Each summer I plan creative ways to keep my students reading and writing, and each year the participation is less than I anticipated.
What is it that causes this lack of participation?
- Do kids forget?
- Do parents forget?
- Do kids need the help of parents?
- Or, is the competition of summer just too high?
This summer, I found myself ready to plan for summer again, but to help combat the pitfalls and competition of the season, I decided I needed to amp it up!
The All-Inclusive Friend and Family Plan:
I invited my first-grade teaching partners, Marie and Carolyn to join me, and as a team, we created and launched the first Sizzling, Summer, Slam (Slam)! Working as a grade level would increase the possibility of students connecting with friends over the summer and the motivation to participate!
We created the Sizzling, Summer, Slam all-inclusive package!
To create excitement and to help parents understand the power of the opportunities we were creating, we hosted a family night complete with door prizes. Parents, students, and siblings filled our media center. Students sat on the floor with tablets, iPads, and iPhones clicking away as we shared the possibilities within the Sizzling, Summer, Slam!
Parents listened intently as their students explained how to write a blog post, add a picture or video to Padlet, and how to decide which app to use to create and share their work. Kids oohed and ahhed as they clicked on links to local museums, science centers, and historical locations in our city.
We wanted our families to know we respect their summer family time and learning can go along perfectly!
Connecting, Learning, and Fun:
We know kids love to create and share their learning. So, we included familiar and new apps for exploring information along with apps that will allow the kids to express their learning in creative ways! Of course, we all know how much audience motivates writers, so we added a variety of places where kids could share their summer experiences and connect with their audience!
To keep the Slam in the minds of students and parents throughout the summer we had a glossy poster printed on tagboard. The poster includes a photo of all three first-grade classes, a photograph of the Slam page, and QR codes to the Slam page on our class blogs.
So now it’s summer! I am checking blogs, the Padlet, and sending messages to families via our class Twitter and Facebook pages. I am beginning to see traffic.
I am persistent, and I am confident the kids will come!