My STEM Units

Thursday, May 22, 2014

STEAMing Ahead to Stop the Summer Slide: Activities

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.  Balloon Activities: Make a list of fun activities for your child: go to the library, run through the sprinklers, go see a movie, take a hike.  Your local chamber of commerce website probably has a really good calendar of events.  For instance, our little town has concerts in the park in the summer and a Fourth of July parade.  Those are great activities to add to your list.  Write the list on paper strips.  Blow up balloons and put one strip in each balloon.  You can date the balloons if you want that activity to happen on a particular day or leave the balloons undated for a complete surprise.  Every day, let your child pop a balloon and do the activity in the balloon.

I did this when my husband had his transplant.  He had to be in isolation for 2 months and we had to be separated from our two young boys.  Family took care of the boys, but we wanted them to have a good summer and to keep their minds off worrying about daddy.  I bought movie passes in advance and put those in the balloons.  I bought gift cards for McDonald's (a treat in our house) and put those in the balloons.  You would be surprised what you can fit in a balloon. 

2.  Craft Stick Activities:  Are you familiar with chore sticks?  (Link to Pinterest chore sticks board)  Chore sticks are tongue depressors with chores written on them.  Children select a stick out of a jar and have to do that chore.  They are great for kids who complain about chores.  But, what about writing fun activities on the sticks?

You can use the same types of activities as listed above.  To mix things up a bit, add sticks that say, "trade", "pick two today", or "free choice".

3.   Miscellaneous:  Perhaps the children grow in non-academic ways. Interpersonal relationships with family and friends. Physically, through play and rest. Emotionally, as they mature and get ready for the next grade level. Maybe this is an opportunity for them to explore areas not covered in traditional curriculum-dirt and it's properties, cooking with a parent, etc.  The infographic below has some great activity ideas (click on each picture to view it larger).

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