Saturday, April 26, 2014

If They Don't Use It, They Will Lose It! Keeping Our Kids Learning During the Summer Months

Summer is almost here! I know that my students are getting excited to relax, have fun, and just "be kids." As a teacher, one of my biggest fears is that my students will lose everything that they have learned during the long summer months.

What Can We Do to Prevent Our Students From
Regressing During the Summer Months?

According to the National Summer Learning Association, students lose approximately 2 months of learning when they do not engage in educational activities throughout the summer. It also states that teachers must re-teach for the first 4-6 weeks of school to make up for what children have forgotten over the summer. As sad as this is, it is the reality.
What can we do about it? Although we cannot individually fix this problem, we can do our best to provide our students with opportunities to review the reading, writing, and math fundamentals that they have worked so hard to learn during the school year. My school is offering a "Literacy Academy" that invites all students to come in for extra reading and writing instruction in a more relaxed environment. Our literacy academy will bridge the gap between the regular school year and summer school.
How am I going to help my kinders transition into first grade without significant learning losses? I am going to send home a "Summer Practice" folder which will include math, reading, and writing activities for my students to use throughout the summer. My folder will include printables, a journal, "just for fun" activities, and more. I have had very supportive parents this year who ask for extra practice, so this is what I created to send home with my kinders.

My student's summer packet will be placed in an inexpensive two pocket folder. I will put a cover on the folder to ensure that parents know what it is. Inside the two pocket folder I will place math printables, reading printables, a summer journal, and extra "just for fun" activities.


 In the math section of my kid's summer packet, I will include a variety of Common Core aligned skills.  I have also included flash cards for addition and subtraction. Kindergarten students are expected to know their addition and subtraction facts fluently, so I hope that these will be useful for my parents to help their kiddos practice.
 The reading and writing section of the summer packet will include Common Core aligned reading and writing printables. I have included a variety of skills, but most of the skills that I have included are skills that we learned and practiced 4th quarter.
Writing is so difficult in Kindergarten. It takes us the entire year to finally form complete sentences and paragraphs. Because it is such a great accomplishment,  I definitely do not want my kinders to go an entire summer without practicing their writing skills. To help keep my kids writing,  I included a summer journal and a book for my kids to write about their summer experiences in. I also included a letter for my parents because they often do not know how to help their kids with writing. They are not sure how much assistance to provide, and if they should be spelling words for them etc. I tried to include some tips for writing success with Kindergarten age students.
 The last section gives my students some "just for fun" activities. These are activities that can be completed without paper and pencil. Some of the activities that I included in this section include going on a 2 & 3 dimensional shape hunt, writing numbers with sidewalk chalk as far as they can, and playing an old fashioned game of war to practice greater than and less than.
Although I teach Kindergarten, a summer practice packet could work for just about any grade. The key to success will be informing the parents about the importance of continuous practice, and making the activities exciting so that your kids will want to do them.
If you are interested in sending home a summer practice packet with your kiddos, you can click on the link below to see my practice packet. Enjoy!


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