This special guest post from Sunshine and Lollipops who offers a few ideas on how to keep student’s skills sharp through the summer months so they are ready to learn in the fall.
We all know how we wish our students would work during the summer to keep all the skills and strategies that they learned all year long sharp without gaps and ready to go when school begins the next school year. You always have some students who never stop working over the summer and others who never work at all over the summer. There are so many ways to keep the kiddos that leave your classroom ready to “jump” back into learning come fall and bridge the gap between summer and fall.
Here are a few tried and true ideas to share with parents and colleagues:
- Have each student make a “Summer Journal” to jot down daily activities that they did over the summer. This is a great way to keep students writing over the summer and they can add pictures and captions somewhat like a scrapbook filled with summer memories. This can be a great way for children to document memories. How much fun will they have looking back on this as a young adult? These journals can be brought form home and decorated, run off on paper or even purchased at a dollar store.
- Use a blank calendar and brainstorm ideas with your class that they can do over the summer to keep skills sharp. Ideas such as counting how many shoes your mom has in the closet to how many steps it is around the neighborhood to measuring the perimeter or area of a room in their house. Your students can then jot these ideas down on different dates on their calendar and complete them through the summer.
- You can copy ideas from the class and type them into a calendar frame for each student to take home through the summer to work with when they are faced with a rainy summer day at the shore or traveling to a vacation destination…remember if a car travels 60 miles per hour and it takes 2 1/2 hours to get to Orlando, how many miles have we traveled?
- Make up a packet of review math skills that were taught throughout the school year for children to bring home over the summer.
- Summer educational field trips are another easy way to keep kids thinking over the summer. Depending where you live, scope out some ideas, jot these ideas in a newsletter and send it home with children. Around where I live, we have a zoo, arboretums, the Crayola Factory, Please Touch Museum, lots of history and much more!
- Make up a Summer Reading List of Books that are geared toward your student’s grade level and interests and send it home with students. You might want to include some generic frames or book craft ideas for students to use to respond to their reading.
I know what you are thinking: ” Okay, this all sounds great on paper, but where is the accountability and are the students really going to this over the summer?” Here is what I did with my first and second graders:
I created a packet for my students to use so they could keep their skills sharp and move right on into second or third grade without missing a beat. Then I would have the children visit me in the fall during the first couple weeks of school and show me the work they completed. I then gave them a Summer Award and a special “second grade” or “third grade” school supply. I usually got a pencil that said,” Second Graders are Great”, “Third grade is Terrific” or something like that.
My school also gave summer assignments, but I still sent ideas, packets or Summer Calendars home because it was a super way to support our summer program and gave more specific ideas of activities to complete. I would staple a Summer Calendar into one packet and then a journal with response pages into another packet and send this home for summer work. It worked with about 90-95% of the students I taught.
If you teach first grade, check out the “Summer Calendar” packet I have in my shop. It is ready to print and send home with your first grade students!
Enjoy the last few weeks of school and rest up this summer so you are ready to go in the fall!
PS- It might be fun to keep a Summer Journal or scrapbook to share with your incoming students next year…
I hope this brings a little sunshine your way!
Sunshine and Lollipops is a 34-year veteran teacher. Although currently retired Sunshine and Lollipops hopes to create,inspire and support others as they begin or continue their journey with teaching! In addition to substitute teaching for 9 years, Sunshine and Lollipops taught first and second grade for 25 years. You can learn more about this wonderful teacher and view her products at her Teacher’s Notebook shop.