eLearning Blog: How to Keep Kids Growing Over the Summer
By: Clare Roach, Itzxul Moreno, Jennifer Dees, and Katy Lichon
Educators are navigating unprecedented challenges, and the ENL team has heard from many of you who have questions about English learners and remote learning. We have enjoyed hearing from you during this time of transition to eLearning, and we are wrapping up our blog series with a focus on summer.
We’ve addressed many topics in past posts, including navigating communication, delivering clear directions, inserting language supports, providing speaking opportunities, supporting older siblings, encouraging the use of home languages, and tackling the challenge of math during eLearning. Our final post is about avoiding the summer slide.
Challenge: As a teacher, I am very ready for eLearning to come to an end, but I know my students have so much ground to make up. Some of them have developed great daily habits of working in online learning platforms and I want them to keep it up over the summer. Do you have any suggestions about how to promote this?
This is a great question from a teacher in Chicago, and we suspect teachers all over America are feeling the same way. As parents of 12 children collectively, the ENL team is quick to recognize that the disruptions of camps, travel plans, athletic teams, and swimming pools are leaving parents desperate for ideas about how to keep their children challenged over the summer.
Here are some ways we believe teachers and schools can help families promote academic and emotional growth over the summer.
Ensure Access Over the Summer
Many teachers have been taking advantage of the free trials that online learning platforms have provided in response to the crisis. Many students have developed great rhythms for using them at home. Before the end of the school year, make sure you:
- Give parents a list of all of the logins and passwords their children need to continue to work online.
- Note that most free trials are scheduled to expire at the end of June. Extend select subscriptions through the summer and into next year, if possible. Ask your principal about funding, as this could be a great use of Title III monies or CARES Act funding.
- Direct parents to the specific web destinations where they can purchase a monthly subscription should they want to keep their children learning online over the summer.
Help Parents Create a Plan
There is a unique sense of fear and urgency about summer 2020. Teachers and parents alike are all too aware that their students have ground to make up before school begins again, but not all parents know how to help their children continue learning over the summer. Here are some ideas to make it easier for parents:
- Daily To-do List: Provide parents with a simple, daily checklist of activities that will help their students keep learning. This an example of a daily to-do list we created in English and Spanish that you are welcome to use.
- Promote Your Library’s Summer Reading Program: Most public libraries have wonderful summer reading programs. Get your students excited about these programs and help your parents and students sign up.
- Periodic Check-ins: Teachers have more than earned a summer vacation this year, but periodically communicating with your class and offering a fun challenge or two can be just the inspiration students need to read another book or engage in an informal project over the course of the summer.
- Tune into the ENL team’s podcast where we discuss the summer slide, the impact it can have on ELLs, and strategies teachers can implement to prevent this loss of learning and language over the summer months. The conversation is anchored around the Chalkbeat article by Susan Gonzalez entitled "The not-so-secret ELL summer slide problem that no one has quantified."
Pope Francis says, “In order to educate you must go out of yourselves and be amidst the young, accompanying them in the stages of their growth, standing beside them.” We want to close this series of blog posts by recognizing the valiant work teachers have been doing to stand beside their students and keep them growing amidst the tremendous uncertainty and trials of the past few months.
May God bless you for all your heroic efforts and may God bless the students and families you serve. Happy summer relaxing and learning!
The ENL Team
Clare, Itzxul, Jenny, and Katy