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Many of us have an extensive list detailing what we need and want to accomplish during the summer break. The list likely contains many important and unavoidable tasks, but hopefully, the list also includes several activities that will contribute to refreshing our spirits and renewing our enthusiasm for when fall arrives.

What may not be on our list are actions and activities we plan to avoid. However, what we choose not to do can be as important as those activities in which we plan to engage. As you finalize your plans for the coming weeks, here are six actions and activities to take off your list.

First, resist excessively rehashing the past year. Conflicts, missteps, disappointments, and regrets offer little value unless we can—and intend to—do something about them. If there are lessons to be learned, we need to discern what they are, learn them, and let go. Obsessing saps our energy and can undermine our confidence.

Second, avoid spending too much time in your classroom on materials organization, room orientation, and classroom decoration. Physical separation from our classroom can assist the processes of refreshing and renewing our energy and enthusiasm. While briefly stopping by the classroom to collect or drop off items might make sense, organizing, arranging, and decorating can generally wait until closer to the beginning of the new school year.

Third, forgo creating a detailed content coverage plan and assessment calendar for the semester or year. A general schema to estimate and monitor progress and determine appropriate times to assess that progress can be helpful. However, rigid planning risks focusing exclusively on content coverage and delivery rather than true learning and may result in administering assessments before students have finished with and are ready to demonstrate their learning.

Fourth, don’t spend time developing meticulous lesson plans. The makeup of classes and the needs of individual students need to be considered for lessons to be successful. We might script the first couple of days to get off to a good start, but as soon as we begin to interact with students, the experiences we design need to respond to their readiness, needs, and interests.

Fifth, skip making exhaustive lists of classroom rules. Having a general picture of behaviors and guidelines can help, certainly, but students generally respond better and feel greater ownership when they can play a role in discussing and developing classroom behavior expectations.

Sixth, try not to spend time stressing about the coming school year. We need to trust ourselves to know what to do when the time comes. We cannot predict the future, and worries about it are almost always unwarranted or overblown. It’s easier said than done, sure, but time spent worrying risks distracting us from the refocusing and refreshment time that summer should be.

Summer should be a time for rejuvenating our spirit, recharging our energy, and renewing our enthusiasm. When we remove unproductive and premature activities and actions from our summer to-do list, we make these goals more attainable.

Thought for the Week

AI can teach and share knowledge, sure, but it lacks the key elements of human modeling, nurturing, and connecting that are essential components of a comprehensive learning process.

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