August Ideas

A few years ago, a student offered to help setup my classroom prior to the start of school. I commented about how much her kindness meant and asked her how her summer went. She said she was bored and ready to get back to school. Not a comment we may hear a lot.

She explained that due to a lack of transportation or internet, she was at home watching TV for much of the summer while her parents were at work. School was a welcome relief from another rerun.

It’s starting to happen again. The closer we get to school, the more emails I get from students (preparing for and/or lamenting about) the start of a new year. Some offer help and others ask questions. As students reach out, have some ideas in mind to begin to engage them in school.

Publicize supply lists: While this happens at lower grade levels, teachers of secondary students sometimes assume students will know what to buy. Direct students to a list of items that will help them shop successfully.

Offer to read with students: Ask what they are reading and set up a mini book club. Students can recruit other members, and you can listen to the audiobook while at the pool or setting up for the year.

Open your classroom: Invite students to preview material for the year in a boot camp for skills. Or ask student to help setup your classroom, create locker decorations to welcome new students, or anything else you may need.

As the days heat up and the summer winds down, August is a great time to reach out to students who are weary of summer . . . even if they won't admit it . . . and ready to re-focus on school.

Allison Venuto, co-hostess of the podcast Ideal ISD, has been teaching in the Dallas area for 11 years and owns Ducks in a Row Personal Organizing. Connect with her at

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