Friday, May 23, 2014

Retain Your Brain!
Summer Learning Ideas

      Hi Folks!  It’s finally here, summer vacation!  Earlier this month we had our final Power of Partnership meeting with a group of parents, students and teachers to discuss ways that we can help kids “retain their brain”, over these summer months.  From that meeting we came up with several great ways to help kids keep as much of what they learned as they can and I have compiled those ideas into this letter.  Some of this stuff is time sensitive, so look through this as soon as you can. 

Here are some ideas that parents from our meeting came up with:
·              Camping out back
·         Games played with family and friends
·         Work in the garden learning of plants, soil, watering (math), yield,  etc…
·         “TV Free Week” – go without for a week during the summer and embrace other activities
·         Books on CD or podcasts for trips (non-fiction, historic, social interest)
·         Ask follow up questions regularly to instill reflection and thinking at deeper levels
·         Chores- as a way to keep up habits and responsibilities
·         Research by kids before trips
·         Volunteering locally.  Can be done together with friends or family
·         Go to art, music, food festivals.  Dig into the culture and arts scene…ask lots of questions about how things are made and what choices artists and cooks make
·         Journaling during trips and scrap booking when on adventures.  This can even be done digitally.
·         Keyboarding practice with journaling or letter writing
·         Cooking with family.  Social, great math opportunities and healthy!
·         Arvada Center and other places for arts education, classes
·         Building ANYTHING!   So much involved in building things
·         Summer reading competitions with public library or online sources like Scholastic.  Any way to support regular reading!
·         Keeping routines like bedtime reading or some activity before dinner.  Keep the learning flow as best you can.

        The IA’s own Bryan Zavada is offering a summer enrichment program right here at the open school.  Spaces are limited and there is a deadline to sign up, so check out the flyer below if you are interested.
Text Box: Jefferson County Open School Summer Enrichment Program
When:  Weeks of July 14th, 21st, and 28th; Monday – Thursday 8:30AM to 11:30AM
Where:  Jefferson County Open School
Who:  Students of the Open School who would benefit from academic skill practice over the summer break; students going into 3rd grade through 7th grade.  Priority will go to students with IEP’s or ILP’s.  The program will be run by Bryan Zavada.  We will need at least 8 students participating to make the program financially sustainable. 
Cost:  $175 total; Students must be registered and pay by June 5th.  Students can pay Bryan Zavada or Sharon Ossello.  Checks may be made to JCOS. 
Curriculum:  General classroom curriculum will include reading (fluency), writing(paragraphing) and math(number sense).
Integrated science curriculum will be connected to the garden; insects, cooking, plant science and more!

There are several online resources to make sure that kids keep their brains active.

Keyboarding/Typing—go to JCOS web page, then click community, then click library, then click the typing tab. Take the typing test and then use Dance Mat typing to see if you can boost scores on typing test.
Math—You can make flash cards for multiplication tables, or visit free websites:
Kahn Academy at they also have an App.
Sight word lists –learn to read and spell them by practicing list of 25 words at a time. Fry word list at or look for apps.
Spelling: Fun spelling games:
Summer reading programs: The Jeffco Summer Reading program has several ideas and links that surround summer reading.
Scholastic Book Clubs is offering a summer reading contest.  Kids can sign on and track their minutes throughout the summer and even win prizes.

There are also many great many great places around Denver to visit during the summer that can help kids “retain their brain”.
The Denver museum of nature and science offers free days throughout the summer, check out this link for more information.
The Denver Botanic Gardens offer many summer activities and concerts.
The Denver Art Museum offers several programs throughout the summer and general admission for kids is just $5.

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