My STEM Units

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Technology

Summer slide is the phenomenon where students lose concepts learned the prior year.  Experts have estimated that teachers spend over one month reteaching those concepts when school does resume.  Summer slide has also been targeted as a major cause of achievement gap in students. (click on the infographic to the right)

Believe it or not, school will be out in a few short weeks.  Parents and teachers need to have a plan to help prevent summer slide.  Join me in the month of May as I share ideas for parents and teachers to minimize loss and maybe even promote growth! 

An article from RIFAccording to the authors of a report from the National Summer Learning Association: "A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills."


1.  1 equals 1:  You might have avid readers at home and not need worry about this strategy.  But chances are, you have avid gamers and they could potentially spend all day on their devices.  If so, this strategy is for you!  1 equals 1 is the strategy that each minute spent reading, cleaning, playing outdoors, whatever earns one minute of screen time (tablets, TV, XBOX, whatever).  It would be best to set this expectation as soon as possible so as to not hear grumbles later when you try to institute it.  I'll be honest and it works in the opposite at our home (hey, I told you I beg, borrow, steal, and then adapt!).  I let my sons play with their devices for 30 minutes and I set the timer.  When the timer goes off, they know they have to put the devices down and do something else.  Sometimes, it's putting away laundry.  Sometimes, it's playing outside.  Oftentimes, they end up spending more than 30 minutes doing the real activity but I never set the timer for more than 30 minutes.  If you have a Kindle Fire, the Free Time app will do this for you.  Do what works for your family.

2.  Write:  Although your student can write in a paper journal/diary, this post is devoted to Tech, so I'll share some online resources.

  • Novels on Location: Novels on location is basically a huge hyperlinked map.  Each feather on the map represents a novel linked to that location.  As of right now, there are approximately 600 books linked; hardly all the novels ever written, right?  So, have your students create a feather and pin it on the map. Once they have created a feather, students can write a summary of the book. It's a very simple process. Click on this link for a tutorial: Novels on Location.

  • Amazon Customer Reviews: Anyone can post customer reviews of books on  This activity would serve multiple purposes.  One, your student will be reading.  Two, your student will need to synthesize the information from the book into a summary.  Three, your student will type.  These are all big Common Core standards.  By 5th grade, students are expected to type a minimum of 2 pages in one sitting (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.6).  This won't happen overnight.  They need to build up to that stamina.  To  post a review, go to Amazon's help page (click here for the link) and they will guide you through it.  

  • Author a Blog at Weebly:  There are many blog hosting sites on the internet.  I, for one, have two Bloggers, two Wordpresses, one Wiki, and one Weebly.  I have found Weebly to be the easiest for children.  It's simply a click, drag and drop, and type.  Teachers report that the simple fact that students are writing to a public audience, they use better grammar, spelling, and content.  I think it's more intrinsically motivating.  Students are able to customize the background to fit their personality.  They can add pics, video, and slideshows.  Your students could use their Weebly to do book reviews.  Or, they can chronicle their summer.  Imagine the first day of school when the teacher says, "What did you do for summer break?" and your student shows off their Weebly, complete with maps!  To set up an account, go to and register.  

This list is not meant to be exhaustive.  Keep the conversation going and post your favorite tips for preventing the summer slide in the comments below.

STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Reading
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Science
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Engineering
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Math
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Math Part 2
STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Activities

No comments:

Post a Comment