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PCEF Excellent Educator Summer Learning Tips

It couldn’t come soon enough! Summer is here, and we all are looking forward to taking a break from at-home schooling. At the same time, many parents want to help prevent the ‘summer slide.’ We know the academic gaps for every student will be larger than ever due to the Coronavirus school building closures.

We asked some of the top experts in PCSD – our 2020 Excellent Educators – for tips on summer learning. Some are serious, some not so much, but all are useful.

Ellen Lowell  Jeremy Ranch 2nd Grade Teacher:

  1. Directed drawing - art is perfect for the summer. Here is my favorite website: Art Projects for Kids.

  2. Math card games and board games like Mancala. 

  3. Write postcards, letters to relatives.

  4. Books on tape - I love them on a drive and the reading level can be higher. 

  5. Watch something grow this summer, plant sunflower seeds.

  6. Learn a star constellation.

Curiosity is the key to lifelong learning. Enjoy the summer.

Craig Roberson  McPolin Teacher Instructional Coach/Coding Teacher:

  1. Go to the library and check out "real" books to read. During the last 3 months, students have been asked to read from screens. In my opinion, it is a great time to put a "real" book in your student's hands.

  2. Practice math. Find a way to practice your math skills. This could be online or with a parent or friend. Perhaps use a deck of cards and develop math problems.

  3. This advice is for parents of our elementary students: Online learning presents many opportunities to explore. Google in particular has many products that people can use to communicate in a similar fashion as email. Many of these options to communicate would not normally be available to our students. This ability to communicate can be a good thing for our students in this challenging time. It is our feeling that there should be adult supervision of this communication. Students may be using Google products such as Chat and Drive to communicate with others. Please monitor your students at home. Open Google Chat, Docs, Meets and Hangouts to monitor your child's computer usage. 

Kara Wales  Parley’s Park 2nd Grade Teacher:

  1. Make learning personal and fun. Find something you are interested in and learn about it. Learning can be done through hands-on exploring or online research and projects.

  2. Read daily!!! Mix it up, read fiction, non-fiction, read recipes, and guides or manuals, anything that keeps your reading going.

  3. Have a learning buddy! Your buddy can be a parent, sibling or friend. Share daily or weekly something new you learned, tried or did. Have your learning buddy share with you what they learned and how they learned.

Heidi Kaiserman Trailside Elementary 2nd Grade Teacher:

  1. Have your child read to a younger sibling or even a stuffed animal.  It is so nice to hear their voice and get in the habit of reading each day.  

  2. Have your child share with someone what they read about or draw a picture to help maintain those comprehension skills they have developed and don't want to lose over the summer.

  3. Keep those math facts alive.  Practice flashcards to keep these skills strong and sharp.  Basic facts help in all areas of math.

Lara Rude  EHMS Library Media Specialist:

  1. Read a good book or re-read a classic.

  2. Listen to an audiobook on Sora or Libby – it’s free through your school library or public library.

  3. Listen to a good podcast as a family.

Tim Jeffrey Treasure Mountain Junior High:

  1. Stop reading Twitter. It's full of bullies and cowards who hide behind fake names.

  2. Go outside and stay outside!

  3. Read ‘Prisoners of Geography’ by Tim Marshall... outside. Maybe in a hammock.

Bonus tip: Go to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Preferably a day game in the bleachers. You won't regret it.

Melanie Moffat  PCHS Content Link and ELL Teacher:

  1. Find a really good book you are interested in. Don't worry about the reading level, or genre just enjoy the book, sit under a tree, relax and read or read to a student that is younger than you.

  2. Take time to enjoy the nice weather, look around you and think about how your education connects to the world around you.

  3. Find something you are interested in, research it, dive in and enjoy learning.

Ed Mulick  PCHS Science Teacher  Sarah and Stephen Doilney Winner Class of 2020 Most Influential Teacher:

  1. Take chances

  2. Make mistakes

  3. Get messy!

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