It is such a typical teacher “thing” to be looking towards those luxurious days of summer and yet worrying about the loss of learning for our students! We scramble to choose just the right books for our summer reading lists, we scour the internet for great websites and appropriate games to recommend, and we labor over report card comments that reflect what we see as opportunities for individualized summer skill reinforcement. All this, and all the boys see are fishing holes, swimming pools, and air-conditioned movie theatres!
As parents, I know that you also think about the continued learning experiences for your son over the summer. Money has already been shelled out for camps perhaps, or there are plans for a first-day-of-summer trip to the bookstore for great summer hammock reading. This week I was able to talk with our K-2 boys during Morning Meeting about next year’s makerspace in the lower school. I defined a makerspace as more idea and less “class”. They looked excited at the possibility of future “tinkering” (they ALL knew the meaning of the word not surprisingly J). I followed this message by reading the book, What Do You Do With an Idea” by Kobi Yamada. It tells the story of one boy’s adventure with an idea and ends with the notion that one small idea can change the world. Assad asked me how this could be, and I mentioned that one person who was worried about a friend’s poor health could work and work on an idea until it could become a cure for their illness. Afterwards, I mentioned that rather than focusing on what really big things we could do with our ideas, we would just focus on the ideas as something we could look at from all angles, and change and change again, and throw away, and start over, and start over again, and improve, etc.
I encourage all of our boys to think about ways to try this out over the summer. Ideas can be explored in the sandbox, in the garage, or anywhere time and space allow. Technology can become part of the idea – or not! Hopefully they will bring thoughts and experiences from summer play to our makerspace next fall.
Summer learning can take many forms. As a classroom teacher, I used to advise parents to focus on reading experiences and games, especially the kind of games that are played as a group and require cooperation and strategy. Much has been written about value of play. If you are interested I highly recommend the book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, by Stuart Brown. According to Brown, even adults need “play” to function best both physically and mentally.
I hope summer playtime with your sons inspires their continued learning but also invigorates both of your souls!
Hopefully my communication with you each week encourages “talking points” to inspire weekend conversation with your son or sons. Here are some “talking points” for this weekend.
- If you are in Kindergarten- What was it like having lunch with the girls’ school across the street? How did your car hold up in the Kindy 500?
- If you are in Pre-First- What animals did you see at the zoo? Were there any surprises?
- If you are in First Grade- How awesome was it to get a tour of Camden Yards? What did you add to your personal baseball card? What did you like best about performing in French class for parents last week?
- If you are in Second Grade- How is your research coming for your Immigration writing? What are you planning on doing with your big buddies before the end of the year?
- If you are in Third Grade- What are you including on your Lewis and Clark interactive map? What apps are you using for your project?
- If you are in Fourth Grade- How did the Math Fair turn out? Were you happy with your game choice? Did you have a favorite game?
- If you are in Fifth Grade- What was your role for Colonial Day? What details did you include in your speech ? Did you agree with the judging of the debate winners?