7 Teacher Prep Summer Activities to Make Back to School Easier

As the sun shines brighter and the days get longer, it’s time to gear up for some serious summer fun. By fun, I mean getting ready to rock the next school year! With the end of the school year quickly approaching, I always get a newfound level of energy to tackle my to-do list. You know, the list we write for all of our projects that we wish we had the time and mental capacity to accomplish during the school year! Today, I’m sharing with you some of the activities I do for teacher prep over the summer break to help me have me save time and stress less at the start of the school year! Grab a refreshing drink, and let’s dive in!

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Why Teacher Prep Over Summer Break is Essential

I use the summer months to reflect on what went well in my class and what I would love to do differently for the upcoming school year. I also make sure to do some strategic prep over the summer as well. Now, you might be thinking, “But why spend my precious summer break prepping for the upcoming year?” Well, hold onto your beach hats because I’ve got some persuasive reasons why teacher prep over summer break is absolutely essential! 

Renewed Energy and Enthusiasm

Let’s face it, teaching is one of the most rewarding, yet demanding, professions out there. By taking the time to prep over summer break, you’re giving yourself the gift of renewed energy and enthusiasm. Stepping away from the daily grind allows you to recharge your batteries. You’ll be able to approach the new school year with a fresh perspective and a spring in your step. 

Seamless Transitions

Ever find yourself scrambling to get everything in order right before the start of the school year? Raises hand. We’ve all been there. By prepping over summer break, you can avoid those last-minute scrambles. Using our free time wisely in the summer sets us up for a smooth transition into the new school year. From setting up your classroom to designing your bulletin boards to finalizing lesson plans, knocking out small things ahead of time means less stress and more time to focus on what truly matters, which is our kiddos!

Professional Growth

Whether we are new teachers or have been around the block a few times, we are lifelong learners. Summer break provides us with a ton of time to invest in growth through professional development. There are so many different ways to participate in professional development during our free time. We can attend nearby workshops, attend virtual conferences, or collaborate with other teachers. We can sharpen our teaching skills and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices for us to have a fresh start in the upcoming year. 

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Teacher prep over summer break is all about setting ourselves up for success. By investing the time and effort before school starts, you’re laying the foundation for successful and fulfilling weeks of school. Whether it’s creating a positive classroom environment or developing great ideas for your subject area to try out, summer prep is key. 

This photo shows a well organized classroom. Organizing a classroom is an important part of teacher prep over summer.

Recommended Teacher Prep Activities for the Summer

Wondering where you should focus your energy in your summer prep activities? Not to worry – I’ve gotcha covered here! This is my personal list of the top 7 things you should consider doing over the summer. Take a peek and see if these ideas resonate with you and your classroom needs!

1. Reflect on Resources and Materials

First things first, we need to look through our stash of resources and materials. You want to take a moment to go through what you used and what ended up gathering dust on the shelves. Take note of what you need as well as what you could donate to your local library, sell at garage sales, or post on social media. Then, see what you need to replenish or replace. Make a list of those items so that you can stock-up on the things you truly need.

At my school, as we are packing our classrooms up, we have tables out in the hallway. We can place any items we do not want or need in our classrooms for other teachers to use. I’ve found a few gems this way and gotten rid of many other things that I knew still had life left in them.

And. . . don’t forget those digital materials. Taking time to review your resources and materials includes your digital shelves, too! Your digital filing cabinet will likely need a little clean-up or organizing. While it may seem like an unusual task to do during the summer, when things start to get hectic you will be so glad you can find what you need quickly.

Looking for resources or classroom tools that will make your teaching life easier? Read Top 15 Teacher Must-Haves From Amazon or 30 Classroom Must-Haves for an Awesome Year! to help you discover some game-changers for your classroom. 

2. Exploring New Ideas

Now that we’ve taken stock of our resources, it’s time to look to the future. Is there anything new you’d like to try implementing in your classroom? Maybe you’re curious about incorporating STEM activities. Maybe you felt like an area you could improve on is communication with families, so you’re going to look for new things to help strengthen that aspect. Use your free time to do some research and gather inspiration for fresh ideas to update your teacher toolkit. 

In this photo, elementary aged students are using STEM materials.

3. Maximizing Your Space

Next up, let’s talk space. Take a really close look at your classroom layout and organization. Did you make the most of your space? Were there areas that felt cluttered or not used as much as it should have been? There has never been a year where I have kept my room exactly the same as the previous school year. It always seems as though there is at least one thing that could be improved, so look hard and long at your layout to find solutions to your pain points!

Draw a few different room diagrams to see how the different ways can increase student engagement and encourage smooth transitions. You might have to rearrange furniture, create learning zones, or add visual cues for organizations. I also highly recommend considering how student supplies are stored for easy access and organization. This is one area of the classroom that often needs a little extra love!

4. Fine-Turning Routines and Procedures

Ah, routines and procedures. They are the backbone of our teaching life. This is probably one of the activities I spend the most time on before next year. I take the time to really reflect on which ones worked. Then, I brainstorm routines and procedures that could become more efficient. Think about whether or not your morning routine ran like clockwork. If not, think about the hiccups that happened along the way. As you reflect, you might even decide to shake things up and try out a new system. It could be a new morning work activity, or it could be using a numbering system to make lining up faster. Summer is the perfect time to tweak these routines and procedures. 

To help you reflect and revamp for next year, make sure to grab the FREE Classroom Routines and Procedures Checklist. It will walk you through ten different routines for the morning, lunch and recess, miscellaneous, packing up, subjects, and silent reading. 

To learn more about how procedures and routines can change the dynamic of your classroom, read 34 Important Procedures and Routines for a Successful Elementary Classroom

5. Preparing for the First Week of School

The first week of school can be a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation. There is little time once the first kiddo arrives on the first day of school. You want to make sure you’re prepared by having your first week of work printed and ready to go. From icebreaker activities to setting expectations, having a plan in place will help you hit the ground running. Plus, it will set the tone for a successful school year ahead. 

I use my Back to School Basics Bundle to help my students have a successful year! In this resource, you have access to all the things teachers need to have a strong start to the year. There are templates for Meet the Teacher, Parent / Teacher conference forms, and a classroom calendar or newsletter. The more your families know about you, the more they can start building that trust with you. To break the ice those first few days, help your students feel more comfortable with their new grade level with a game of BINGO and an All About Me activity. Lastly, your teacher prep over the summer needs to include these encouraging classroom rewards and reward posters to increase that excitement level amongst your new students! 

This image shows a great resource to use during teacher prep over summer. This back to school math activity can be used on the first day of school.

6. Meal Prep 

Let’s talk about a practical tip for real life, shall we? The first month of school can be absolutely hectic. Meal prepping freezer meals or finding new recipes to meal prep, later on, is a great way to give you back time once school starts. Trust me, your future self will thank you when you’re knee-deep in lesson planning and parent-teacher conferences. As teachers, we make hundreds of decisions throughout the school day. By the time we get home, the last thing we want to think about is having to make dinner or prep something for lunch the next day. Whip up some easy freezer-friendly meals now, and you’ll have one less decision to worry about during those crazy busy days! 

7. Rest and Recharge

Last but certainly not least, please don’t forget to prioritize rest and relaxation. Summer break is your chance to recharge your batteries. Indulge in some much-needed self-care guilt-free. Turn the alarms off, go to the bathroom whenever you need to, and get outside to enjoy the sunlight. If you take anything away from this blog post, it’s that you deserve this much-needed rest. You deserve to catch up on sleep, binge-watching your favorite Netflix series and spend that extra time with your family. Soak it up and be present in each of those moments! When you take care of yourself, that’s when you’re able to be the best teacher for your kiddos. 

Teacher Summer Prep Made Easy

Teacher prep over the summer is not just a task to check off your to-do list. It’s about creating and improving systems that set the stage for an incredible year ahead for you and your students. By taking this time to think over your teaching practices, explore new ideas, and fine-tune your classroom environment, you’re investing in your own growth and your students’ growth. So, as you soak up the sun and embrace the joy of learning this summer, remember the next year of school is full of possibilities. With a little summer prep, you’ll be ready to energize your classroom and tackle whatever challenges come your way with confidence! 

Save These Teacher Summer Prep Ideas for Later

Remember to save this post to your favorite teacher Pinterest board for your teach prep over summer break! 

Summer break is a great time for teachers to spend some time preparing for the upcoming school year! In this post, I share my top 7 teacher summer prep activities and some resource ideas so you can start getting ready for back to school season now!


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