Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tips for Teaching Summer School

Like some of you out there, I am gearing up to teach summer school this year. My school encourages students to attend during the summer and the entire staff attends summer school for the six week program. While in many ways summer school is just like during the school year, I think there are ways to change it up and make it a little different and a change of pace from what normally happens during the school here. This can make it feel a little more like a vacation from the school both of you are used to. Here are some tips I have learned after teaching summer school for a few years.

1. Get away from school.

Field trips are usually easier to do in the summer. Most of the time there are less crowds or groups since school is out and there are more openings available for scheduling. Yet, most places offer the same discounts for school groups the entire year, including the summer. It also gives your students (and you) a break from the usual routine and gives summer school a more special feeling. I always enjoy scheduling a summer school field trip for my students and love knowing they enjoy it.

2. Use technology more often.


Summer school is a great time to try out new technology. Since classes tend to be smaller than regular classes, it makes it easier if you have a limited amount of technology available at your school. One thing I have tried successfully during summer school is incorporating digital photography into my lesson.  I did bring in my own camera and had students take photos relating to our theme (issues in the community) and then they were able to edit their photos using free online photo editing with no registration required. It was a lot of fun and they were enthusiastic about the photo editing. This is a lesson you could easily incorporate into a wide variety of subjects.

3. Do something unusual.


Unusual, unique lesson plans are the perfect thing for summer school. Classes are smaller so it is easier to do something with less students. Also, if you have been dying to try a lesson that requires a large number of new supplies for a class, this would be easier to do with a smaller number of students as well. Also, since classes tend to be for a shorter amount of time and summer school has a much shorter length, it is easy to try something out and if it doesn't go as planned, you can file that information away for next time.

4. Help others.


Community service is very easy to incorporate into a summer lesson plan in just about any subject. Students feel proud to help others and a community service unit is a feel good for everyone involved. For language arts you could write letters to send to the troops. Starting a recycling program or creating a garden could be a fun science project. Students could raise funds and calculate donations for a math project. Interviewing senior citizens at a local nursing home about the past could be a lesson incorporated into social studies. For art I have had students create cards to send to the troops and create a photo collage to raise awareness about a community issue.

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