Preparing For The End Of The Year
The end of the year is quickly approaching and there are many different emotions happening for teachers and students. Some people are looking forward to the school year being over and others are dreading it. Some are anxious because they have so much more to cover and so little time to do it. Others are trying to fill the days with activities that keep kids engaged as their attention wanes.
I remember being in the staffroom as the year was ending and there were countdowns on the board. One teacher used to have a roll of toilet paper with the number of teaching days on it. She would tear off a page each day.
I was one of the ones who wasn't counting the days because there were so many things I still wanted to accomplish before the year ended. It wasn't just curriculum, but other activities. I felt rushed when I saw the days counting down. As much as I was looking forward to a summer break, I didn't want the year to end because it meant saying goodbye to my students.
How Summer Activities Will Help Avoid Bigger Learning Gaps
It is a different situation this year because teachers are so burnt out dealing with the challenges of teaching during a pandemic. Not only have they been juggling the online/in person situation, they are dealing with the realities of all the academic challenges that have faced them this year.
I was fortunate enough to be able to finally go in and help some students last month. I saw some of the challenges first hand as teachers struggled to meet the wide range of academic and social needs of the kids. It was very evident that distance learning worked well for some and didn't work at all for others.
In order for the gap to close, it will be important for learning to continue throughout the summer break. The reality is that for some kids, this is not going to happen. The gap will be even greater in the fall when they return to school. This means that we will have to look at our teaching with a different lens. We can't just teach to the curriculum or the test. Too many students will be left behind if we do.
Last week I talked a bit about using differentiation and accommodations in the classroom to help students to move towards the levels needed and expected for their grade level. This week I would like to talk more about what kinds of things can be done to help kids continue learning throughout the summer.
I realize that some school districts are finishing up now and others have another few weeks to go, but in my mind, it is never too early to think about ways to extend learning.
How Summer Slide Can Be Avoided With Real Life Activities
I strongly believe that the best learning happens when it is connected to real world situations and daily life experiences. That is one of the reasons I tend to use projects for some of my assignments throughout the year.
I also think kids need to know why they are learning different skills and concepts. When they are given real life examples, they can see the purpose in what they are learning and it will make more sense to them.
Technology is like a two-edged sword. Although it is great for many things, it also has negative side effects when used too much, especially by kids. It can cause a lack of attention to things happening around them, and it can interrupt potential in-person social connections. Communication and partner activities can also be affected.
I think that the summer time is a great time to unplug and get outdoors. The weather is generally better and the days are longer. There are so many different activities that can be done outside. It is not necessary to take a vacation in order to have fun. There are lots of ways to enjoy learning and doing just where you are.
Tips For Summer Learning
Last year, I focused on the various subject areas and gave some suggestions and tips for how to continue learning during the summer. You can check them out for more ideas.
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Language Arts
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Math
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Science
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Social Studies
Tips For School And Home: How To Help Primary Kids With Social Studies Part 2
Tips For Summer Support: How To Help Primary Kids
I hope you will find some time for yourself as you prepare for the end of school and summer break. Hopefully, you will find some helpful tips here to make summer learning work for your students.
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.