Most students, and educators, for that matter have started to count down the days until summer break.  I’ve seen many creative ways of doing this on Twitter/Pinterest – alphabet countdowns, popping balloons, paper chains….I never understood this mentality.  I loved teaching, I loved the time with my students and would hate for them to feel that I was counting down the days until I didn’t have to see them again. The end of the year was always very sad to me, my students worked so hard all year and made such amazing gains, not just on their end of the year benchmark assessments, but socially and emotionally.  These once “helpless” little babes were now independent problem solvers and had managed to inch their way into my heart forever!

Although in my heart, in the fall when they return to school, they will find themselves in a “strangers” classroom.  I was so protective of MY students that after our fall benchmarking, I would meet with their new teacher to see how awesome my kiddos scored.  I was devastated to see their scores were so much lower than they were in the spring. I knew I had prepared them better than they were performing, what happened?!?!?!    

Did you know……

Vince, et al. “10 Facts About Summer Learning Loss for a Productive School Break | ID.” ID Tech, Vince Vince

Why were we celebrating the end of the school year again?  These statistics are alarming!! Our poor students work so hard each year, putting forth their best effort for 176 days just to lose it over the summer!

As a teacher, I was NOT okay with my students being part of the summer slide SO I did everything in my power to help support and prevent this from happening to my kiddos.  Here are some ways you can help students retain the knowledge they learned in your class:

  • Set up “office hours” – Meet your students at the library, panera, school, etc.. to read with them, play math games, socialize, etc.. for one hour each week.
  • Create a summer calendar for them – Give them 1 academic task to do each day of summer break.
  • Pen Pals – establish pen pals within your classroom so students can practice their reading/writing and maintain friendships over the summer….plus who doesn’t love getting/receiving mail?!?!
  • Blog – Encourage your students to blog over the summer, your participation in this will keep the momentum going.
  • Invite students to join you…digitally – Use Facebook Live, your LMS, Google Classroom, etc.!  Technology has make it possible to teach remotely. Utilize the power of tech to teacher new material or offer refresher activities!
  • Provide a deck of cards and a few books for each student to take home over the summer – You can come up with countless math games/activities for every age with a deck of cards and sometimes just providing students access to books is the first step in reducing the slide!
  • Create your own summer reading club – Many families can’t get to the library or don’t have access to a library card, create your own summer reading club where students can email you their reading log, bring it back in the fall, meet you somewhere, etc. to show off their reading!

There are countless ways to help reduce the summer slide with very little effort.  The effort you put in to helping your students over the summer will result in less effort in the fall and more learning!!  

Please let me know if you would like more ideas or support in creating learning opportunities for your students over the summer – I am here to help!!

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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