Summer School?

We are right in the middle of summer school. Buses are running. Kids are hopping off and teachers are greeting them with a smile.  Parents are relieved. But, how beneficial is summer school?  I'd say that summer school was highly beneficial IF it is designed to be beneficial and not just a babysitting service.   Let's face it, in some cases, school has become the babysitter.  We get there earlier and earlier to  greet those little sleepy faces and stay later and later waiting on parents to get off work. Now, summer school fills a new niche.  We have to be careful that summer school doesn't become a daycare. We have to design lessons and activities in a perfect balance of learning and fun.

I'm sure we've all taught summer school at one time or another. And, I'm sure that most of us have some tales to tell, but how many have actually been part of a summer school where learning was pushed to the top of the agenda?    I hope everyone has had that experience.  Learning should be the number one priority. BUT, I think that is should be accomplished in a fun and engaging way.

Keep in mind students are just as excited about summer as we are. Can you imagine their disappointment when they discover that they've been signed up for summer school? Now, top that off when they learn that summer school is a sit-in-a-row-memorize-all-day experience. No one wants that.  There are creative ways to keep kids on the right track without boring them to tears. There are ways to get them up and moving without dissolving into total chaos.

What about reading under a tree? Tree not available, okay, what about going to the auditorium, stage, or room not being used. Sometimes just a change in venue lightens the task. Kids don't like reading aloud. No problem! Read to them. I have yet to meet a child that didn't like to hear a good story. And, why not select something that is over their reading level. Give them a chance to experience something they couldn't on their own. The best choices (again, my opinion) are mysteries. Especially when you stop at the climax. They can't wait to hear what happens. Tomorrow. Don't cave in and keep reading. Make them wait.

Learning multiplication? Or addition and subtraction? If a trip to the store (or school cafeteria) is in the budget, have students figure how much it would cost for everyone to get an ice-cream treat. Better yet. Flag down the ice-cream truck.  Do you have a playground area? Why not hook up some sprinklers and let them figure how much water it takes to water the lawn?  Drop by drop. Or, how long it takes to water the lawn? Minute by minute!

Writing? There are a million ways to make writing fun, even for those who can't think of a thing to write. Look up at the clouds. What do you see? A pirate. A dog running across the sky. A fierce Indian Chief.  There are some great writing prompts just above you.  Look around the school. What would happen if.... we were trapped here all night, we discovered a secret room, a strange cloud suddenly enveloped the school????  

See? All it takes is a little imagination and learning is FUN! Summer school is a blast. And, most importantly... summer school is beneficial.

Speaking of summer fun.....

Summer Fun Printables & Task Cards

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