For most of our students, summer brings several weeks of unstructured free time. While spending time with friends and family doing all the great activities that can only be done during this wonderful (but short in Minnesota) season is just what some students need. What we as teachers know is that this time away from academic learning also causes what has been termed, “summer slide”. It is when unpracticed skills become lost. This loss can take several weeks in the fall to regain.
According to Education World, “ more than 70 percent of recently-surveyed middle school math teachers recognize that students regress more in math than in any other subject during the break—and take longer to get back up to speed in the fall.”
So what can we do to keep math and science learning alive this summer for all students? Here are some suggestions and websites that offer some great resources.
There are so many valuable math skills as well as interpersonal skills that can be gained from playing board games. Take some time at the end of the school year to play some games with your students and encourage them to start a game night at home with their families.
Remember Everyday Math has many math skill games that could be played at home with a regular deck of playing cards and or dice. Review those games before the end of the school year and show how a regular deck of cards could be used.
Summer Math Garden
Education World encourages us to grow a Summer Math Garden. What they mean by this is getting families to think about how mathematics is embedded in all their favorite summer activities and incorporating that mathematical thinking. They include the follow directions:
Another great local resource for students and families is Quarry Hill Nature Center. This summer the Quarry Hill Nature Center is offering many exciting summer camps and events for all ages. Some of these camps include Whiz Kids, Mission Explore, and Scales and Slime, just to name a few. Registration opened in March but there is still available space in many of the classes.
Community Ed Programs
Remember that Rochester Community Education also offers many opportunities for kids to continue to grow their skills in their Youth Brochure.
Fun at Home
In researching for this blog the best website for suggestions that I found was Math Geek Mama. In her blog Fun Ways to Engage in Math this Summer, the author lists 50+ fun and simple math actives that can be played by any age elementary student.
If you’re wondering about an easy way to share this information with parents, remember that the C and I website is open to the community. Just share the link and they can have access to this blog and resources for themselves. Let's empower our parents with ways to have fun with their children while practicing valuable skills at the same time.
This post brought to you by Julie Ace, Elementary Implementation Associate
As the school year becomes more and more visible in our rear-view mirrors, it is not only our students whom we may have difficulty keeping engaged, but also ourselves. Often we do not even realize that we have begun to “tune-out” as the year begins to drift away. Let’s face it – we’ve had a few things our plates and have been working our tails off for the last 9 months. So with less than three weeks remaining, how do we remain engaged and energized to help get our students to the finish line?
Here are 4 ideas for keeping it fresh and fun right up to the last minute you have with this years kiddos.
Field Test Something
Remember that great idea you had back in October when things were crazy busy and you just didn’t have time to explore it? Remember that conversation you had with a colleague about an idea from an article you read and would love to try in your own classroom? Now is the time! The end of the year can be a great time to pilot something new and see how it goes because it will come to a definite conclusion in a manner of weeks. Not sure what to give a try? Check Best Idea Ever for more than 35 ideas!
Take time to Reflect
Since we are already looking in the rear-view mirror, you might as well focus on reflecting. You have almost an entire year of instruction under your belt. It’s time to look back on what worked well, what could have been even better, and what should not be repeated next year. Perhaps even ask you students to reflect on the year and even on your teaching and give you feedback for going forward. Getting Student Feedback and Tools for Gathering Feedback offer ideas for soliciting advice from your students.
Create Something New
After you and your students have done all that reflecting, you will likely have things you would like to improve upon or change for the next school year. Start making those changes now. The end of the year is a great time to start preparing for next year. Even better, get your students involved in making those changes. How to Experiment is a great article about how to go about trying something new in the classroom.
What do you want your students to remember about their year with you? Take some time to gather those memories and put them in a place that students can take with them. These last few weeks of school are a great time to collect and share the highlights of the year. Education World and Edublogs have some fantastic ideas to wind up learning and find the bright spots of your time together.
Recently, I came across the quote from the image above and it really spoke to me when I read it. I hope it speaks to you, too. I encourage you to take some time in these last few weeks to take your ending and turn it into a new beginning.
This post brought to you by Rebecca Mecikalski, Elementary Implementation Associate
Originally posted on the Secondary C&I website on 4/18/2018
The recent spike in temperature plus the spring rain has those of use at C&I thinking about the sunny and warm days of summer. Summer: the season of new growth and of rejuvenation--not just for our gardens and our lawns, but for our souls as educators, too.
As you begin to think about your summer plans and how you personally would like to grow in your instructional practices and rejuvenate your classroom approaches, consider enrolling in one or both of the following C&I summer professional development opportunities.
New this Summer...
If you have ever wished that X, Y, or Z were offered as RPS Professional Development sessions, disappointed occasionally that they are not, then this new opportunity might be for you.
Returning this Summer...
So, as you start to think beyond this snow and focus on the new growth of summer--don't forget about opportunities to grow yourself, too. Maybe we can even grow together.
This post brought to you by the Elementary C&I Team
Oprah Winfrey often asks people, “What do you know for sure?” As my retirement date fast approaches, I find myself reflecting about my career, the people I have met, and the impact I hope to leave behind. After 40+ years of working in various settings with children, here are my thoughts about
1) Children will always need significant adults to care deeply about them. We need to protect them, guide them, celebrate them, and open up their world through our teaching. Nothing will ever take the place of a student coming to school and knowing that someone cares.
2) Every interaction we have matters. We only get so many days each year to influence those around us. We never know which lesson, which interaction, which comment will make the difference for that one person we encounter. Nothing brings me more gratification than when a student, a teacher, a para, or a colleague tells me that something I did or said mattered to them.
3) With rare exceptions, people become educators because they want to make a difference in students’ lives. I have worked with countless teachers, paraprofessionals, principals, and administrators. Whether you are in a school building or work “down town,” you find honorable, dedicated people who truly care about students.
4) Integrity matters. No matter what another person chooses to do or say in a given situation, you can choose to respond with grace and integrity.
5) Amuse yourself and at least one person in the room is having fun. I often tell people this is my “educational philosophy.” After I became a teacher, I ran into my fifth grade teacher who I credit with changing my life forever. I asked about her teaching philosophy. Her response? “A day without a good laugh is a wasted day of school.” Humor builds relationships, lightens our hearts, and promotes learning.
6) I know for sure that I have LOVED being an educator in Rochester Public School. I will always be grateful for the opportunities I have had and the amazing people I have known. This is a special place and I was most fortunate to be part of it.
So, my friends, I wish the very best for you in the future. May your journey be as happy as mine.
This post brought to you by Carol Lucido, the K-8 District Math Coordinator
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