Every fall I hear phrases like “regression,” “summer slide,” and “learning loss”. While I understand the worries teachers and caregivers have around these terms, I am also a HUGE proponent of allowing kids to be kids during the summer.
Just like teachers, students need time to unwind, play, use different parts of their brain, and just enjoy summer! Which brings us to the question on everyone’s minds: How can we help students maintain their math skills (which we all worked SO HARD to acquire over the year) without drowning our students in work over the summer?
It’s a great question, and one that is best answered with a balanced approach. Today I want to talk about 3 ways I have found to support students’ math skills and still allow them to enjoy a fun-filled summer!
Summer Math Choice Menus
When we offer students a choice, we are providing them with ownership and autonomy over their academic growth. Over the years I’ve learned that giving students a choice is a key component to increase engagement with summer math activities. One of my favorite ways to do this is by offering Math Choice Menus.
I’ve taught grades 1-3, so I have made these menus at each grade level over the years. Each menu includes purposefully open-ended choices so that the activities can last for as little as long as desired.
Each choice also offers multiple access points. This way, differentiation is naturally embedded into each activity and students can access the activity at their comfort level! #WINNING!
These menus include 10 weeks of activities (that’s 50 activities in total) for 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. You can grab them FOR FREE below!
Free Summer Math Menus
Want to help maintain your students’ math skills this summer? Grab these free Summer Choice Boards for your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students! Each menu includes 10 weeks of open-ended math activities (that’s 50 in total) to reach ALL of your students.
Summer Math Games
I also LOVE sending home a list of favorite math games with students at the end of the year. Most of these are super simple dice games that can help maintain fact fluency and number sense over the summer months.
I have sent games home in a variety of ways, but in ALL cases, I make sure that my students are a part of the process. Allowing them to be a part of the game selections gives them ownership of their learning, and increases the likelihood that they will engage with the games over the summer. Here are some examples of what I send home with students:
- A list of familiar games that students can easily replicate at home
- A folder of photocopied games/directions for families to select from
- A digital list with clickable links for families to use at home
All three have worked well for me, it truly depends on student and family preference.
Bring Math into Real Life
In combination with my summer math menus, I like to remind families that math is EVERYWHERE and so it can be organically woven into everyday conversations. I like to engage my students in creating a list of Real Life Math that we then send home to help stimulate math dialogue with grown-ups over the summer months. Some examples of Real LIfe Math include:
- Cooking with Math
- Play math-based games (see point #2)
- Go shopping and do the math
- Take a drive and discuss signage (exits, mile markers, speed limits…etc.)
- Take a field trip to a science museum
- Watch/play sports and do math (keeping score, counting players, shots, etc)
- Read math-based books
- Start a business (e.g. a lemonade stand)
I hope these ideas will support you as you work to maintain your students’ math skills this summer!
Speaking of math and summer…
My professional development course, Guided Math Academy, is opening again this summer! Be sure to get on the waitlist!
Guided Math Academy is an interactive six-week course for teachers who want to learn how to teach ALL their students WITHOUT adding hours of prep! It includes a step-by-step blueprint of how to make guided math work in YOUR classroom, Q&A sessions, and several incredible bonuses to help you AND your students.
This course opens every June. Join the waitlist so you don’t miss out!