child summer school summertime

It’s summertime and the living’s easy. Well, for the most part! Some teachers and students are gearing up for summer school! If you are an educator brainstorming summer school ideas, you know that in some cases, summer school serves as an enrichment opportunity, while for others, it’s more of an opportunity for struggling students to get up to speed for the upcoming year.

For teachers and school leaders who are getting prepared for summer sessions, you’ll want to step into instruction with your plan ready to launch from day one. Looking for summer school ideas? Here are some things to ask yourself and then keep in mind to have an awesome summer school session.

1) How will you track student progress?

There are a number of ways to track student progress and during summer you might want a way that is quick, easy, and provides instant feedback since your summer session may only run anywhere between 2 to 10 weeks. Have daily check-ins to make sure students are picking up the concepts and ideas they should be making progress on.

Teachers who have used Edulastic for summer programs benefit from instant feedback. The immediate data and reports provide insight that teachers can use to guide instruction on a daily or weekly basis.

At Egg Harbor Township, teachers were able to use online assessment to track student progress during their short, 12-day summer school program. Dr. Charles Fredericks, Supervisor of State and Federal Programs at Egg Harbor noted, “Our new superintendent wanted to get data quicker, so we decided to do these summer school assessments online. Our goal was getting data into the hands of the teachers within 48 hours.” Click here to read their summer school success story.

2) How will you make the most of the limited (and precious) summer instruction time?

Maybe you are working from a plan that’s been used every summer. Maybe you are looking at what the students need help with and are developing your courses based off of that. Either way, as most instructors know, teaching requires flexibility. Because different students learn in different ways and at different paces, at times you may find yourself scrambling to evaluate how students are doing so you can adapt your in-class instruction.

In some instances, you might find yourself trying to peer over the shoulder of a student who is working through problems on a worksheet.  With Edulastic, you no longer need to peer over your student’s shoulder. Just open up the app on your computer or a tablet and you can see the real-time submissions. This way when a student answers C instead of B on a 5 NBT division question, you can stop over to that student’s desk and ask them to work through the problem a second time.

3) Are there ways to make the learning fun?

As we continue to explore 21st-century learning, the question “how can we make this fun” consistently arises. From gamification to outdoor classrooms, to project-based learning, there are many different approaches! Of course, depending on your subject and resources, there are many ways to spice up learning. For many students, just using edtech is a fun experience!

The thoughts of being in school during the summer aren't exactly the best. So, why not make learning fun!
Not everyone dreams of being in school over the summer… so, why not make learning fun!

Over the summer, consider making instruction a little lighter and a bit more fun. After all, it’s easy to get caught daydreaming about the beach or eating ice cream with friends when you’re stuck inside on a beautiful 75 degrees and sunny day. Make school cool. Make it easier on students not to wish they were somewhere else! Brainstorm and incorporate ways to make the instruction as engaging as possible.

When using Edulastic, instructors can include video, audio, images, and other multimedia and features found in the text editor to touch up assessments and make them more exciting. Multimedia can be a great hook for catching students’ attention, especially when introducing a new topic!

Edulastic users who have Teacher Premium accounts can use the “Present” mode to anonymize student names and hold friendly competitions. Create a separate class for these types of fun group activities, then split the class into 5 groups and have one student account for each group. From there, challenge students to work together to complete a short quiz. Project the Assessment report page in “Present” mode and they can see their group progress appear as they move through each question for an exciting and friendly competitive challenge. What’s gonna work? Teamwork! (Wonder Pets reference anyone?)

4) Do you consider DOK when constructing questions for students?

Ease students into deeper thinking. Consider DOK level of questions when presenting students with a new challenge or assessment so you can start with lighter DOK level 1 or 2 questions and end with more challenging DOK level 3 or 4 questions that ask them to dig deeper. This strategy could help students avoid feeling brain fried from their summer school session.

Above all, knowing the full through process that students need to respond to your prompts can ensure that you are providing students with the proper level of instruction. If you aren’t already, familiarize yourself with DOK so you can accurately construct and evaluate student work this summer. While you are at it, why not take a look at the best ways to craft assessments or how long to make your assessment. Apply these concepts and you’ll craft impressive and effective assessments.

5) Are there ways you can pair instruction with a physical activity?

It’s summertime, and again, students would rather spend their time being anywhere but school. Summertime is typically a time to run around and play. With this in mind, are there ways to get students moving during instruction?

Harness the power of the brain and body connection to help make learning stick and to better engage students. Finding ways to treat instruction like an extracurricular activity can better engage both students and teachers. Plus, research shows that pairing physical activity with lessons can boost test scores.

Ideas for applying these concepts might include:

  • moving debates to get students thinking, talking, and out of their chairs
  • asking students to convey new concepts through art, a song, or dance
  • hands-on engineering projects that encourage students to build solutions
  • participating in citizen-science to bolster STEM topics and real-world applications

Whichever way you go, give students(and teachers/yourself!) some time to see the sunshine or stretch the legs whether indoors or outdoors. It’s these types of summer school ideas and activities that spice things up, can get creative juices flowing, and are often more exciting and memorable.

Share your summer school ideas on Twitter and tag @edulastic!

As you plan out your summer school ideas and activities, let Edulastic do the tracking and provide you with instant reports. Will make instruction more efficient, effective, and opens up more time for summer school fun! Log in or sign up now!

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This article was originally posted on May 25, 2017 and was recently updated on May 25, 2022.