MAT Blog

Goodbye Summer Slide: 5 Summer Activities for Students

Posted by Marygrove MAT on May 22, 2014 11:47:34 AM

summer_slide-6As anti-boredom fighters and educational advocates, we’d like to offer 5 summer activities for students. Not only will they keep students entertained, they’ll also keep them from taking a ride down the summer slide.

Bookhooks provides students with a forum to craft both editorial (review) and generative (story, poem, drawing, photograph) responses to books they read at home or in school. Once they publish their review, students are able to email them to their friends, family and teacher.

If Bookhooks doesn’t do it for you, Goodreads is another site where students can create their own accounts, build a digital bookshelf, interact with likeminded readers, and review books.

Actual Size Books is one of our favorite book recommendations.summer slide
Inside, students will find complete, detailed, and accurate blueprints to create massive sidewalk drawings with chalk. Using these blueprints, students will be able to create full-scale drawings of anything from the Santa Maria’s deck and a prairie schooner to a Tyrannosaurus Rex or the Statue of Liberty’s Torch.

Each lesson includes a complete lesson plan, vocabulary, and a detailed blueprint.

Wreck This Journal is one of our all-time favorite books. White it is technically a journal, it’s definitely unlike any journal you’ve encountered.  In essence, it’s an illustrated book that features a subversive collection of prompts, asking readers to muster up their best mistake and mess-making abilities and to fill the pages of the book (or destroy them). Students, especially reluctant writers, will love this book!

Take Virtual Field Trips
If your students aren’t planning on doing any traveling this summer, AirPano will allow them to travel all over the world without ever leaving their homes. This site provides users with high-resolution, spherical panoramas shot from a bird’s eye view. In addition to the 200 panoramas, you’ll also find 360 degree videos, a photo gallery and news stories.

So that they can document their travel experiences, you might show students how to create their own travel journals. You’ll find a detailed tutorial for this project here.  

Adopt a soldier
This is a great way for students to not only practice their writing skills, but make a difference in the lives of those who serve and protect.  Both Adopt a US Soldier and Soldier’s Angels are sites where you can adopt a soldier.  Just remember that when you sign up, you’re making a commitment to regularly send cards and care packages. If you’re unsure what you should say, check out these sample letters for ideas. Keep in mind that packages don’t have to be expensive.

Photo credit: B.K. Dewey / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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Tags: summer activities for kids

Stop summer slide in its tracks with this summer reading challenge

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jun 15, 2013 6:00:00 AM

summer reading challengeWe’ve been writing a lot about summer slide the past couple of weeks, but we think there’s good reason for it:

  • In a 2011 analysis published by the RAND Corporation, McCombs reveals that elementary students' performance falls by about a month during the summer.
     
  • The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a collaborative effort among dozens of foundations, lists summer learning loss as one of the three major obstacles to reading proficiency at the end of 3rd grade (Gewertz, 2011). Other studies come to similar conclusions. 

We’ve been racking our brains for activities and summer reading strategies you can pass on to your students (and their parents) this summer. Thanks to Mrs. Phillips, the principal of Chets Creek Elementary School, we’re able to pass on one more called the Summer Reading Challenge.

Last week, Principal Phillips challenged the school to read 100 books this summer (for children reading chapter books, this means a chapter counts as a book). Each student received a reading chart and 100 stars. Children who return the competed chart will earn a special treat from the Principal when they return in the fall.  

Click on the picture below to download a copy of the reading-challenge chart. Please thank Principal Phillips for sharing this cool idea!

summer reading challenge chart2.jpg

 

 

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Tags: summer slide, summer vacation, summer break, summer learning losses, summer activities for kids, summer reads

10 questions to ask before choosing educational summer camps for kids

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jun 8, 2013 6:00:00 AM

educational summer campsAvailable at nearly every price point, educational summer camps are a fantastic avenue for preventing summer slide. Plenty of local organizations (the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club, local parks and recreation, zoos, museums) offer programs that support summer learning, but how can you know which one is best suited for your child?

While parents will obviously have to consider cost and convenience when choosing educational summer camps for kids, we thought they might also benefit from a checklist of questions they should ask before signing up.

10 questions to ask before choosing educational summer camps for kids

  • Does the program offer a balanced curriculum that includes reading, math, cultural enrichment, and recreation?
  • What is the student-to-staff ratio? Will kids have the opportunity to work one-on-one with staff members?
  • Does the program have a mission?
  • How are the days and weeks organized?
  • Will my child have an opportunity to choose some of his/her activities?
  • Does the program assess my child’s learning or track his or her progress?
  • How have students benefitted from the program in the past? Has it positively impacted their academic achievement?
  • What are the qualifications of the staff? What kind of training do they receive?
  • What will my child eat?
  • Is parent involvement encouraged? Am I able to stop by during my lunch hour?
  • Does the program offer scholarships, grants or financial aid?

If you are looking for more ideas on how to keep your kids sharp this summer, check out a few of our recent blogs:Use Travel Journals to Help Prevent Summer Slide and 10 Summer Reading Activities for Struggling Readers.

 

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Tags: summer slide, summer vacation, summer break, summer learning losses, summer activities for kids, educational summer camps

10 Summer Activities for Kids Who Use the B-Word

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Jun 6, 2013 11:25:00 AM

 summer activities for kids

We strongly dislike the B-Word (boring!) and those of us with kids find it ringing in our ears during the summer. As anti-boredom fighters and educational advocates, we’d like to offer 10 summer activities for kids. Not only will they keep students entertained, they’ll also keep them from taking a ride down the summer slide. Please feel free to add any suggestions to our list!

10 Summer Activities for Kids Who Use the B-Word

  1. Plant a garden and keep a journal documenting each plant’s growth. If you are short on space, plant in containers.

  2. Here’s an idea for parents: If your children want to watch TV—even though the weather is beautiful!—cut them a deal: They can watch a movie, but they have to watch it with the sound off and the closed captioning on.

  3. Use iPadio to create a weekly podcast updating friends and family on your summer adventures. iPadio is a free app that allows you to record up to 60 minutes of high quality audio simply by using your cell phone (or landline). Once you’ve recorded your message, you can upload it to Facebook or email it to your friends and family.

  4. Here’s an idea for teachers: Hand out postcards (stamped and addressed) so that your students can tell you about their summer.

  5. Find a picture book without words and write your own story. Not sure where to start? Try The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang. It’s a classic.

  6. Adopt a soldier through websites like, Adopt a US Soldier or Soldier’s Angels. Just remember that when you sign up, you’re making a commitment to regularly send cards and care packages. If you’re unsure what you should say, check out these sample letters for ideas. Keep in mind that packages don’t have to be expensive and if you’re stumped on what to get for your adopted hero, just ask; you can also refer to the website for a list of the most-requested items.

  7. Become a change agent. We’ve always believed that young people have the power to lead even if they don’t know it themselves. Are you passionate about animals? The environment? Does texting-and-driving bother you? Stop by DoSomething.org, a website for young people who want to help make the world a better place, but don’t know exactly where to start.

  8. Become a Geocacher. If you’ve never heard of it, geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online. To learn more about it, stop by Geocaching.com.

  9. Design an alternative book cover for your favorite book, or try writing a short sequel or alternative ending to the book instead.

  10. If you’re looking for a list of books to read over the summer, but don’t know where to start, download Reading Rocket’s free guide to summer reading.

    Surfing for Substance II Download

Tags: summer slide, summer vacation, summer break, summer learning losses, summer activities for kids, summer reads

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