Preparing for Curriculum Camp – 2019 edition

Last year’s Curriculum Camp was a huge success. Brief summary – my teacher BFF and I no longer work together but have always said [during the school year] we need time to just sit with like-minded people and like…. GO THROUGH all this stuff and actually PLAN IT (rather than be in survival mode during the year).

Well; we realized that WE ARE the like minded people and nobody was going to call or email us and offer to babysit us through our teaching journey. So Curriculum Camp was born. It’s literally just the two of us going through all our crap and attempting to organize our thoughts together. Early on in the summer while the school year is still in our minds – we meet, spread out all of our saved (smudged, crinkled) papers, open up all our tabs, and get to talking.

This year, I have two additional things to plan; 1) Adding level a level 3 class (every year I add a new one b/c I’m building a new program) and 2) my maternity leave Sept 16 – Oct 25. A caveat to my maternity leave plan – Thanks the the amazing national, Illinois and specifically rural Illinois teacher shortage… I don’t think I’ll be finding an actual Spanish teacher (let alone Spanish SPEAKER) for my maternity leave. It’s possible it will even be filled by multiple people. So… that’s been on my mind for the past year basically (yes, that’s before I even got pregnant when I was deciding if I even WANTED to, considering how obsessed I am with my new teaching position). ANYWAY….

This year, Frau is in Austria right now and we’re meeting later in June. But since my planning anxiety has been around for 1,000 months now, I’m getting started. I thought I would use a blog post to 1) organize my own thoughts for Frau and myself and 2) share with others what I’m thinking about this summer.

I know a lot of teachers and teacher-moms are unplugging this summer. Taking time for themselves and families, etc. Reading for pleasure. Not on social media, etc. THAT’S JUST NOT ME Y’ALL. I LITERALLY CAN’T. Doing this planning and daydreaming and obsessing makes me feel good, it’s who I am, so – if this stresses you out and you’re trying to just enjoy your summer, then BOOKMARK this for later and close this page now!

So… what am I doing to get ready?


First of all, I printed some blank calendars for myself so I could sketch out ideas on paper. I just printed from my Mac’s calendar app and unchecked all of our family calendars so they’d print blank. Our school’s 2019-2020 calendar hasn’t even been finalized be the board yet, YOU CAN IMAGINE MY STRESS so this is my trying to get ahead of it. I made 3 copies so I could sketch out Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Spanish 3. This is probably superfluous. Since it’s just sketched out ideas I probably could have just done all 3 on one calendar. But YOLO – if it feels good, do it. (Also, as you’ll read below – I took my school’s binding machine home… so I bound them… and put pretty covers on them… SORRY NOT SORRY.)

Last year was my first year having all my lesson plans on Google Slides. Here’s what I love about having my plans on Slides:

  • Every class, week, and quarter is all in one place.
  • Easy to go back and read next year.
  • I can add comments that only I and those who I allow (my principal) can see. Like I can highlight “Use Gran Hotel Slideshow to Review Personality Traits” and in the comment I can write MAKE THIS SLIDESHOW OR YOU WILL HAVE NO MATERIALS, YOU LOSER! I can also add notes in the speaker notes about things that I want to remember to teach or reflections on lessons that I want to remember for next year.
  • I already store so much stuff in Google Drive it made the most sense for me.
  • I can cut/paste whole lessons and ideas to new days or weeks if something changes.
  • I can add links to whatever I’m doing that day so all I have to do is open my plans, click links to open all my tabs, and my whole system is ready to go for the day.
    • On that note – my plans are available for anyone with the link to read – but my links aren’t necessarily. I might be linking to slide 22 on one of Martina Bex’s SOMOS presentations. I’m able to click on the link and open it, but since it’s copyrighted material the rest of the public (haha NO ONE READS MY LESSON PLANS) can’t see it. OR – I might have a link to an assessment. Don’t wan’t anyone seeing it before hand!
  • No matter where I am (… library on a Chromebook, in an Elementary teacher’s room, in the lab administering the AAPPL, out in the world on my phone, home on personal computer, work on my classroom computer…) I ALWAYS HAVE ACCESS TO ALL MY PLANS. I LIKE MY PLANS CAN YOU TELL?

Today while my 4-year old was at The Little Gym running around for 3 hours, I went to Panera and started on my Slides for next year. Just making them uniform and pretty.

You’ll see on there that I’ve attempted to have a weekly/daily routine for classes. I started that around February for the 2018-2019 school year and the kids really, REALLY liked the structure. My classroom is generally a mess (physically – like stuff everywhere) and also planning-wise (as CI tends to be – I have no prob going with the flow). But I respect that some kids like structure, so – gonna go with it again this year. I shared a screenshot of this on Twitter today and it blew up so I thought “Hey – maybe I have decent things to share with the world! I HAVE VALUE!” (#socialmediasickness)

I also started outlines for my 2019-2020 school year while I was in the “I’m so over this year” mood around April this year. My rough outlines are linked on the first page of that “Slides for next year” doc. They’re heavily inspired by Carrie Toth’s materials (linked below, read on.)


I’m a fangirl of a few online teacher personalities. To name a few – Carrie Toth (Somewhere to Share), Martina Bex (The Comprehensible Classroom), Allison Weinhold (Mis Clases Locas), Elisabeth Alvarado (Spanish Mama), and Kristy Placido. These women not only look like teaching goddesses to us mere mortals – but they also SHARE so many of their materials! Links and ideas galore! So here is what I have printed out (or open in tabs) and will spread on the table when Frau gets here:

  • Martina
    • the scope/sequence of SOMOS and SOMOS 2
    • the unit plans printed out for the one’s I plan on teaching (I’ll sneak to school to print these packets, my home inkjet won’t be doing that work). A lot of teachers on the SOMOS Facebook collaboration page have said that as they get more comfortable, they don’t need to print out the whole unit on paper. I’m not there yet.
    • The independent textivities bundle that I bought last year but haven’t dived into yet. I’m hoping to use some of these during my maternity leave. I’d also like to have my novel units planned ahead a little so I know what I’m doing in every chapter rather than being like hmm… Piratas chapter 8… what should I do in this chapter to mix things up?
    • I’ll also just generally have her blog open to discuss with Frau some of our favorite topics:
  • Carrie
    • her scope/sequences for Spanish 1, 2, 3, 4.
    • I used Martina’s SOMOS for the first time last year and am obsessed with it. I’m feeling good about mostly using SOMOS for the next school year too, even with my 3s, because we’re all still adjusting to CI and storytelling. HOWEVER – I will also be browsing some of Carries TPT units for upper-levels as well – either to use at the end of the year with my 3s, or to use with them when they’re 4s. I also really like her song unit bundles on TPT.
    • Her blog in general – especially for ideas about how she teaches with novels
  • Elisabeth
    • Her guides to textbook-free language teaching
    • Her preschool plans – I am not sure if I’ll still have room in my schedule for Elementary this year (NO OUR MASTER SCHEDULE ISN’T DONE YET, I’M DYING) now that I’m adding level 3 – if not… my principal and I are trying to think of other ways to increase literacy and access to language for EVERYONE in the school – maybe a library program during study hall?  mini-Spanish lessons? Bilingual books? Small, short activities? Dunno – but I’ve been using Elisabeth’s Pollitos lessons for the past 2 years, so I’ll be sticking with some of that too, must in case.

I feel like now is a good time to mention that in order to bless our curriculum camp and surround us with good vibes this summer, I will be lighting the candles for the Patron Saint of Curriculum and Patron Saint of Inspiration. That’s right – St. Martina and St. Carrie will be guiding us in blog and spirit this year.



Throughout the school year when my brain can’t handle it I just save links on Facebook. For example; when someone posts a good question in the CI/TPRS Facebook page, or someone shares a funny video for a Movie Talk, or one of the Spanish pages I follow posts something I’ll use as an #authres later.

At the beginning of the summer my links saved for teaching were in the 99+ range… got it down to the 50s, WOOHOO! Some of them can’t be pinned or I want to save them for other reasons – so those will be open during Camp too.

I’ll also have my 2 Pinterest accounts open. On breaks (Winter, Spring, Summer) I go through my other saved lists (Facebook and Twitter) and pin the things worth keeping long-term.


Our PTO got Promethean boards for the elementary school classrooms and asked if JH and HS would want that or something else. I typed up a proposal of what I really wanted and made a few Amazon Wishlists. I THINK I know what the PTO is getting… and my principal has $100 for me… so I need to decide what to PO and what to buy and what to save for later.


  • DIY rejoinders – woah – sharing this blew up with likes on the CI/TPRS page
  • Storytelling phrases – (inspired by…. MARTINA BEX! obvi)
  • A Slides doc where I’m making random titles for posters in my room, etc.
  • Media Consent form – inspired by Annabelle Allen (La Maestra Loca).
    • I asked my principal if she thought this was necessary or superfluous – no response yet. I haven’t worked on it in a few weeks. So it’s just an idea for now.
  • Binding FVR stories. So many teachers have short stories available on TPT I mean… I’m mostly talking about Martina Bex, OBVI. I’ve purchased a TON in preparation for next year… and have brought home my school’s binding apparatus. I’m going to try to … laminate? Bind? Use project covers? Going to try and help Frau with this too, since she has to find some way to have a MOBILE library due to being in multiple classrooms (boooo). And also has to actually FIND readers in German. Woof.


  • Adjusting my gradebook, which I’m never happy with. Just brainstorming with my principal for now.
  • Working towards the AAPPL for the Seal of Biliteracy (inspired by Carrie, as usual).
    • Jon Cowart post. I’ve made a couple versions of this with illustrations from novels (copyright) so I can’t share. But basically I made a Google Slides doc and just kind of practice through it with kids sometimes. Here’s a pic tho:
  • Some kind of weekly (or biweekly? quarterly?) accountability packet. Something that the kids use to show they’re doing their part to RECEIVE the input… something I can SHOW to parents or put in the gradebook (even if the weight is minimal)? But… I imagine this being something I do NOT follow through with. Any suggestions out there, anyone?

Welp, that about does it… and that’s just my thinking BEFORE Curriculum Camp. I’ll have to write a post about how it actually goes.

Oh BTW I’m supposed to go to this conference tomorrow. Should prob pack and go to bed now.

Oh one more thing – I’m actually doing an OK job as a (preggo, tired) mom too. I don’t TOTALLY blow off my kid while I think about teaching stuff over the summer… OK EVERYONE (myself)?!


5 thoughts on “Preparing for Curriculum Camp – 2019 edition

  1. That is awesome that you have a teacher friend to help you sit down and go through your curriculum. Definitely going to think about using google slides for my lesson plans. Why didn’t I ever think to use that!? Enjoy your summer!


  2. This is amazing, thank you for sharing your awesome ideas with other teachers. This is going to be my first year as a full time Spanish teacher after 14 years in ESL and even when I taught Spanish 1 for a few months, it’s like being a brand new teacher. I’m glad that I am not the only one in summer break who is thinking back to school. Have a blessed summer!


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