For many teachers, summertime means summer school. Does it have to be a drag? Of course not! It’s summertime, after all. Check out some of our helpful tips for making summer school amazing.
1. Less Is More
Summer school doesn’t last long, so don’t expect to cover a year’s worth of curriculum.
- Decide on the summer’s learning goals.
- Choose the three most important concepts, units, or books (or even focus on short stories and poems rather than novels, etc.)
- Plan a concise and carefully focused curriculum around those goals.
- Organize your materials in advance.
- And then dig in deep to teach those goals richly and completely throughout the quick summer weeks.
2. Simpler Is Better
In the summertime, neither you nor your students wants to be weighed down with assignments or overwhelmed by complex projects.
- Try minimizing written assignments, and keep them short and manageable.
- Participation is a big part of a student’s grade every semester, and it can play an even bigger role in the summer.
- Keep everyone engaged with lively, in-depth discussions that don’t require writing.
- Encourage cooperative learning with research buddies, reading partners, writing pairs, small-group activities, and anything else you can dream up.
- Go outside! If your school allows it, have students read under a tree, or walk around campus for a science lesson, or take a field trip to the library or a museum.
- A great way to lighten summer homework while keeping kids focused in class is by using homework to bargain with them! Tell them that if the work gets done in class, they don’t need to take it home.
3. Positivity Counts
Avoid the trap of feeling like no one wants to be in summer school. Approach each student, and your own work, with a positive attitude, and watch the whole classroom environment come to life.
- Believe in their desire to learn and encourage them to believe in themselves.
- You may find that everyone’s attitude improves immeasurably, because positivity is contagious.
- If you stay flexible while following the rules, this sets a tone of structured fun.
- Benefits like achievement, growth, and self-esteem are all potential results for every single student in the class – and for you!
4. Keep it Real
Summer school students may be struggling with certain skills or may lack motivation. Boring busy-work will only hold those students back. This is your chance to get them excited about learning!
- Take every opportunity to make things meaningful.
- Make every assignment interesting, fun, and doable.
- Spark curiosity whenever possible.
- Avoid tedious tasks, unnecessary difficulties, and boring subjects.
- Connect with topics that engage each specific student when you can.
5. Make it Personal
On the very first day, spend time getting to know your students! The investment will pay off for the rest of the summer.
- Try asking them to write you a private letter, talking about their hobbies, interests, learning style, personality, talents, challenges, and dreams – and their reasons for attending summer school.
- Do some fun things based on suggestions from each student. You’ll learn about them while showing your students you’re excited to be there!
- Do a project with the whole class – an innovative, active project that suits a range of learning styles – so the class gets off on the right foot with a sense of cohesion, confidence, and teamwork.
Try these tips in your classroom this summer! And find out how rewarding summer school can truly be, both for you and for your students.