Summer school can be an overwhelming or frustrating undertaking for educators facing disengaged students. Use these 7 survival tips to get ready and prepare students for a summer of growth and learning.
7 Ways to Make Summer School More Engaging
These 7 tips might not be groundbreaking, but keeping stress levels low and boosting fun in the summer school classroom doesn’t have to be difficult. Try one of all of these simple tips this summer and help your students achieve their personal best.
1. Keep it Simple
Do not overwhelm yourself with the need to grade an onslaught of complicated projects and assignments. Try to use your students’ participation in class as your main source for grading; just toss in a few manageable written assignments here and there.
2. Plan Ahead
Do not try to stuff an entire year’s curriculum into only a few weeks; instead, decide what your learning outcomes are and choose your curriculum accordingly. For instance, plan to cover what you consider to be the two or three most important units.
3. Stay Positive
Teaching great content and striving to inspire good learning habits that build your students’ self-esteem may be all students need to succeed in a summer school environment.
4. Find Out Who Your Students Are
By beginning the summer with a group of questions that will define who your students actually are, you extend an olive branch that helps them to feel a sense of community and belonging.
Have your students fill out a worksheet for you that is all about them:
- What interests you outside of school?
- Do you have any hobbies?
- Why do you think you are in summer school?
- What are your academic goals?
- What are your academic strengths?
- What are your academic weaknesses?
- Which subjects interest you the most? Why?
- Which subjects interest you the least? Why?
- What would you like me to know about you as a person?
- What should I know about you as a learner?
5. Interesting and Meaningful Lesson Plans
Your students may need help getting involved and feeling engaged in the summer school environment. Avoid providing them with busywork and, instead, think about present-day connections you could use as a means to inspire them.
6. Let Students Choose from Pre-Approved Reading Materials
Some students who attend summer school may be reluctant readers. Attending classes when their friends and fellow students are on vacation usually adds to their reluctance. Spark their interest by giving them multiple reading material choices with a variety of subject matters.
7. A Punch Card Program Can Add Fun
Each student receives a punch card. The number of punches they receive can be used for “purchases” (or working towards a group reward) at the end of the summer school program.
How the punch card system works:
- Each day a student attends class, his or her card receives a punch.
- If the student behaved during class, participated regularly or met any other criterion you have set forth worthy of receiving a punch, his or her card receives a punch.
More Summer School Inspiration & Ideas
If you’re looking for more ways to make summer school more fun and engaging for your students, be sure to visit the Inspiration & Planning category page to see what’s new. Try a new lesson plan or hands-on activity. You’ll also find suggestions for exciting, Teacher Favorite products from the School Specialty online store.