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The Best Lesson Plan For Teachers: Start NOW

If you’re an honest teacher you will have to agree with this: serious teachers who love their profession – do not, and I mean, DO NOT, Nature Artists - The Waiting  Subject: an example of my 'magical realism'wait until summer is almost over to start planning ahead, right? They start now when school is ending. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. 

I was at a dinner party last night and a colleague’s husband stated, quite emphatically, "All you teachers make me sick! You have the whole summer off to veg out!" WHAT? [Cue Firestorm] You should have seen the looks from the other teachers. HAH! Nothing can be farther from the truth! Real teachers – THINK, SLEEP, and WAKE with one thing on their minds — How can I do a better job next year? It’s certainly not the only thing on their minds at this stage – but it’s one of them. That said, my  training session today got me raring to go for my Summer Tech for Teachers! 
And I’m not even sure I ever shared this, but part of my job is training teachers how to integrate digital resources into curriculum.  Sounds boring? It’s really not. Teachers rarely have the opportunity to work one-on-one, interrupted on lesson planning. 

So today I had a blast working with an English teacher at my school – she teaches grades 8 and 12 and her goal is to revitalize her curriculum with online activities. Hence, our hour was filled with belly laughing and high fives. Her upcoming September school year (and those to come) will never be the same again – I am happy to report. 

Here’s a sampling of her updated curriculum for the fall. Students, get ready to have some fun learning!

Grammar Girl – YouTube – Interview

Grammar Girl blog

Contact Grammar Girl – she thought it would be great to have the students contact Grammar Girl with their own questions.

Subordinate Clauses tend to be dry in a regularly lesson, so hopefully these activities will liven it up.

Writing prompts – always a plus

Poetry Exercise with Subordinating Clause

Imedia Source if your school does not subscribe to educational online videos, they should  

Allende – Latin American writers

YouTube – Allende speaking on YouTube

Carlos Fuentes

Magical Realism Lesson Plan

Magical Realism – YouTube video 

(Image comes courtesy of Nature Artists – The Waiting  Subject: an example of my ‘magical realism’)


  1. Nimble Press says:

    Hi Amy,

    I’m not a teacher, but the other thing that people don’t understand is that a teacher has to be ON the whole time they are with students. As a writer, I have a tremendous amount of flexibility in my day. I imagine that teachers need a few months away from the schedule grind to recharge.

  2. Amy Bowllan says:

    Hi Nimble Press,

    Thank you for your comment and you are, indeed, dead on! Recharging only seems to happen when there are no kids around. My gripe is that there appears to be an understanding that teaching is inherently an “easy gig” with too many days off.

  3. I love that the teacher is using YouTube – I have found many things on there that I would love to use, but it is blocked in our district! I wish I could figure out how to save some of those videos onto a CD or DVD so I could play them to my students.

  4. Amy Bowllan says:

    Why oh Why is YouTube blocked!? That’s ludicrous. Does your school subscribe to this site? There are a rich assortment of educational videos here too.

  5. Michael says:


    Check out This site allows you to download videos from sites like YouTube and Google, among others. So, you could download a video at home, burn it to a disc or copy it to a USB flash drive, and then play it for your students. Best of luck!

  6. Amy Bowllan says:

    Thank you for the link – I never heard of it. Have you used it in class?

  7. Hi Amy, I could not agree with you more! Anyone who wants to perfect their craft plans, practices and imagines new possiblities. An athlete doesn’t lie on the sofa between games; he practices. A magician doesn’t limit himself to one played-out trick, never trying anything new. When someone makes a comment about teachers like the person at the dinner party did, it speaks of what kind of teacher THEY would be!

  8. Amy Bowllan says:


    Funny – for years I’ve heard people say how teachers have it so easy. Most times it came from men whose work was 9-5 with 3-6 weeks vacation a year. Now I am hearing more and more women say how lucky I am to have summers off. It’s so, not about the days off. And in my mind, the days off do not out weigh the energy given to each and every student every day.
    Is it just me who has heard these innuendos????

  9. Hey all! Like all of the other teachers out there, I have heard the same stabs at our summers. Now, I teach children with severe autism, and I must say that I didn’t have “recharge” time, I couldn’t do my job. Needless to say I have come up with an inarguable response that I felt is worth sharing. I always respond with “we all make decisions in life, and you were aware of the teaching schedule when you went to college”

    I thought that is worth sharing since that always seems to end the conversation!

    Happy planning!

  10. Amy Bowllan says:

    Thanks, MissB, for the response. I always say, there will ALWAYS be haters :)