news & tips
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Summer School Teaching Strategies
For most kids, summer means endless days of freedom to explore, hang out with their kids and get a break from the rigors of school, but if you are teaching summer school, you know that for a few lucky ones, this is not the case. If you are the one who has the job of teaching these young people, these tips and strategies will help.
Try Something New
Kids who have been in school for nine months are acutely aware of the fact that their peers are not. Make summer school more exciting for them by trying something new. Schedule a field trip to a location that they wouldn’t be able to see during the school year. Add some new technology to the classroom. Are you thinking about teaching with tablets? Introduce them in summer school. Keep your lesson plans unique and fresh to avoid boredom, both for yourself and your pupils.
Take the Lesson Outside
Your classroom, especially if it doesn’t have air conditioning, may feel hot and stifling to your students. Let them enjoy the summer by taking the class outside. You can do many lectures outdoors or give the kids a chance to work on their projects or lessons with the fresh air.
Instill Learning Habits
In most cases, students who are in summer school need extra help. If you can, find a way to teach good learning and study habits. This will help them succeed better in the summer school class, and in some cases the results will spill into the following school year. Hopefully, some of your students will not need summer school the next time it comes around.
Get Involved in the Community
Community service opportunities are abundant in the summer. Try to find a way to make your subject matter match one of these opportunities. In a social studies class, let the students do a project that raises awareness about a social issue. In a math class, help them use their math skills to raise money for something.
Shorten the Curriculum
No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to fit an entire semester into one summer school session. Instead of trying and frustrating everyone, focus your curriculum on the most important items you need to cover. You, and your students, will learn more and be less flustered throughout the summer session if you do. Notre Dame even recommends shortening assignments so they can be completed in a more timely manner by students.
Keep a Positive Tone
Set the tone as a positive one at the beginning of the session. Let your kids feel excited about what they will learn. Make sure they understand that there is a lot to cover and you are going to work hard, but have some fun along the way. This tone will help change any negative attitudes you are battling.
Maintain a Flexible Attitude
Life happens, and it seems to happen on fast forward during summer school. You need to be flexible. While you have a short period of time, and thus need a strict attendance policy, you may have to make exceptions for illnesses, major life events and other unavoidable circumstances.
Remember, these tips and strategies are designed to make life easier for you and learning more engaging for your students. Embrace them, and you’ll find that teaching summer school is something you’ll come to enjoy.