Another excellent guest post by: Melissa Crossman!
Students lose as much as three months of learning during the extended summer break. Free from the discipline of the classroom, students experience what many educators call “summer brain drain.” While year round school could eliminate this loss, most schools follow a traditional September to June calendar year. What can parents, teachers and students do to combat summer brain drain? Working as educational communities, they can produce an effective plan of action that keeps a student’s skills current and fresh. In preparation for school in the fall, six tips can start students on the path to academic success.
|Brain Drain (Photo credit: What What)|
Flash cards refresh essential skills students learn in any subject. As students review the states and their capitals, multiplication and division facts or Chemistry elements and the signs, they develop fluency in these areas. Parents prepare flash cards by copying important information onto laminated note cards. Students reinforce and material and develop fluency as they quiz siblings or try to stump their parents during car rides to the pool.
Printable worksheets, online math games and board games cultivate math fluency. For interested parents and students, teachers willingly provide worksheets that engage students at home. In addition to educational online games, board games like Monopoly or Life help students develop math skills as they serve as the banker and face real life financial situations. LIkewise, students can calculate the tip after eating at a restaurant or budget the family's amusement park adventure. Math skills are typically lost more quickly than reading skills so any extra math assistance gives learners an advantage in fighting summer brain drain.
Contemporary Digital Options
More than entertainment, video games help students retain important skills. Memorization, strategy and problem solving are a few essential elements in a game that fight brain drain while a child plays. Edutainment involves games that educate students while keeping them entertained, and many video games fit this description.
Online classes provide excellent resources for students who wish to stay mentally agile during the summer break. Full-credit classes, cyber classrooms and online tutors motivate and engage students while helping them retain educational skills.
Traditional letter writing helps students practice their organizational skills and critical thinking. Instead of writing letters by hand, children could write a few sentences in an online journal every day to document their summer activities. Typing emails to friends or relatives also provides mental exercise for students of any age, as long as they type proper English rather than texting shortcuts.
Reading is Still Fundamental
Reading remains one of the most popular summer learning activities. Students choose books that interest them as they read aloud to a parent, grandparent or stuffed animal and listen to books read to them. Local libraries often offer supplemental programs to encourage reading. Reading road signs while traveling for vacation or menus at mealtime offer additional summer reading practice.
Working as a community to engage students throughout the summer allows parents, educators and students to fight brain drain. With video games, worksheets, flash cards, writing, reading, and online classes, the community combats the loss of knowledge during extended school breaks. This strategy ensures that students can find success in the classroom when school resumes in the fall.