Thursday, June 13, 2013

Beating Summer Learning Loss

Studies have shown that students lose between one and two months' worth of academic knowledge each summer (see interesting article from Edutopia). How can you beat this? Here are 8 ways to use Edmodo over the summer to keep students engaged and learning, and for some creative ways for teachers to stay connected as well (for the full article click here). 

1. Create an Edmodo summer camp
2. Get involved with Edmodo reading groups
3. Participate in a concept study (for teachers)
4. Create an alumni group
5. Have students create Science projects
6. Engage your new students (if you already know who your students will be)
7. Host Professional Development Sessions (for teachers)
8. Contact new teachers (for teachers)

The debate of course is, do students and teachers actually need the break? Should teachers keep in touch with students over the summer or is it OK to take the break and disconnect? What are the pros and cons of keeping schools open year-round (the above article from Edutopia discusses this in more depth)?
Would love to hear your thoughts! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What will you do over the summer?

A Bucket List for TeachersWhat will you do this summer? I know I started a list back in January already of "will get to this in the summer"... Here is a great article that gives 10 suggestions for each teacher to do over the summer (for the original article click here):

  1. We all know the temptation to start planning for next year, but take a break from everything teaching for one week. Two. Maybe an entire month. You’ll be better when you come back to it.
  2. Read a book that’s just for grown-ups.
  3. If you have your own kids, let them plan one wandering, wild, carefree day. The kind that’s hard to have when there are piles of paper to grade.
  4. Whether or not you have kids, plan one of those days yourself!
  5. Take this challenge: Go to Target and buy NOTHING for your classroom. Can you do it?
  6. Make an investment in your professional life that matters to you. Maybe that’s taking a course on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about. Maybe it’s catching up on this year’s Newbery winners. Whatever your interests, the summer is time for professional development on your terms.
  7. Make it a goal to connect with a colleague you don’t know very well or with whom you haven’t always seen eye to eye. A summer barbecue or coffee outing is a nice opportunity to get to know one another outside of school walls—and established teacher cliques.
  8. Work on a “feel good file” that reminds yourself about the good parts of your job. Include thank you notes from students, inspirational quotes, that mantra from your favorite teaching professor—whatever makes you think, “Yes. This is why I teach.”
  9. As soon as you get that new class list, reach out to every student on it and say hello. You don’t have to do anything fancy or “Pinterest-worthy”—a simple phone call does the trick. (And may be the most important step in setting yourself up for success next year!)
  10. Remember, summer break is like New Year’s Eve for teachers—grand expectations can lead to disappointment. It’s okay if you don’t read every book, finish every house project or cut out every last decoration for next year’s bulletin boards. It’s okay if you don’t have a traditional summer break or are working a second job, too. The next few months will still be filled with small, simple joys. Look out for them!