At this point, most schools are just about completed. Teachers are busy finishing up report cards, taking down bulletin boards, sending home lost and found items and preparing to lock the door for summer vacation. The next time most teachers will be in a classroom is during inservice as they frantically get the classroom ready for the first day of school.

Between those two time periods, there’s a few months where teachers generally spend little to no time thinking about school (unless they have the pleasure of teaching summer classes). However, this really is the perfect time to start thinking about projects that you might like to start the year with.

I know nobody really wants to start thinking about next year yet, but while everything is still fresh in your mind, and the experiences of this past year are just winding down, it’s really an ideal opportunity to consider what you might like to do differently next year. Once the new year starts up, teachers tend to be so busy that the last thing they want to think about is any new initiatives. So this is really the time to start mulling those ideas over.

A prime example of this is Open House. Every year, I hear from a flock of teachers that they wish they’d have created a powerpoint or video to show at Open House that actually displays all the things they’ll be talking about. Instead of describing what happens in PE, they can show a little video of what goes on. It’s a great idea and the very few teachers that have done it have found it to be extremely rewarding to the parents. Most teachers don’t think about it until Open House is a week away, and at that point it seems like too great a task to undertake. Teachers that begin working on it in advance, before school begins or during the first few days find it a very easy process.

With this in mind, I encourage everyone to start thinking about how they want to use some of this new technology next year in their schools. If you want to have a class blog, this is the time to register it and to start setting it up. If you want to do a podcast, this is the time to start considering how you’re going to go about doing it and talking to people who might be involved. If you want to create a school-wide del.icio.us account for hotlinks, this is the time to talk to your IT person about putting it on the school image.

When you come back from summer break, you’ll more than likely have a new classroom to set up, lessons to prepare, and more meetings than you’ll know what to do with! So don’t wait until September, start thinking about what 21st century tools you’re going to be incorporating now. Create a stretch goal and start reaching now!

Can you tell that I’m just itching to return to the classroom? Now if I only had a contract on the table already….