Thoughts on Independent Summer Enrichment

It’s that time of year–the school year has ended and children everywhere have been given summer assignments and summer readings. I used to give summer reading projects, but then September came along and those were the last things I wanted to see. Another thought came to mind though–should I be grading them for something I haven’t taught them?

My general philosophy is simply no; I shouldn’t be grading my students for something that I didn’t teach them. To talk semantics, that summer project grade is disruptive because it’s not an assignment reflected in other marking periods. Sure, you can have other reading projects, but they can’t be equal because those would be done with instruction and support, even if indirectly.

You could use the summer project as a baseline assessment, not to be scored, right?

If there’s any use for summer projects, I think using them as a way to acquire a basic understanding of a students’ academic abilities is okay, though I still think that kind of information is best gleamed from an in-class assessment with controlled conditions.

Teachers won’t like this, but the best way to keep students engaged over the summer is for all-year in-school instruction with a given number of vacation days. It’s been said for a while now–we simply don’t need summer vacations. They’re a burden on parents who can’t afford childcare, and students lose so much of what they learned the previous year.

This was a short post, and perhaps there just needs to be more discussion on it. I know I haven’t spoken to a lot of teachers about it, and the ones I have aren’t totally on the same page. They like their summer break. Personally, I’d rather be teaching.

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