School is winding down for the year. The one thing that many educators and administrators are thinking is how do we prepare kids for continued learning over the summer. Losing valuable learning during summer months is real so the more we can keep them involved in learning, the better prepared they are for next fall? The job of equipping students with the skills necessary for the next grade level is anything but easy, but necessary.
While teachers are working on creative ways to limit the summer backslide through extension assignments, parents are looking into tutors, enrichment opportunities, and extracurricular activities to keep their kids involved.
So much work goes into preparing students for this transitional period. We will explore exactly what is involved in getting elementary, middle school, and high school students prepared for the next phase in their lives.
Elementary students make big gains each school year, so teachers and parents must work hard to keep their curiosity ignited and help them develop a love for lifelong learning. Unfortunately, a recent study published in the American Educational Research Journal found that kids in this age group lose anywhere from 17% to 28% of the learning gains they experienced during the previous school year in English Language Arts and 25% to 34% in math.
To limit this summer learning loss as much as possible, particularly for students most at risk of experiencing it, teachers focus on getting students ready for the next grade level before the school year ends. The goal is to keep them learning through summer vacation.
Some of the strategies used include:
- Collaborating with teachers in the upper-grade levels.
- Collecting data on standards mastered and those still needing to be mastered. Communicating this information to parents.
- Creating leveled reading lists and math packets to be completed over the summer. These packets may include other subjects to ensure continued learning.
- Reteaching critical skills needed for the next grade level just before school ends.
- Have students visit their new classroom and meet their new teacher
Teachers and parents of upper elementary school students need to do extra work to get these kids ready for the transition to middle school. Having them visit the new school, learn how to use lockers, understand how to change classes, and meet with the teachers gives these students the confidence as they start a new educational journey. This is all pre-school preparation, so transitions and introductions are smooth.
Regardless of the techniques teachers and parents use to keep kids learning and prepare them for the new school year, the focus should be on the kids. Find ways to spark their imagination, and they will enjoy learning and developing the skills they need to be successful into the future.