1. Reach out to your future students:
You can provide your future students with a worksheet or link to a file of skills they will be expected to master in September. You can give them a packet you would usually share at the beginning of the year. This way kids who want to work on these resources over the summer can feel rewarded with an easy start, but others who do not choose to work on these resources won't fall behind. Getting together with colleagues to collaborate and align these assignments can also be a great way to help with the consistency of content and expectations.
2. Bring your students into the loop:
Tell your future students about NJCTL’s self-study courses. There are so many benefits:
* Students can improve their performance without the stress of grades or tests.
* Advanced students can get ahead on next year's course content or self-study.
* Students who typically take more time to understand the content can prep at their own pace.
* Students who fell behind in last year’s coursework can review it over the summer to ensure they are prepared for your upcoming course.
3. Create Discussion Forums for your students:
This can be done in several ways. You can post a weekly prompt and ask students to answer, or students can simply use the space to interact about summer assignments, course questions, new course concerns, etc.
There are several websites that have free public and private forums if your school doesn’t have one of its own. If a teacher knows the students in the class, they can invite them to a private forum. If they do not, they can use a public one as long as certain precautions are taken. Always ensure that at least one member of the administration is aware of and invited to the forum, make sure rules about the content of prompts are clear, and ensure all necessary permissions have been granted.
4. Engage your class over the summer with social media:
This option requires the same precautions as #3. Teachers can start a Twitter or Facebook account for educational purposes only and create secure settings. One math teacher we know set up a Facebook page for summer. She posts pictures, events, quotes, and questions about her travels for students to see and comment on. Posts may be in the form of a question that requires mathematical calculations or photos with descriptions, like a mathematical wonder such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Students won't feel as though they are doing school work, but rather engaging with their future class, and may not even realize they are getting something educational out of it!