5 Ways to Keep Students Learning Over the Summer


As a teacher, we all know about the summer learning loss syndrome (and I am talking about the students, not the teachers).  It would be ideal to keep students learning through the summer. How do we do that? Here are 5 ways that might keep your students on the learning path:

·         Get them to a library! 
     Almost every library in America has a summer reading program with incentives and nice librarians!  Taking a quick field-trip to the local library in May to hear about their summer activities is a great place to start.  No money for a field trip?  Bring the librarian to the kids.  Invite the librarian to your classroom to get kids excited.  Kids who may not be avid readers, but don’t have exciting plans over the summer, might see the library as a refuge.  Some libraries even have free snack programs.  Check to see what yours offers.

·         Email your future students. 
     Before school gets out for the summer, collect those new names and emails from last year’s teachers and introduce yourself.  Even if you don’t know which students will be yours, send out emails to the whole grade on a weekly basis with a little tidbit about yourself and co-teachers and a Pinterest project, a scavenger hunt worksheet, or a YouTube tutorial they might want to do that week.  Just that little reminder of school keeps parents and students on track!

·         Do a student challenge. 
     Take time that last week of school to head over to your future-students’ classrooms.  Tell them how excited you are that they are coming to _____ grade!  Give them a list of things you hope they will do over the summer so they will be ready to learn in your classroom. Say you bet they can’t get all of them done – truly make it a challenge to them! A student who’s excited about you will want to work for you! Think of it as a pre-teaching exercise – make sure there’s lots of fun things they want to do on the list like play Frisbee golf or go shopping for the cheapest ice cream at the grocery store.  Be sure to email the parents your list, too.  Recreational activities are still learning opportunities!

·         Enlist the help of local non-profits. 
     Send students home in May with bags of free activities from local non-profits or lists of activities going on at those non-profits.  Many cater to kids whose parents work full-time in the summer, and they will be happy to have your support!  If you convince parents that these activities will allow them more free time, they will be on board, too! The YMCA offers programs.  Many churches offer Bible School opportunities.  Whatever keeps kids engaged, and moving, lessens the summer slide!

·         Encourage kids to volunteer! 
     The best way to learn about the world and make it a better place is by volunteerism.  By actively engaging their minds in something new, they are fighting the summer setback!  Kids can go online to see all their options and find something that fits their tastes.

·         Write code to change the world.
     And for those gamers we all have, send them to the Hour of Code website.  Tell them you want to see the game that will change the world when they show up in your classroom next fall.  Sure, it’s still gaming but with a purpose!  A gamer is only a gamer because they want to beat the challenge.  Maybe you will spark the kid that fixes a world-problem.  That’s what’s great about teaching. As teachers, we aren’t with our students all summer, but we have to know that if we teach them passion for learning, they will continue it, with, or without, us.  These 5 ways to channel summer-learning are a good start.

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