Monday, September 3, 2012

What did YOU do this summer?

Tomorrow is the first day of school for the 2012-2013 school year and the typical question will be asked many times: what did you do this summer? I'm a mother as well as a teacher-librarian, so I know that sometimes when I hear that question, my mind can draw a blank (just like my own kids). What DID I do with all that time? That's why in the last couple of weeks of August, I make my own children create a summer scrapbook. (I'm a pretty laid-back parent, in my opinion, and I don't force my children to do many things, but creating this scrapbook is one of the few tasks I insist they attempt.) We develop photos, choose the paper that fits the topic, and write little journal entries. I find this a good way of easing their way into a routine of writing and seat work, and for my poor memory, it's a great way to actually recall what we did.

As they compiled these photo journals this year, I started to question the practice of spending so much time on the first day of school sharing the events of the summer. I can see both sides of this issue.

Share the summer - yes

  • Acknowledges the students' most recent & past experience
  • Gives class time / opportunity for them to share (because they'll chat about it anyway)
  • Helps to transition people from what they were doing to what they are doing now
Share the summer - no
  •  Classism and economic disparity highlighted (e.g. kid X went traveling out of the country)
  • Pressure to "have a good story", even if their summer was boring
  • Judgements made on summer activities (e.g. you wasted your summer just playing video games?)
I'm seeing a grade 4-5 class (with 33 students, but that's another story) on the first day of school, because our prep rotation begins on the very first day, and I think and hope that the lesson I have planned will help address the concerns in the second list while reaping the benefits of the first list. I'll post the lesson plan on the MzMollyTL Share Space so that anyone can use the lesson. I hope everyone enjoyed their summer vacation and that this school year will be fruitful and fun.

No comments:

Post a Comment