The summer slide is real. It can cause students to forget 22 percent or more of what they learned over the school year, making a teacher spend a month of review at the beginning of the next year just to get students caught back up. This might seem like the territory of the parents, but there are some things teachers can do to help.
1. Look for online resources. Learning doesn’t have to stop just because the school building is locked. Online learning can not only help keep students sharp, but can actually help them improve by the time they get back to school. There are plenty of free resources, or you can set up some lessons on the online tools you already have access to.
2. Provide students with a reading list before they leave. Set up a reward program upon their return so they follow through on their reading assignments.
3. Send reading materials home. Some of our poorer students might not have access to the local library or Amazon. If all else fails, send some books home.
4. Ask parents to let their children teach them. Teaching someone else is one of the highest levels of thinking. Having the students teach their parents all of the new skills they learned can serve as a great review.
5. For older students, create a potential job list. Just some ideas of interesting places around town where other students have had success in summer employment. If you don’t know any, ask around.
6. For younger students, consider some volunteering. Plenty of organizations around town need help. It’s a good way to practice valuable skills and perhaps investigate a possible career.
7. Construct a virtual field trip. Unfortunately, many students won’t have the opportunity to travel over the break. Take the time to construct a trip for them using online tools like Google Earth and YouTube. They can “travel” and get some brain activity at the same time.
8. Make yourself available. We all know that teachers are dedicated, even over the summer. Make sure your students know that they can reach you via accepted social media during the break. You can even buzz them with some questions to keep their brains working.