- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
So, school is out and your children are home. You have a two month break to look forward to baseball, swimming, playing outside, and enjoying family time. During that time, remember the importance of reading and practicing academic skills. Children who read, and are read to, will increase their vocabulary knowledge many times over children who are not involved with books. According to Dr. Dr. Harris Cooper, professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia research shows that 1-3 months of skills can be lost during the summer break when students neglect to practice their skills in reading and math. Here are a few ideas to keep your child engaged this summer.
- Find a book that fits—selecting the right books from the library, book store, garage sale or bookshelf is important. Your child should be able to read the book independently to comprehend what they are reading. What this looks like is they are only making mistakes or asking for help with 1 in every 10 words or 10 words in every 100. If your child misses more words than this, read with them. Then, when selecting the next book try to select an easier book so they are feeling successful with their reading and comprehending as they read.
- Location is everything—sit beside them, find a fun place, take a book to the pool for pool break take some blankets outside, use a flashlight at night in the yard, the important thing is you are with your child. Not only are you building their reading skills you are also strengthening your bond.
- Discussion grows vocabulary—talk about words that are new to your child. Point out words that are interesting to you. At the end of the book or the chapter go back and pick two words to talk about. Students often are able to read words they do not understand the meaning of but talking about these words increases their comprehension.
- The right questions—during and after reading talk about what is being read. Ask questions about character, setting, and plot. Ask your child what they would do if they were the character. Ask them what the story makes them think about and the connections they made. Ask them to think of another way the story could have ended. The important thing with each answer is to ask your child to show you evidence from the book.
- Reward the work—help your child set goals and provide rewards for reaching them. Many local libraries have reading programs. You can also reward your child with time together, a special activity, or you do one of their chores for them. Here are some links for online reading programs.
- Go old school-- encourage your child to write letters to friends, family, and teachers. Buy special stationary for letter writing or have your child make their special stationary. Think about writing local and national government officials as well as author’s you have enjoyed during your summer reading. There is nothing like getting mail.
- Become an author--check out that publish and encourage student writing. Write poems or short stories and have them bound at a local printing shop. Look through your writing from the school year and revise. Type up final copies of your writing and print them off. Make your own cover and share your books with your family and friends.
- List it all-- List all the things in your closet, make a grocery list for mom or dad, start on that Christmas list, make a list of the things you want to know more about, and list all the people you admire.
- Keep a record—journal your life in a special diary or blog. Keep track of the special things and events as well as the silly everyday things you do. Interview people in your family or neighborhood and compare their experiences to your own.
- Playtime—play card games, board games, or games online. Create your own game with math facts. Teach it to someone younger.
- Treasure hunt— measure things around the house for length, volume, or weight (who can find the longest, biggest, heaviest); find patterns and shapes around the yard (who can find the most unusual), look for numbers in every room of your house (who can find all digits 1-10)?
- Cash cow--save your change each day. Sort and count how much you have. How much can you save by the end of the summer? Plan a special thing to do with your money.
Social Studies and Science:
- Get out and go—visit museums, zoos, or just head outdoors. Look for living and non-living things, solids and liquids and gases, or plants and animals. Find a spot and observe all you can and then after five minutes look for something you have not noticed yet.
- Kitchen science—help cook in the kitchen. Measure and mix to make your own recipes or follow something from online or in a book.
- Bathroom science—blow bubbles in the tub to discover which type of soap or shampoo makes the biggest and best bubbles. Survey your family to find out what toothpaste they like best. Weigh yourself in the morning and evening, when do you weigh more and why?
- Water world—think about where you use water every day. Take a cup outside and “paint” on the sidewalk. Make a graph of how many cups of water each family member drinks in a day.
There are so many fun things to get out and do this summer. Remember to think about using the skills you worked hard to develop during the school year. Have fun and find learning all around you!