I always like to start the next year and also do some more involved or creative work after the tests. I find that starting more advanced work is a good way to lay a foundation for next year, but also helps keep kids motivated at the end of the year when they might feel like there's no point to things any more!
I am really excited to be using How to Read Literature Like a Professor for the first time next year. It is part of the summer reading assignment, and I only assigned certain chapters to be considered in conjunction with their fiction selection. My plan is to then work the other chapters into my other selections so that we have read and applied each of the chapters in book to something we have read in class by the end of the first semester. I am in the process of deciding which chapters will work best with which literature and where I will need to make some changes in literature to accomplish that end goal. It is a great opportunity to re-examine my curriculum.
Because we never know what surprises there will be in our schedules for the following year, I'm concentrating my summer efforts on revamping my year-long vocabulary unit which can be taught with any class.
Lecturer and author Kate Kinsella recommends that instead of saying "look up the definition, and then use the word in an original sentence," we give the students the word in context in an interactive prompt.
I'm going to be working on creating activities with sentences such as this:
(essential) Three things essential to good writing are __, __, and __. Once I master these essential skills, I'm confident that I'll be able to __.
Students are more likely to be able to use unfamiliar words with success after exercises like this than they are to be able to grasp the full definition and idiomatic context on their own.