Help students sail into vacation armed with tools that will prevent summer slide and ensure success in September.
Summer is one month away and vacation is on every student’s mind, yet learning is not part of many children’s plans when away from school. Work with parents to prevent students from falling into summer slide during June, July, and August to make the transition into September flow smoothly.
1. STEM on Holiday
STEM is relevant in every part of life, from the cars that are used during road trips to the trees or critters encountered on a summer hike. Ask students to find STEM in different aspects of their summer vacation. Tell them to create a journal recording the different scientific characteristics of sun, sand, and surf during a beach trip. Students who visit an amusement park can make a list of the attractions they experience and research how engineering was used to develop rides or games. Through simply thinking critically about fun vacation activities, students can avoid summer slide and build brain power.
2. Read Between the TSA Lines
Summer reading lists are a popular suggestion teachers use to promote continued learning throughout summer vacation. Rather than assigning a structured list of summer reading, provide a variety of useful options to students. Include contemporary STEM options, classics (“Origin of the Species,” anyone?), and biographies of fascinating pioneers in the field. Since parents who read usually raise kids who will follow suit, suggest reading material for guardians to explore and avoid summer slide.
3. Keep Them Moving
According to the National Summer Learning Association, many children gain weight when the school year ends and summer relaxation begins. While school is still in session, assign homework that entails children discussing with their parents a daily summer schedule, which includes consistent daily wake-up and bed times. The calendar should outline breakfast, chores, physical activity, and the child’s daily educational or reading goals. Remind parents and students that 2016 marks the National Park Service’s centennial, which includes new initiatives to introduce young people to our nation’s natural attractions. Through keeping a consistent schedule and incorporating a fitness regimen, students will be less likely to fall into the summer slide.
4. Free to Learn More This Summer
Some lucky, young STEM enthusiasts are able to attend pricey summer camps that will cultivate their minds until summer ends. However, many students come from families that cannot afford to send their children to these camps, especially in a multi-child household. STEM Jobs’ “10 Free STEM Apps to Use in Your Class” and “5 Fun Math Games that Can Boost Your Grades” provide excellent, affordable learning resources that you can share with your students.
5. Create a Summer Class Facebook Page
A week or two before classes end, send home a note to parents or send an email notifying them of efforts to avoid summer slide. Outline all components of the plan and unveil a class Facebook page where students and parents can engage with each other and ask questions or share progress. Notifying parents of any potential social media interaction with their children and receiving approval is extremely important. On a weekly basis, post to the page and ask for everyone to share the experiences with this summer program. Share additional bonus tasks (check out these 20 fun summer STEM activities for more ideas) or personal stories regarding how teachers avoid the summer slide, which will show students that they are not the only ones who are flexing their learning muscles this summer.
Teachers work hard day and night throughout the school year to ensure students are equipped to master concepts at their own grade level and prepared for the next. By helping students avoid summer slide, educators can increase the probability that children will succeed in September and beyond.