Monday, May 15, 2017

Scaffolding the Summer

My daughter is home.

All of my exams and papers are graded and final grades have been turned in.

It must be summer vacation!

Let the list-making commence!

Truth be told, I start making summer lists long before the last paper is graded. Last Saturday, I sat down with the various incarnations of notes to myself that I've been tucking into notebooks and calendars and began organizing them.

  • My Big 3 for Saturday. (Okay, it was more of a Big 5 because I couldn't decide).
  • My list for the weekend/week ahead, to be broken into smaller pieces as the week wears on.
  • My summer lists: overall goals, books to read, movies to watch. Projects. 

These lists hold a different kind of promise than my standard to-do lists. Biased more toward what I want to do than what I have to to, they're the scaffolding for not only my summer, but the second half of my year. As such, they provide a flexible structure suited to the season, but still leave room for opportunity. A day (or weekend) trip. An evening out. Some fun event that I don't even know about yet.


So, why make lists at all?

Because they hold a combination of promises made, things I've been longing to do and opportunities to explore -- all the things I don't get the chance to do during the year while I am teaching and life is busy and scheduled. As such, they are the counterbalance to the school year, the other side of the coin, the "what I want to be when I grow up" activities.

Just writing them down is both useful and enticing. For me, making lists sets things in motion; once I've written something down, it lingers in the back of my mind, keeping me alert for opportunities that are relevant to the things I want to accomplish.

This week, there will be a lot of loose ends to tie up -- tasks that got put off, awaiting unscheduled days. I'll start chipping away at the housekeeping items on the list, trimming away the short-term to-dos and revealing the items that can't be checked off with less than an hour's work. From there, my lists will diverge, sending me into my semi-annual goals review, otherwise known as an excuse to blow the dust off my leather-bound planner.

But that's another post.

How about you? What do your summer lists look like?


  1. I have 4 weeks before it's summer here, so I still have time! :) I should get started, though; my college student is home for the summer too.

  2. I started my lists before the semester ended. Guess you could say I was looking forward to tackling some projects!