23 May 2015 Keep the learning going during summer
by Brittany Gilbert
A common concern for both parents and teachers with the break in summer months is that their student will fall behind in their education.
Some teachers spend time at the beginning of the school year revisiting material from the previous year in order to catch students back up.
It’s like the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” As a teacher, it’s discouraging to spend time covering material and when your students come back from a break they forgot it. While summer should definitely be a time for fun and a break from the classroom, learning doesn’t have to stop. Here are a few ways you can instill in your student a mindset of continuous learning during the summer months.
Visit your local library.
Give your student a goal of a certain number of books to read during the summer. This can help create a love for reading when your child gets to pick literature that interests them and can help strengthen literacy skills. See if your local library has a schedule of events and opportunities for kids. The Faulkner County library has a Facebook page with a calendar for each month that is full of activities. This is a free resource that every family can take advantage of.
Ask your children’s teachers for worksheets and homework ideas.
This option is not the most popular with students; however, I’ve personally seen the benefit of using classroom materials such as worksheets and textbooks to keep information fresh on your student’s mind throughout the summer break.
Be creative with home lesson plans.
This is an opportunity to show your children that learning takes place every day and the things you learn are used outside of school.
Design a scavenger hunt either indoors or outdoors, or both. Adjust your criteria for your students’ ages and abilities, yet create challenges for them as well. Create problems for them to solve in order to unlock the clue for the next piece of the puzzle. This may be a little extra work on parents but can be so rewarding. There are resources available on Pinterest to help.
Another idea is to have your student write a story, whatever kind of story they want, but give them a list of vocabulary words they must include in the story. The words must be used in the correct context and you can create other guidelines as well, but this is one of my favorite activities to encourage creativity while teaching or reinforcing material.
Sustained learning activities during the summer months can go a long way in cultivating a successful next school year.
Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].