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Stopping the Summer Brain Drain Part II

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In the heat of the summer, it can be difficult to motivate youngsters to leave the air conditioned bubble in the living room and even harder to encourage them to take part in activities where they can stimulate their minds. Studies have shown that students can lose up to one month of skills and knowledge learned during the school year over the summer. Here are a few more tips on how to stop the dreaded summer brain drain:

• Pennsylvania is home to many beautiful national parks, and no matter where you live one may be within just a few hour drive– plan a simple day trip and enjoy hiking, camping or kayaking! If outdoor activities aren’t your style, head towards Pittsburgh or Philadelphia and visit some of the incredible museums those cities have to offer. Already have a pre-planned vacation out of state? Have students write an old fashioned post card home to friends or family strengthening handwriting, sentence structure and storytelling skills.
• Is your child a future mad scientist? Summer is a great time for outdoor STEM-based projects that are both fun and include a learning component. Take the egg drop challenge and find out what happens when you drop an egg from different heights. It cracks and creates a giant mess, right? Challenge your child to engineer a vessel that will protect the egg and keep it from breaking when dropped made from the listed materials below, then venture outside and safely release your egg from a window or deck. You can find the following items around the house or get creative and choose your own!
o Cardboard paper towel or toilet tubes
o newspapers
o old cardboard boxes
o computer or notebook paper
o popsicle sticks
o plastic storage baggies
o straws
o tape, glue, rubber bands
• During the dog days of summer, sometimes you just need to relax at the movies – but who says that can’t be educational? In “Finding Dory” the fish are headed to Monterey, CA and “The Secret Life of Pets” takes place in Manhattan. After you’ve seen both smash hits, can students locate these two places on a map? How long would it take for you to travel from one to the other – by car, train or airplane? Calculate how much a cross-country trip would cost.

Do you have more tips and tricks to help students avoid learning loss this summer? Share in the comments below how you put a stop to the summer brain drain!

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Posted on: July 26, 2016 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in

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Stopping the Summer Brain Drain Part I

Brain Drain

Each fall teachers work with students who have fallen ill with the dreaded summer “brain drain”. Symptoms include learning loss, forgetting math formulas, and even a decrease in vocabulary. For some, it may seem as if lessons students learned during the school year have melted away in the summer heat and out with the ocean tides!  Parents: how can you help avoid the brain drain this summer? Use these tips to help your child stay on track to start the school year happy and healthy:

  • Did you know? First grade students can hear and understand books at a 3rd – 4th grade level even if they cannot read them alone. Whether you are spending time reading to your child, or letting older ones read alone, spending as little as 20 minutes a day with a book can help students retain the vocabulary and comprehension skills taught during the school year. Head to your local library or download this summer’s hottest new titles and encourage daily reading at the beach, in the backyard, or just before going to bed.
  • Stay active! Summer can be a great time to try new activities offered in your local community. Churches, 4-H clubs, and local library and community centers frequently offer summer programs at little to no cost, which keep young minds and bodies engaged over the summer. From swimming lessons to horseback riding, learning new skills can challenge the mind and help students focus on their studies in the long run. You can often find local community centers teaching chess or other strategy games which also challenge and engage the mind.
  • If math isn’t your strong suit, think about ways you can teach real world math and financial literacy skills to your children. Use inspiration from “The Price is Right” to turn your normal grocery trip into a game show! Here a few fun game ideas:
    • Pick three items from your list and see if students can rank them in order of least to most expensive. Did they get it right? Add their favorite of the three to the cart as a prize.
    • Are discounted 10 for $10 deals good for your family? It depends if the item is your favorite yogurt or bottles of mustard – have your child determine which you will consume before the expiration dates and if you really have room in the fridge for 10 of a particular item – this could vary based on the size of your family and how much you like the item on sale.
    • If you have $20 how many of a certain item can you buy without over spending? Round up to the nearest dollar to make sure you don’t go over, and depending on the age of your children, you can teach them about how different items are taxed in Pennsylvania, fine tuning percentage skills.
    • Let them take over the entire process – inventory the kitchen, make a list of items and estimate the final total cost based on what they know, sales, and coupons. How close can they get?

Edudemics provides a helpful article on the phenomenon of "brain drain" as well, including background information and tools to help ease the transition back to school. Check it out here.

How are you helping your students avoid learning loss this summer? Share with us your tips and trick in the comments below!

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Posted on: July 20, 2016 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in

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