A lot of learning takes place during summer school - addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, reading aloud and getting a jump start on kindergarten.
At Barrington Elementary School in the Hazelwood School District, students are reviewing, practicing and preparing for the next grade level.
“If there are 19 students in class, and five of them leave to go to the library, how many students are left?” asked Lauren Murphy, second grade teacher.
To demonstrate the question, Murphy called the names of five students and asked them to stand just outside the open classroom door.
The math lesson focused on solving subtraction equations using a number line. Students used white boards, dry erase markers and a number line to find the answers to the questions on the Promethean Board.
The lesson is a familiar one for students.
“We use the number line as one strategy for adding and subtracting in second grade,” said Murphy.
Next door, LaTonya Culbreath and her second graders discussed reading strategies. The lesson focused on improving fluency and reading with expression.
Written on the whiteboard were notes and vocabulary. Culbreath reminded students of how to react when they reach the end of a sentence, based on the punctuation. A period means to stop, a comma means to pause, an exclamation point means to say it with expression, and a question mark means to change your voice.
In teams of two or three, the students read a short story from a handout, taking turns reading aloud.
“During the school year, second graders are taught reading strategies in guided reading groups, which addresses fluency,” said Culbreath.
“Summer school provides the opportunity for students to review and practice what was learned during the year. It is beneficial, especially for struggling readers,” she said.
Down the hall in the Sunny Start classroom, Audrey Jacobs moved about the room as her kindergartners worked with handouts, crayons, markers and scissors. The program prepares new kindergarten students by practicing early reading, writing and math skills.
In Michelle Jones’ classroom, fourth-grade students worked on multiplication and division. They also used small whiteboards to answer questions on the Promethean Board. Next year, the students will be in fifth grade.
Summer learning helps children transition to the next grade level.
“Transitioning into the next grade level will be smoother because students will have hopefully maintained their progress from the school year, and not ‘lose any ground,’” said Culbreath.
“Summer school helps keep reading and math skills fresh in the students’ minds so that they are prepared to enter the next grade level,” said Murphy. “Also, for students who are slightly below grade level, summer school gives them the chance to gain more skills.”
Culbreath and Murphy shared advice to parents to help their children during breaks from school.
“Students need to read every day. The library offers a great summer reading program that is free,” said Murphy.
“Read with your child,” said Culbreath. “Visit places of interest and then have discussions about the visits, or write about summer experiences by keeping a journal. Go to the public library and check into their summer reading programs. Many offer incentives for students who read during summer break,” she continued. She also suggested using the Internet as a resource for different subjects.
This year, 195 students are enrolled in summer classes at Barrington Elementary School.
Joseph Thedford and Tara Lee review their work during a math lesson in Lauren Murphy's
second grade class at Barrington Elementary School.