Summertime is a wonderful time for children to recharge and relax after a long school year. Unfortunately, it is also a time when many of the skills they’ve gained throughout the year are lost, causing “Summer Slide.” According to the Brookings Institute, Summer Slide means that students will begin the academic year at a lower level than they were when summer began. Skills like reading and math will decrease when they are not reinforced over the summer months. While the downtime is also restorative and important, making sure that your child gets off to a great start in the fall is, too.
Parents want the best for their children, and so do teachers. The first parent/teacher conference is a great time to ask about ways you can support your child. There are so many great resources on the internet these days, which can seem overwhelming. Having a conversation with your child’s teacher may give you the targeted answers you need. There are, however, several concerns that all parents share.The start of a new year is a great time to look at your child's plan for homework, organization, and other routines to help make the year run smoothly.
Have you read Harry Potter? This is one of the first questions I ask my students each year. This summer, the world is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Harry Potter Series. Is Harry Potter the single greatest children’s book series of all time? Well, author J.K. Rowling is the first author to become a billionaire based on writing books. Though notable for this milestone, I believe the series’ greatest achievement is the countless reluctant readers who have become avid readers thanks to the trip through platform nine and three-quarters.
Teachers love to learn, and opportunities for faculty professional development are widely available. For schools, an investment in faculty development pays great dividends because teachers bring their experiences into the classroom on a daily basis. Conferences, online courses, and ongoing training will all deepen a teacher's practice. These opportunities will also affect students by modeling lifelong learning, curiosity, and minds open to challenge. In addition to these options, my school has implemented a very successful program that awards a faculty travel grant each year. Giving a teacher grant money specifically for designated for travel is an excellent way to enhance a teacher's professional development, and to broaden student learning in the classroom.
Books make meaningful gifts. If you’ve ever made a reading recommendation that mattered to someone else, or received a book at just the right moment in your own life, you know how impactful giving and receiving books can be. Luckily, there are many resources to help you find the perfect gift to give this holiday season. For instance, goodreads.com features lists and reviews from fellow book lovers. You can join the site and contribute your own reviews, or just browse for books by genre. If you are looking for a recommendation for your child, you may want to check the reviews on commonsensemedia.org. Books are reviewed by age, content, and even the protagonist's character traits.
Do you believe that summer reading helps or harms a child’s desire to read?
This is a debate going on at schools across the nation, and both sides make some strong points. Even though my school does assign reading, we discuss its purpose each year as the school year draws to a close.There are many factors to consider, including how to choose a book that the majority of students will enjoy, whether to direct the students to a list of books or assign one for the entire group, whether to include a writing element, and finally, whether to assign reading over the summer at all.
Curiosity vs. Intelligence
Research has shown that a person’s Curiosity Quotient (CQ) is as important as their Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Most classroom teachers would agree that qualities like curiosity and work ethic tend to outweigh intelligence in student performance. But how can parents help their children to develop curiosity? It turns out there are several ways. One is through play. By allowing children the space and time to interact with one another, they will develop both curiosity and imagination. Another is through reading. Books can take students on a journey to foreign places, throw them into the middle of a mystery, or surround them with a dystopian world. Books can help students discover people who are like them, or who are very, very different. Reading can lead to a deeper interest in the world as it is, and help students imagine how it could be.
Kindergarten students learn to share, and as adults we try to remember those early lessons. Middle School students also love to share, but they enjoy sharing information. A group of sixth grade students was asked to review videos on the site TED-Ed and to recommend their favorites through a class blog. Students previewed videos here, and shared their favorites with their peers. Find some student recommendations below:
Much has been written about the French school lunch program, which is considered to be superior to the usual American school lunch. Though many American school lunches are underwhelming for students, at Montgomery School, an independent school in Chester Springs, the family style lunch program is considered part of the curriculum. The food is prepared in the school's kitchen, and as they do in France, faculty members sit with the students, and the students take turns waiting on the table and doing other lunch-time chores.
Ideally, education is a partnership between a family and a school. There are many ways to strengthen that relationship, and clear and respectful communication is a necessary component. Parents can also help to reinforce classroom learning by encouraging children to share and apply what they have learned at home. When a child is enthusiastic about learning, they not only retain information better, they also expand their skills as they find new ways to use what they have learned. Classroom lessons that feel relevant to “real life” outside school tend to stick with students longer. Applying lessons at home can also be fun. Most importantly, being involved with your child’s learning can strengthen family bonds.