Winter break is fast upon us, and as the weather cools, our students are looking forward to free time away from the classroom. Summertime brings on the phenomenon known as the summer slide where students can lose much of what they’ve learned in the previous school year. While winter break isn’t nearly as long as summer break, keeping students engaged and learning outside the classroom is still important.
When I was a child, winter break was one of my favorite times of year. Not only because it meant enjoying the festive season with family and friends, but also because it meant hours of uninterrupted time for reading. My parents would take me to the library to load up on all my favorite authors, and for me, those books were iced sugar cookies with sprinkles.
Utilizing the local library is an economical way to provide learning opportunities to our students over the winter break. Even if students aren’t voracious readers like me, there are often special programs offered over the break like story time, special music, Lego lab, writing and craft classes, etc., and often these are free services provided by the library. Check out your local library’s website for events like these.
Take advantage of local museums, discovery centers, and parks. With our busy lives during the school year, there’s often not time to be tourists in our own town, and the winter break provides opportunities to visit local attractions. If you’re traveling, research attractions around your destination. This will provide enriching learning opportunities for our students. Museums also offer winter break camps for students, so check out your local museums’ websites for events.
Don’t have time or access to these resources?
Parents, talk to your children about their day. Encourage them to explore and engage with the world around them. By asking stimulating questions, it helps make them intellectually aware of their surroundings. Read to your children. Even when I was in middle school, I enjoyed when my mom read aloud to me.
Educators, consider providing your students with writing prompts or math reviews to work on over the break. There are loads of online resources with math facts reviews and winter writing activities. A simple search via your favorite search engine or Pinterest will provide ideas for assignments. Or, if you’re an Edgenuity® customer, consider assigning Hybridge®, Pathblazer®, MyPath™, or UpSmart® activities over the winter break to keep students engaged with what you’re teaching in the classroom.
Winter break is a great time for our students to recharge, relax, and play, so adjusting back to the routine of school can be a challenge. Keeping students engaged and using their brains over the winter break will help them return to class in January ready to learn.