Edtech webinar May 2022
Did you know breaks from the classroom can lead to learning loss for you students?
No need to fret because we are here to provide some tips for you and your students to reduce learning loss over school breaks so you don’t have to start all over again when they return to the classroom.
This month’s webinar addresses:
- Learning Loss Statistics
- Summer Best Practices
- Summer Reading Programs
- Math Resources
- Meet EdTech’s Newest Teacher’s Corner Team Member
Read the transcript below:
Hello teachers. My name is Lacey Wolfrey with EdTech Solutions. Thank you so much for joining us for this month’s Teacher’s Corner webinar, how to set summer goals. We realized the school year is winding down, summer’s just around the corner. And before you know it, fall’s going to be here and school’s going to be starting again. So before you pack it in, we wanted to share some tips with you, for your students, so you can help them reduce that learning loss over the summer. So when school does come back around again in the fall, you’re not starting over from scratch.
What we will be going over today is talking about some of the learning loss statistics. So we’re experts, we’re seeing most of that learning loss occur and share some of the summer goals best practices to combat some of those statistics that we see. So specifically around summer reading programs and math resources that we’ll be talking about today. And then we are very excited to introduce you to EdTech’s newest teachers forum team member. So a lot of awesome stuff in store for today.
The Phenomenon of Summer Setback
Now, as students return to school in the fall, a lot of them, especially those from historically disadvantaged student groups, are starting with achievement levels that are lower than some of their counterparts. And so they’ll come back and their learning level would be even lower than where they were at the beginning of summer break, so when school let out. So this phenomenon that people refer to sometimes as summer learning loss or summer setback, or that summer slide, it’s been of interest to a lot of education experts and researchers. And so what we’ll be sharing with you is just some of the findings that schools and districts have come across. And then some of the things that they have found that are working for them. So along this research that’s been done, a lot of the learning loss occurs more in math than in reading. And the extent of loss tends to be larger at the higher grade levels. So some of the things we’ll talk about today are how to provide some resources for those students who are most at risk in the summer.
Best Practices to Reduce Learning Loss
Some of the best practices that teachers have found and districts have found that have worked best are blending academic learning with hands-on or recreational activities. So finding a way to make learning fun, some gamification. Those are some of the things that we’ll show you today that have worked well for schools and for teachers.
Also employing some professional summer school staff. We realize this isn’t always in the budgets for every district, but schools have had success providing those programs on site at the school by employing summer school staff and having students actually there with them through the summer to facilitate that continued learning.
Some other things that have worked well are forming partnerships with community organizations, so that way you can leverage the resources. I know here in Arizona, we were fortunate enough to have funding provided for a statewide summer learning camp initiative. And this was aimed at helping Arizona kids get caught up in math, reading and civics specifically. And priority was given to students qualifying for free or reduced-priced meals, so really targeting those students that need it the most. And then community organizations like the boys and girls club were then able to provide these camps.
So we encourage you to check with local and state communities and agencies. We encourage you to check with your local and state organizations to see if there might be resources similar available in your area.
Other best practices are just communicating with your families over the summer. So sending messages, whether it’s via email or text messages or apps, like Remind to be able to communicate with the families and the students throughout the summer, providing tips, different resources, ideas of activities to do with children and just that ongoing communication with the value of particular summer learning activities.
When it comes to summer reading programs, many areas have lots of programs available. Local library programs are available for free. Another free program is called READS. This is specifically for grade second through fifth grade, to help children improve their reading comprehension. So READS stands for Reading Enhances Achievement During Summer. This is a free research-based program specifically for students over the summer to help them improve their reading comprehension. So they have three keys to the program, they call it their ABCs:
A is Access to books at home, including a wide variety of texts.
B are Books that are well matched to each child’s reading level and interests.
C is Comprehension activities and student engagement with their books.
Some are follow-up and family support of summer reading. So these resources will all be provided as well with the recording of this webinar.
Another program is Epic , it’s a digital reading program that is available. It’s got both a free basic plan that gives you access to a free book a day, or there are additional paid options for unlimited access. And then another organization that is based here in Arizona, but provides services all across the country is kidsneedtoread.org, and they developed this great PDF to share with families just with different tips, to keep your students reading over the summer and activities that families can do together to encourage reading.
Now, since math has been shown to be the biggest area of loss over the summer, it’s especially important to have a plan in place for your students. So, so many teachers send home packets with worksheets to be completed. I know in my household, sometimes those packets have never left the backpacks. So if you do plan to put worksheets together, encourage your students, communicate over the summer, have a plan in place for them and a schedule to help keep them on track so all the effort and expense that goes into creating those packets doesn’t go to waste.
Another online program that’s available for math is Prodigy. This is a basic free program available and then upgraded plans available. They’ve got different programs for grades 1st-8th. It’s game-based learning, so my 10-year-old uses this one and loves it. Teachers can use it to prep for standardized tests. It can deliver adaptive skill practice, and you can also test students on a new skill.
Khan Academy is another one that’s great, specifically for math. It’s got free courses from pre-K all the way up to college. There is test prep, courses, practice exercises, different instructional videos, lots of resources available for students and also free tools for parents and teachers as well.
All right, next, I would like to introduce the newest member of our team, Jessica. Jessica, I’ll turn it over to you to give us a quick intro, a little bit about your background, and share with us your favorite summer learning advice.
I am Jessica Rush. I am new at EdTech. I actually came from teaching. I was a teacher for three years. I started off by teaching fourth grade for two years in California. Then I just moved here about a year ago and taught fourth grade here in Arizona, in Tempe. I went to school for early childhood development, and then I decided through that I wanted to be a teacher. So then I went to my teaching credential program and then I actually just kind of moved right into this EdTech position, wanting to try something different and grow in a different ways.
Tips for Summer Learning
But as a teacher, something that I’d tell my kids going into the summer was that I know a lot of kids struggle with reading or just struggle with the enjoyment of reading. So I would just tell them, pick up anything, if you go to the library or if you’re at a grocery store and you see a magazine that you like, just pick up anything that interests you. So then you’re actually able to enjoy the reading and then you’re practicing your reading and not just doing it because it’s homework, you’re doing it because you are enjoying it.
And then for the younger kids, for the younger grades, with everything going on in schooling the last few years, a lot of our students got so far behind on their math facts, especially multiplication facts, especially in the elementary level, even some of the middle school levels. So just making sure that as much as you can start practice.
Skip counting is something that I actually started doing with my students this last year, and it helped them a lot more than just memorizing their facts.
So skip counting in the car, on the car ride to the park, on the car ride to the pool or the water park, having you and your family just kind of practice skip counting and then having them memorized will be super helpful.
And then for all kids of all ages of all students sticking to a schedule. I noticed that a lot of my kids who got really deep into that summer schedule of sleeping in and staying up late had a really hard time transitioning into the year. So sticking to some kind of schedule during the summer just to make transitioning back into the school year a lot easier.
Awesome. Those are great tips and we are so excited to have you part of the team.
Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.
And that brings us to the end of our webinar. We encourage you to check out our blog on our website, edtechsolutions.com. We provide recordings of previous webinars as well as different topics in our blog. And if you have ideas or recommendations for future webinars, please let us know on our website. And again, it’s www.edtechsolutions.com. We thank you again for joining us and hope you enjoy the rest of your day.
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