The progress that struggling students make over the school year can be rapidly lost once summer break arrives. Summer learning loss is a well-documented phenomenon that can cause students to lose an entire month’s worth of classroom learning over the course of summer vacation. Low-income students and students with disabilities, who already tend to struggle more in school, suffer even greater learning loss than their middle-income and non-disabled peers.
Teachers can inform parents about summer
learning loss, but unless families are equipped with the tools to keep kids
learning over summer break, that information won’t have an impact on students’
educational progress. Here’s what teachers can do to support summer learning
before the school year ends.
Assessing Student Needs
In order to best support students, educators
need to understand their individual challenges. A formal evaluation is the best
way to unearth the reasons why a student is struggling in school.
Many parents believe that evaluations are only
for students with learning disabilities or other special needs, but evaluations
can assess a wide variety of issues that interfere with a student’s learning.
One example of an evaluation that doesn’t
focus on learning disabilities is the Functional Behavior Assessment. An FBA identifies behaviors that are interfering with
a student’s success. Since misbehavior in school can be a symptom of
educational problems, the FBA is a critical step in developing a Behavior
Intervention Plan that enables a struggling student to thrive. However, since
an FBA uses in-class observation to form its assessment, it’s critical to start
the evaluation process before the school year ends.
3 Tech Solutions to Prevent
Summer learning shouldn’t stop at the reading
list. Today’s students are more technologically engaged than ever, making these
tech-based learning solutions a great choice for summer learning.
There are countless free educational resources
online, but parents don’t always know where to look for high-quality
educational material. Teachers can simplify summer learning by providing
parents and students with a list of recommended educational websites.
These kid-friendly websites are perfect for
Students with a library card can download audiobooks for free from their local library, circumventing the need to get rides to the library over summer break. Audiobooks can also help struggling readers by improving comprehension without the frustration and anxiety that often come from sitting down with a book.
Teachers can also use audiobooks to introduce students to grade-level material. Giving students who tend to lag behind an early introduction to curriculum material can increase confidence and participation in next year’s classroom. Inform students and parents on how to access free audiobooks and provide grade-level-appropriate audiobook recommendations.
Students are less eager to learn when it feels
like work. But when teachers turn education into a game, students play
enthusiastically without realizing they’re learning too.
CodeMonkey’s courses are the perfect example
of a gamified learning experience. As students complete challenges in Coding
Adventure, Game Builder, and Dodo Does Math, they’re learning real-world coding
skills and developing a foundation in computer science concepts.
CodeMonkey is just one of many options for gamified learning. There’s a wide variety of educational video games, including free games that can be found online. Educators who want to track progress and design custom learning experiences can use a web-based gamification platform like Classcraft, Gradecraft, 3D GameLab, or Virtual Locker to design, manage, and assess students’ summer learning.
Preventing the summer slide is in the interest
of teachers and parents alike. However, it’s educators who have the know-how
and the resources to support summer learning. By arming students and parents
with the tools they need to stay academically engaged all summer long, you can
give struggling students a leg up on next year’s learning.
Image via Unsplash
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