outdoor theater idea. I plan on trying this permitting of course

I agree Fred, and it is easy to use them when we are overwhelmed by all the things we need to do in our daily lives. When I started to make a to do list of just fun activities my whole outlook changed. Thank you for your comment and I look forward to hearing your perspective in future posts!

Those are some great ideas! To-do lists are a great tool and I don't think enough people take advantage sometimes. Can't wait to read more!

Hi Mia, that's great to hear! I'm sure your backyard movie was a big hit, and wouldn't be surprised if you get requests to make it a regular routine. I agree that showing your students that you are a real person is the first step in making personal connections with them. I've found that this often leads to risk taking in the classroom on their part. Becoming more organized is a common challenge. I hope that you will join me in discussing this topic in a future post over the next few weeks. Thanks again for sharing!

I actually had some neighborhood kids over for a backyard movie. Also used it as a time to think of classroom management ideas! All of those activities take organization which is What I personally need to work on. I really like the 60 sec movie idea for students to make the first week of class. Your personal video would give them a good idea of who their teacher is too! Thanks.

Thank you Jennifer for the thoughtful comments! I hope to see your contributions on future posts.

Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful ideas Addie! Finding new and engaging ways to keep your students learning during the summer is one of the things that makes you stand out as an educator. Keeping this blog will benefit so many people!!

Thank you Brianne! I appreciate the support and hope that your colleagues find my blog to be a useful resource. I am featured every Tuesday, so please join me for future posts!

These are such great ideas Addie! I can't wait to share them with my colleagues. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

I'm so glad you enjoyed it Kimberly! It was actually very emotional to make. We should definitely do a movie night! It's wonderful that you were able to take something away from this blog and add it to your own life. I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer! You might want to check out my next post...its about creating plcs for fall.

Addie--LOVE the 60 second video idea! If that's your backyard in the outdoor movie idea, we all definitely need an invite. :-) We set movies up outdoors for the kids when we're camping, just one night though so that we have them for conversation and s'mores the other nights. Your best idea for me to take away? A to-do list of FUN summer activities to accomplish instead of just my endless work to-do lists. Thanks for the reminder to mind that part of my life too.

Pam, we are going to be using the local farmers market for an upcoming challenge based learning unit I will be blogging about shortly. It's a great opportunity to get students connected to their communities as well. I will pass along the's a small world isn't it?

Great summer ideas! Glad to see you are getting away. I really like the idea of looking into the farmer's market. That could be a great project for your crew. I want to know more about how farmers in our area are making a difference in the food we eat!

I didn't know you know Kathleen Mageria! Tell her Pam Higby says, "Hi!" It has been a LONG time!

Thank you Kathleen! I had so much fun creating it, and it was a great opportunity to spend time with my son. He loved contributing to the picture selection. I think this is a wonderful project for teachers to implement within their classrooms and the possibilities are limitless in regards to content.

This is just wonderful Addie. Loved the 60 second summer!

Thank you so much Tiffany! I can't wait to see how it turns out! Let me know if I can help in any way.

Hi Addie! Thanks for sharing these summer ideas. We will be making a movie on the back deck when I get home from doubt!

Thank you for the encouragement Mary, and yes, Fisher and I are having an amazing summer together!

Way to go Addie. And your son is having a great time :)

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