Abby’s Corner: Summer Learning Fun

June 24, 2019

Summertime Fun

Happy summer to you all! Hopefully, you have already found some ways to relax. The heat wave that hit El Cerrito was an intense way to start our summer, and my hope is that you all were near a pool or beach on those 100 degree days.

Summer work is already underway at Tapscott and at our new Gatto/TK campus. Teachers have cleaned up and gone home, and some of our new faces are already here and getting a lay of the land, ordering materials, and thinking about how to support kids next year. It happens quickly, and I am getting excited to welcome our transitional kindergarteners to Prospect Sierra in late August.

In the meantime, if you are like me you have made a list of summer reading, eating, and relaxing that must be done! Wishing you a fabulous summer filled with joyful moments.

Worth Remembering: The “Summer Slide” is Real

While summer is super fun, it’s also a time that kids can lose some of the gains they made this past year in both reading and math, also known as the summer slide. Our approach as a school is to encourage parents to find ways that are fun and engaging for your child, and to keep them reading regularly as well as working their math brains this summer. Whatever way works for your child and your family, the goal is to promote lifelong reading and application of math skills in real life! When they buy ice cream, make them calculate the total or figure out how much change they will get back. When there is downtime for the family, have a family reading time for 20-30 minutes. There are lots of ways to “disguise the learning” so kids are still flexing those muscles!

The Tapscott Reading Challenge: We will once again attempt to read 400,000 minutes this summer! I encourage you to carve out some family reading time, and read some great books yourself or with your child this summer! Ideally, kids should be looking at books, listening to stories read aloud to them, or independently reading for 20-30 minutes every day this summer.

Practicing math skills during the summer:  This article from the Harvard School of Education highlights that, on average, kids lose 2.6 months of math learning over the summer. Below you’ll find the article’s suggestions for ways to integrate math into summer activities.

  • Highlight the math in everyday activities. When shopping, help kids calculate change or discounts. When watching a baseball game, talk about what players’ statistics mean. When cooking, try halving or doubling a recipe, and assist kids in figuring out the new proportions.
  • Read short math stories together. Studies have shown that reading math-focused stories to children, such as Bedtime Math books or the Family Math series, can help boost math scores in school.
  • Play math games. Games like Yahtzee, Racko, Blokus, Monopoly, and Set all rely on skills necessary for math, such as counting, categorizing, and building. Even playing with blocks and assembling jigsaw puzzles can help kids learn spatial skills and recognize patterns.
  • Find small ways to practice math at home. While worksheets alone won’t solve the summer math slump, small amounts of practice with basic formulas can help. Problem-of-the-day math calendars are a great way to practice basic math problems on a small scale. Parents can also find resources on Investigations about what types of mathematical procedures they should be practicing with their children.

Additional resources for math at home:

  • The founder of Bedtime Math, Laura Overdeck, describes how and why this series of daily math problems works as a family engagement tool in mathematics.
  • YouCubed resources for parents and apps/games/problems for students
  • YouCubed online course for students. This self-paced course is designed for any learner of math and anyone who wants to improve their relationship with math. The ideas should be understandable by students of all levels of mathematics. Parents who have children under age 13 and who think their children would benefit from some of the course materials should register themselves (i.e., parent’s name, email, username) for the course. The parent may then choose to share course materials with their child at their own discretion.

Worth Reading

Celebrate Pride this month with two great books. I love both of these! Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag is great for upper elementary students and provides some understanding of the flag as well as the local changemaker Harvey Milk. This Day in June is a great picture book, appropriate for all ages, and provides some background information on different aspects of this month’s SF Pride Parade.