Summer learning this year will be more critical than ever. So we asked a group of Savvas authors and experts in their fields to provide ideas to help educators maximize the short window of time they have to accelerate students' learning this summer.

Ideas and Strategies for Math

Start with Building Connections, Community, and Engagement
Zachary Champagne ›

As we think about building inclusive and welcoming summer programs for our students, I believe there are two foundational ideas that must exist to help students move forward: 1) Make sure the time is of high interest and fun. 2) Focus on connection with and among students in spite of the fact that they’ll only be together for a short amount of time. Ultimately, we want to build summer programs that are enticing for students. This not only will help with buy-in, but more importantly, will help students accelerate their learning.

Build Confidence in Math Learning One Objective at a Time
Juanita Copley ›

Trying to be “better at math” is an overwhelming idea. This summer, assign your students a small but specific objective for each of them to learn every day. For example, one student’s objective could be to learn eights in multiplications. If they see they can learn one thing at a time, it will build confidence and make math learning more joyful. At the end of the day, ask them to present the idea that they learned to an audience. Being able to explain what they learned to others helps them retain the idea. Have them keep a journal of what they learned to bring with them into the next year.

Teachers as Warm Demanders
Robert Q. Berry III ›

Teachers support students’ sense of agency in the values they communicate, such as having high expectations and showing care for learners. Warm demanders overcome the passivity of low expectations and a low sense of agency through care. Once teachers know and understand their students’ identities, histories, experiences, and cultural contexts, they can connect these meaningfully with mathematics.

Bring Wonder, Joy, and Beauty into High School Math Instruction
Eric Milou ›

High school mathematics can potentially cultivate in students a sense of wonder, beauty, and joy — and doing so is an important but often neglected purpose for teaching mathematics. Let’s use summer learning to show students the wonder, the beauty, and the joy of mathematics, and that mathematics helps us understand the world.

Teach Math in Context Using Theme-Based Units
Juanita Copley ›

Often students see math as “stuff” that really isn’t important to their daily lives. I found that if I teach math in real-life contexts, leveraging the students’ previous experiences, and integrating it with other content areas, e.g., science or art, students were actually excited about math. They see a purpose to their learning. An example of a theme would be restaurants. You can teach a variety of mathematical ideas like fractions and decimals through shopping for food, cooking, selling, sharing the food by advertising, etc.

Ideas and Strategies for Literacy

Using Media Literacy in Summer Learning
Ernest Morrell ›

Help students develop their analytical skills by engaging them in deep readings of the media they consume. Some of my favorite activities include students selecting their favorite songs and analyzing them for content and themes. What do these songs say about you? If you could change any of the lyrics to make them “better,” what would you do? I also ask students to analyze the video games that they play. What does it mean to be a hero? Who is cool? We can ask students to analyze commercials and digital advertisements as well.

Four Key Elements for Reading and Writing Success
Kelly Gallagher ›

When planning summer instruction for your ELA students, remember that the ultimate goal is to develop the reading and writing habits needed for success outside of school, either in college and/or in work. Incorporating the following four key elements into your instruction will help students develop those habits, building better readers and writers: 1) Increase the volume of their reading and writing. 2) Build choice into the curriculum. 3) Model the skills employed by excellent readers and writers. 4) Provide meaningful and timely feedback while students are acquiring these skills.

What Can You Learn with a Smartphone?
Elfrieda H. Hiebert ›

Books are often viewed as competing with smartphones, but smartphones can be used to gain knowledge and proficiencies in many domains, such as music, art, cinema, architecture, history, botany, interior design, geography, and so on. Using smartphones to discover and learn about new topics doesn’t happen naturally. So by setting the task and structure for learning about something of great interest to students — a passion project — teachers can support their students’ learning over the summer.

Encourage Responsibility for Learning Through Choice Reading
Ernest Morrell ›

The summer is an ideal time to let students choose what they would like to read. If there is a summer reading component to your summer learning plan, offer one or two common texts and let students choose the others. I like to have assignments that encourage responsibility for learning, but are also short and fun (e.g., creating a soundtrack of contemporary songs to accompany a text students read or writing a media trailer to promote the book). I would also encourage students to read genres that are new to them (e.g., YA fiction, graphic novels, mysteries, fantasy novels, etc.).

Use Journals to Help Students Understand Themselves and the World
Elfrieda H. Hiebert ›

Encourage students to use a journal to write down what they observe over the summer. This is a great way to document their growing awareness of the world. Observations can include encounters with animals or people, sights glimpsed through a window, or unusual signs or slogans. Additionally, follow-up should be part of any summer learning project. When school starts again, teachers might invite students to pick a snippet from their journals that describes their favorite part of the summer break.

To get an in-depth look at these ideas, download the free ebook: Ideas and Strategies to Help Teachers Move Learning Forward This Summer.

In Case You Missed It

We explored why the Science of Reading is the secret to successful early reading instruction. Read the blog.

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