The summer slide (i.e. lost learning during the summer months) is a challenge in any year but untenable in a year of already unfinished learning. Some advance planning will enable teachers to avoid distributing the often ineffective but somewhat obligatory “one size fits all” summer packet. Instead, identify the cause of the unfinished learning and provide students with the differentiated learning plans that meet their needs.
For a reasonable number of students, it’s not the understanding that’s the problem, it’s the remembering. They also likely suffered with online learning that didn’t include the natural repetition of in-person classrooms. For this group, spaced repetition is the key. Create learning plans to review core content multiple times a week with flashcards, practice problems, and gamified quizzes. Make fall easier by including the content that is foundational for the next school year even if it wasn’t fully covered yet. Plan to study/practice multiple times per week throughout the summer. MindPrint Profile: Verbal and/or Visual Memory Low Expected/Skill to Support.
For students who struggled to learn the first time through, try an alternative approach. Most often these students need a more visual alternative and shorter but more frequent sessions. In math, consider sites like Dreambox or ST Math. In ELA, have students read shorter books and use graphic organizers to show their thinking. Allow choice in reading and writing topics to increase engagement. Target 20 minute, high engagement assignments as frequently as possible. MindPrint Profile: Reasoning in Low Expected/Skill to Support, especially Verbal Reasoning.
Many classes just ran out of time to cover the curriculum this year. Summer can be a wonderful opportunity for students to learn how to learn independently. Allow this group to choose their format for learning, e.g. Khan Academy, workbook, online texts. Teachers provide a learning sequence that begins with a review of a topic students mastered. Next, have them learn the new, related topic. To ensure understanding, have them explain the direct connection between the review topic and the newly learned topic. Carefully sequence assignments and offer plenty of choice so students choose to work longer with greater frequency and think about their learning. MindPrint Profile: Memory and Reasoning skills in Expected, High Expected, and Strength.
Most students can thrive in one of these three groups. Watch this space next month for goal setting with students to increase buy-in and follow-through with families over the summer.