A Summer School Mentality: Focus on Essential Standards Learning

Summer school fascinates me since the teachers have much less time (six weeks) to cover a year’s worth of material (40 weeks)- about 15% of the total time. They have to decide what is critical content that will help the students to do well on the final or state exam. They reduce the over all content to get to the critical essential parts. They do not have time for students to do fun activities that do not promote the student learning. They do not have time for long projects that only peripherially add to the students learning. They do not have time for random web surfing but they do have time for specific web sites that serve a precise purpose. They may show a small three to five minute clip from a movie instead of showing the whole movie. The teachers realize that each class activity has to relate specifically to the course’s goal. Although many students are repeaters in the content, there are some students who are taking course for the first time since they want to get ahead in their schooling.

If summer school teachers can boil down the curriculum and the students can do well on the final or state exam, it means that much of what teachers do during the year may be non-essential.

Let’s all develop a summer school mentality so that we focus on essential learning.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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