June 13, 2016

10 Ways that Teachers AND Students Can Learn During the Summer

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Summer is a time for relaxing & recharging but it can also be a time to continue learning. Check out some ways that both teachers & students can continue to learn during the summer!

Teachers


1. Professional Development opportunities

Most of us have to do at least one workshop, conference, institute, webinar, etc. during the summer. If you get the option to pick what you attend, obviously you should make sure you attend something you are interested in and feel will benefit you in the classroom ultimately.

2. Reading
Make time this summer to read all those educational books that you don’t have a chance to read during the school year. This is also a time to find great books to have your students read or to just reference in your lessons.

I am in the process of reading several professional development books. You can read more about these HERE. But I am also reading some books that I am interested in using in my classroom. I will be teaching one 10th grade U.S. History course next year and I absolutely LOVE using historical fiction in the classroom. I am considering using at least one (maybe more) of the books below in this class.




3. Vacations
Go on vacations that will enhance your classroom. For example, one of my co-workers left the day after graduation going to Europe. She couldn’t wait to see some of the amazing places she talks about in her literature classes. She was so eager to take photographs and accumulate stories that she could share with her students next year, in the hopes of creating greater engagement in the topics. From just what I have seen of her photos on Facebook and talking to her about the excitement of the trip, I have NO DOUBT these students will get lots of opportunities to be engaged in the content area.

Check out a blog post by Tracy Willis of Wild Child Designs about her experience visiting Giverny in Northern France and how she brought it back to use in her own classroom. Click HERE.

4. Local attractions
Check out great places for field trips or places to find guest speakers. Most areas have those “hidden treasures” that people in the community just take for granted and don’t really pay attention to anymore. Check out your city or county’s website as if you were a tourist. Most areas have a “Things to do in” page in which it will tell you about things you might want to try in the area. If you have never visited these places, take an opportunity to do so. You might find some really good places that you might want to use as field trips or meet people you could ask to come to your school and speak to your students about their expert knowledge in a content area.

5. Watch movies or television programs that relate to your content area.
As a history and government teacher, I know this is a pretty easy one for me. Hollywood is always coming out with a new movie or television show discussing a historic event or the political realm. However, literature teachers should find it fairly easy to find movie adaptations of books (even though the book is ALWAYS better). Science teachers might want to check out Flickclip for suggestions on movies that use Science. Math teachers, sorry, but you are on your own here! If you know of some, please leave them in the comments below!

Students

1. Vacations
Parents, I suggest that you find ways to have your child or teen learn on vacation. It doesn’t have to be a week-long trip all about learning but taking a few hours out of a busy vacation to go visit an art museum, science center, or historical site is very beneficial to children. It helps them to see what they are learning in real-life. Any teacher will tell you that real-life connections truly help students understand concepts better. If your child has a specific subject they don’t like or struggle with, I encourage you to find a way to show them the interesting side of this subject through vacation. Check out the website of the area you are visiting to see what learning opportunities are present in the area.

2. Library
Encourage your child to be a part of your library’s summer reading program. Most city libraries offer one for younger kids but some offer programs for teens as well. Check the library calendar to see what opportunities they offer because some even have book clubs for older students. If they don’t, encourage your teen to start their own! They could start an online book club, do video book reviews, write blog posts, etc. Teens love using technology so why not have them use it to promote reading!

3. Local attractions
Check out some cool attractions in your own backyard. As I mentioned above in the teacher list, we often neglect the attractions in our own city. Encourage your child or teen to check out area sites and see what they would like to visit. They might not realize just how much is in their area to do.

4. Virtual Field Trips
Even if you can't take a trip this summer, your child can still explore the world and learn. Virtual Field Trips are a new thing that many teachers are using in the classroom; however, they are available anywhere you have Internet access. Students can go online & discover all sorts of places. Check out the fantastic list of online Virtual Field Trips that TpT seller, Christopher Mitchell, is offering as a freebie in his store. Click HERE.

5. Religious education
To encourage your child’s spiritual education, summer is a great time for them to participate in all that the churches have to offer. Summertime is when most youth and children’s groups do camps, summer programs (like Vacation Bible School), & mission trips. These are fantastic ways for your children and teens to learn and grow in their faith. Additionally, if your child is not having a daily devotional time, I suggest you use the summertime to encourage this. There are devotional books for children as young as preschoolers.

Check some of these out below (affiliate links included):



I hope everyone has a happy, safe, & educational summer ahead of them! 

~April 

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