We didn’t have summer school last year because of no budget for it. I’m glad to say it’s back although there are a few changes. Instead of 3rd – 5th graders, we will have 32 students coming out of kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. We usually always have a literacy focus and that is still part of the curriculum but we are including math lessons. I’m not teaching this summer due to a conflict in schedule but I am on the docket to help with planning. Putting together the schedule and an outline of lessons has reminded me of my days as a camp counselor. We have great staffing – 3 teachers and an aide. Everyone wants to keep the groups small so we can try to individualize our support of the students.
Some of the teachers wanted a schedule that allowed for 4 groups of students moving between 4 lessons a day; reading, writing, math, and projects with a half hour for snack and some exercise. But I really wanted to give the students a longer session for doing projects which will be a mixture of activities including painting, fooling around with gak and goop making, creating puppets and puppet back drops. I know that 30 minutes would do, but I was especially keen to give students more than enough time to mess around, make mistakes and refine work in mediums besides reading and writing.
Luckily the math teacher wanted more time too since one of our goals is to help the students figure out the questions as well as the answers. So I’ve put together a compromise schedule. The students will have 30 minutes of reading and writing each day and will flip between a 50 minute lesson of math or projects on a Mon/Wed and Tues/Thurs schedule. This will also accommodate a session for physical exercise and snack in the middle.
I am also pleased about the field trip we’ll be taking to a local alpaca farm. I have visited this woman before and she does a fantastic job of introducing the students to the animals, their wool, spinning and felting. We will visit her one day for a tour of her farm and then she’s going to come to the school and do some felting.
So along with some of our special traditions like tie-dying t-shirts on the first day and going on a field trip, the students are going to get some new experiences they don’t get on regular school days. I’ll be out taking pictures like I always do and will put together a new slide show of this summer’s fun.