Infusing Fun and Learning Into Summer

Last week I was asked to join Teacher Tech Live hosted by Oscar Staton.   “This is a friendly forum education professionals to discuss public school resources, every day hacks, advice and collaboration.”  They want their “viewers to walk away with something useful they can take back to their classrooms and make their lives easier.”  

The Night’s Topic: The Summer Slide

Summer slide is a term used to describe the loss of student’s skills during their Summer break. Three months off surly means extra time for good parents to drill and practice and infuse their children with extra instruction and skills that will not only prevent skill loss but also push their child ahead for the next school year.

I say don’t!

I think that children can get tons of learning out of Summertime and it can all be fun and here are some of my ideas for infusing fun and learning into your child’s summer.

Let what they want to learn about…

Approximately eight months out of the school year our children get told what they should learn, they should read, they should write about.  What about instead of more of you should learn, they get to be part of what they want to learn.  Summer is a perfect time to focus on keeping those academic skills strong but do so with their passion, their interest and their wants in mind. In education we call it “Genius Hour” or “20% time”. The very simple idea behind it is to let students learn about what they want to learn about.  Ask your child what they want to learn about.  In my house my daughters have already picked: planets, sewing, coding and maker spaces. I have even decided to join them and am going to learn more about Gamification in the classroom. Next,  infuse and make everything they reading, write about, discover, do math on, have experiences with and create around that topic.  Take it one step further and ask them what they want to do with what they learn… create a comic, a picture collage, a movie, write a book, take action in the community or even the internet…ideas are only limited by their imaginations.  I want to power up the game board in my classroom and present on gamififcation next school year, Annabeth (8 years old)  wants a 3D and glow in the dark solar system hanging from her bedroom ceiling and Tricia (9 years old) want to learn to code, use Hopscoth, drive the Sphero hands free through an obstacle course,  learn how a typewriter works and learn how to sew so she can make clothes for her My Little Pony dolls.   Allowing a child to learn what they want to learn about also allows for simple and seamless modifications based on a child’s strengths and weaknesses. It allows for each child to arrive at their end product awesomeness in their own way. Most of all it give buy in. Your child is far more likely to be more motivated and excited to research and create when they pick the topic / idea!  Finally, I know we work better with some routine in our summer. So two days a week will be dedicated to drop everything and create aka our 20% projects/learning. Two days a week we will spend the morning reading, writing, creating and discovering about our topics (some families might work better with a set time each day for this or even a completely different schedule.  Do what works for your family and child).  

20% Time (Genius Hour) Resources:

20 Time in Education Inspire. Create. Innovate

What Is the 20% Project?

Live Binder: Resource for Genius Hour / 20% Time

Apps and Websites for Makers and Creators

Let kids be kids…

Being a kid is full of its own learning experiences.  Time outside to play and be with friends brings with it a wealth of experiences and build important emotional, social and communication skills children can learn from and use in their future. Time spent with family and friends on outings and vacations are opportunities for kids to build amazing memories and experiences that will not only develop their vocabulary, but also provide them with rich experiences that will enhance their learning in the future.

Let’s Play

10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play

What The Research Says About Play

A summer schedule is the perfect chance for a family to slow down.  It is a chance to put the weekly grind on hold and embrace Summer’s easy going nature.  Most of all it is a chance for the entire family embrace a passion, try something new, have fun learning together and all the while… learn!Infusing Fun and Learning into Summer


What fun would all this awesome learning be without being able to share it with others (sorry mom and dad…others other than us are more fun).  Friday I will be sharing out the final details of our (me and my two daughters) Summer Slam!

Think…kids connecting with each other via Google Hangout, learning about each other, learning from each other and sharing all about what they did and learned this summer.  We (me, Annabeth and Tricia…my girls) want to connect with others, learn from others, share and hear from other kids all about their awesome Summers!  If you are already interested email me if you/your child would like to be part of our Summer Slam Google Hangout (carriebaughcum (at) gmail (dot) com) and I will get you the details and /or check back here on Friday to learn more about it!

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