image credit: thecenterforthearts.org

image credit: thecenterforthearts.org

The official start of summer and the end of the school year are nigh.  If you have completed the 2012-3013 school year, congratulations!  If you have not yet completed your year, hang on – you’re almost there!  I have a few weeks remaining myself but I have already started to ponder how I can best use my summer break.

When I had my own classroom, I quite frankly spent much of the summer recovering from the previous year of too much work and too little play and spent the rest of the summer preparing for the upcoming school year.  There were some years I felt ambitious and created rather expansive to-do lists for myself.  I forgot to set small achievable goals like I would for my students and instead created overly-ambitious lists that I then found ways to avoid for the remainder of the summer!  Only one summer when I was unemployed and didn’t know what September would bring did I intentionally invest in myself by nurturing myself.  I think it’s time to try that again.

This year I made a manageable to-do list that includes having fun.  It’s more of an “arts immersion” to-do list that I believe could serve as an Educator Recovery Program for those of you who may be like I was and could really use some help in the recovery process!  For those of you who are looking for ways to inspire yourself in your Arts Integration teaching I think a little Arts Immersion Program is in order.  If either of those descriptions seems to suit you, you may want to join me in checking off this summer to-do list.

By my calculations there are 10 weeks between now and when I start my next school year.  Therefore I have created a list of 10 things to do so we only have to do one per week!  The first one is tricky because I suggest it be done every week for the 10 weeks which means, for those of you keeping track, two items need to be completed per week for 9 out of the 10 weeks.  Of course, this list is just a guideline meant to inspire and should be adjusted to maximize recovery and fun and minimize stress.  It is intended to counteract stress, not create it!  So here is the outline for my Educator Recovery Program (ERP) or Arts Immersion Program (AIP, if you are not in need of recovery!).

  1. Take your inner artist on a weekly date.
  2. Do something that scares you.
  3. Experience art: dance.
  4. Experience art: music.
  5. Experience art: theater.
  6. Experience art: visual.
  7. Make art: dance.
  8. Make art: music.
  9. Make art: theater.
  10. Make art: visual.

The list enumerates the tasks but they are not listed in the order in which they need to be tackled.  Again, it is intended to be a tool and not a task master.  To make the most of the EPR/AIP I recommend keeping a journal to chronicle the journey and keep track of ideas or insights that may arise during the process.  Each week I will describe one of the items in more detail and report on what item I tackled that week.  I wish luck to anyone who feels inspired to join me.  Have a very artful week!