The past two academic years have resulted in an explosion in the amount of screen time our youth have experienced. This has been necessary to ensure learning continued during the course of the pandemic, and like anything else, it has an upside and a downside.
On the upside, learning digitally is favorable for personalization, learner empowerment to choose their own path and development of online skills, which is needed in today’s ever-growing digital-first society.
On the other hand, real-life social skills can become rusty when there is too much screen time, and while there is a big world out there to explore beyond what a student sees on the screen, sometimes it is important to practice the long-ago days of a former analog world and venture away from faces buried in technology toward a path filled with fun.
To help bring the fun back into our students’ summers, the South-Western City School District will collect student Chromebooks at the end of the school year to refresh and inventory our devices. The end result will be the opportunity for our students to have a good old-fashion summer full of exploration and creativity. This summer is a great time for families to introduce children and teens to the games and activities parents enjoyed in their youth, from board games and informal outdoor games to storytelling under the stars and growing a patch of flowers or vegetables.
South-Western Subject Matter:Staying connected with families is priority for district
As an extension of these efforts, our elementary school students will receive a special summer bag filled with learning ideas to keep math, reading and writing skills fresh throughout the summer months. Students can look for a full-color ocean-scene booklet with suggestions for fun learning and a ribbon of stickers to apply as these activities are completed. Families also will have a collection of clever dice and playing-card games that lead to mathematical practice.
Literacy is important to continually practice over the summer, so no matter their age, all youth can check out the “top book picks’’ and programming available at the local Southwest Public Libraries branches. Summer is a wonderful time to work on activities that keep the mind active and learning, such as developing the habit of keeping a journal or diary, writing a letter or story for a loved one and creating art or music.
Additionally, a literacy skill, which often is overlooked, is simply having discussions and conversations with family and friends. Growing language development and social skills can have a big impact. As always, being curious in life leads to learning, which in turn leads to school success.
We hope all of our students have a summer filled with pleasant activities and plenty of rest. We look forward to having your children once again in our classrooms in just a few short months.
Margaret Towery is the curriculum coordinator in the South-Western City School District.