Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Blog Party Kick Off Hop:Writing Over the Summer

Welcome to my blog and to the summer blog party!  A group of us from The Reading Crew are hosting a summer-long linky party where we will share ideas for literacy instruction. Today's kick-off hop features a FREEBIE for you at each stop along the way to use with your own children or to share with parents of your students to prevent the "summer slide". With a variety of literacy resources, it is our goal to help you prevent the "summer slide" in your children or students.  Then, look for the first linky party next Wednesday!

If you have not started from the beginning of the hop, click the button below to start from the beginning to ensure you receive all your freebies! 

What is the "Summer Slide"?
Although it sounds like a fun amusement attraction, the summer slide is actually something very serious!  This phenomenon was studied extensively by a group of researchers at Johns Hopkins where they examined students from Baltimore Public Schools.  In 2007, a study showed that low-income students' reading skills dipped during the summer months.  On the average, students learning loss falls by about a month during summer, but is worse for lower income students.  In addition, summer learning loss is cumulative and creates an achievement gap over time, according to a comprehensive analysis by the RAND corporation in 2011.

Many teachers can attest to a summer learning loss in their students when they begin the school year.  Many teachers spend a significant amount of time at the beginning of the school year reviewing and reteaching.  For some students that lose two or more months of academic learning, they struggle to regain what they have lost and fall further behind.

So, we know that the "summer slide" is real and very serious, but there are many fun and creative activities to do at home that can combat the academic learning loss. 

I have chosen to focus on writing for this blog hop for two reasons. One, my experience as an English Language Arts teacher and reading specialist has shown that many students do not write at all over the summer and find it very difficult to resume academic writing when school begins int he fall.  And two, for my own children, writing is something that they are not always motivated to do on their own.  All three of my boys are avid readers, but not avid writers!

To "sneak" in some writing over the summer for my eight and nine year old sons, I have created activities that are authentic and real-world writing tasks. Some of the ideas take only a few minutes while other ideas are more involved.  My goal is to keep them writing consistently over the summer.

 Here are a few that we will complete over the summer:

§Make lists- grocery list, wish list for a summer birthday, list of games to play at a summer picnic or party
§Post Cards- write and send to friends or relatives while on vacation
§Write letters to friends and relatives over the summer
§Keep a daily journal- record small and big moments
§Daily journal prompts- keep in a notebook or folder
§Make a lap book to remember your vacation
§Send a thank you card- very easy if you have a summer birthday!
§Keep a reading journal- record the title, author, a plot summary, drawings, a critique of the book
§Create your own recipe
§Create a menu for the day or week
§Make a scrapbook using photos you take.  Write a caption under each picture.

Capture Summer Memories

My FREEBIE for you is a little booklet for kids to create to document special trips, activities, vacations, as well as big and small moments over the summer break.  This little booklet is very flexible and can be used with children in first through 4th grades. By writing captions and a brief description for pictures taken over the summer, students will be using their writing muscles!

How to use:  

Simply print the pages to make the booklet.  A cover page is included (see picture above) that students can color. This coloring project is a work in progress for my rising third grader.  I used a three hole puncher and then we used pipe cleaners to bind the book together.  

The first page of the booklet is a "Bucket List" for the child to complete.

My middle son struggles with writing, but he was very excited to work on this.  It also gave me an opportunity to help him with adding details and being specific.

The next page is the flap page.  You will want several copies of these pages to use as a mini photo album.  This allows the child to capture their summer memories from their bucket list or their "small moments" that they want to remember.  A suggestion:  Copy the flap pages on card stock for extra durability.

In this example, my son wanted to use the pictures I took during our trip to the Gettysburg Battlefields last week.  I printed them using my printer on regular copy/printer paper.  Then, he glued the pictures on the outside of the flaps.

On the inside of the flaps, he started to write a memory from the picture.  He could have written a caption, what he learned, or why he had fun, just to name a few ideas.

I plan to print out a picture or two each week to add to his memory booklet.  By the end of the summer, he will have a visual and a written keepsake of his summer!

Plus, I also included two stationery sheets for you to add to the booklet for students to write a story, a letter, or a journal entry. 

 Click here to download your freebie!

Enjoy making and capturing those summer memories!  Be sure to click the button below to visit Jennifer's blog which is the last stop in our blog hop.  Plus, make sure you enter the TpT gift certificate giveaway while you are there!

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  1. Great ideas! Love the memory book!

  2. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing. I think my son would like it because of the flaps and the photos. Cute idea. :) I love the bucket list!
    Sarah's First Grade Snippets

  3. I am going to print these off for my two older sons. They would like this. Thanks for the ideas.
    That Literacy Blog

  4. Great post! I'm your newest Bloglovin' follower. Can't wait to learn more from you! Thanks for sharing your talent. :)
    Literacy Loving Gals

  5. Love the authenticity of all that you shared! I'm an adult making a summer Shutterfly book so I love that kids will make their own version of a scrapbook, not even realize they're practicing literacy skills. Thank you! :-)

  6. I love this idea! We go on little adventures daily, which gives my children more than enough to write about! Great idea!


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