5 Ways to Get the Most from Your Summer Programs

May 15, 2014

Make the most of your summer school and summer library programs with these ideas that will ignite curiosity in students, reinvigorate educators for the upcoming school year, and reduce the summer slide.

1. Try A New Approach

Summer school is a great opportunity to try something new and see how it might work for the regular school year. You’ve probably read about the flipped classroom, but have you tried it? This white paper, Five Ways to Support Flipped Classrooms with Digital Resources, explains how flipping the classroom works and provides lessons for you to get started in elementary, middle, and high school.

2. Close the Achievement Gap

Summer school provides additional time to help struggling learners, avoid learning loss, and reinforce/strengthen key concepts. Many students use summer school to focus on math and science. Look for programs that have ready-made lessons and plenty of teacher support.

Pathways: Science has nearly 100 ready-made lessons tied to middle school topics. Extensive lesson guidance—flexible lesson plans, searchable standards correlations, and worksheets—saves preparation time for teachers.

3. Introduce a New Product into the Classroom or Library

If you’ve wanted to try a new product but didn’t have time during the school year, use the summer session to explore something different with your students or patrons. Teachers and school librarians can collaborate on new ideas and recent successes, or stroll the aisles at ALA and ISTE to see what’s newly available.

One new product that is equally popular in schools and libraries is ImageQuest. One librarian said that this “product has changed my life.” With close to 3 million rights-cleared images from more than 50 of the best collections in the world, educators can trust that students are finding safe, trustworthy content in an advertising-free environment. ImageQuest also ties into the classroom with ready-made project ideas. This white paper, Building Informational Text Comprehension through Visual Literacy, suggests additional ways to engage students in visual literacy skill development at various grade levels.

4. Create Your Own Summer Reading Program

Encourage “Readers’ Choice,” where students select their favorite topics to explore over the summer, such as AnimalsEarth and Space Science, or something beyond what’s covered during the school year, such as Adventure or Extra Curricular Interests.

If you do want a Summer Reading Collection that is more closely tied to the curriculum, there are ready-made collections for all ages, from Early Readers and Middle School STEM to Common Core ELA History/Social Studies Collection and Current Issues Collection (Secondary). Opportunities abound to read across the content areas and for students to become more proficient with informational text. See All Collections.

5. Share Your Top 3 Successes in the Summer

At the end of the summer, share what worked and create a true learning community with fellow educators near and far. Collaboration like this can make next summer’s sessions even better and the dialogue might provide ideas to implement when the new school year starts. Make a video and post it on YouTube, or share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Take a look at these real-world examples for ideas on how to get started.

Enjoy!