The Rs of Summer

Watch Reinventing Summer School to stop kids’ Learning Loss on PBS.

Wanting students to, first of all, show up for, then engage with and truly benefit from summer school, Rhode Island resorts to relevance and relationships. There’s rigor here, too, both in the field and back in the classroom. Anyway, once relevance and relationships are established, you can dial up the rigorometer to whatever reasonable values you like. (See technicians adjusting an early, analog rigorometer here.) Fall will come and these schools will not have the special funding that made these summer experiences possible, but minds have been changed, and there will be some teachers and students with new ideas needing to be hatched.

What’s lost?
So, is summer learning loss now Summer Learning Loss, or SLL, a worrisome addition to our list of education initialisms? I wonder though, if something is lost, if it doesn’t just fray or decay but straight up disappears, in just ten, warm weeks, could it be that it’s not learning getting lost so much as working memory winking out of existence? That’s a question that guides my reflection of my own practice, especially if I’m not teaching in a woods or on an ocean: What do I do to engage students with deep learning, the kind that knows its way around the hood, can read maps, can ask for and make use of directions, and can figure out how to get home.

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