Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fighting the Summer "Slide"

This summer, I was determined to give my almost-first grader and almost fourth-grader a daily routine that included academic activities to beat the Summer Slide.

Are you familiar with the "Summer Slide?" It is the concept that students forget valuable information over the summer, causing the teachers to re-teach concepts in the fall that were already covered in the spring.

Our daily routine combined academics with the opportunity to earn electronics. I asked my boys to complete 30-minutes each of math, writing, and reading (at appropriate levels) and in return they earned an electronic activity, such as a YouTube video or video game time. Each day they could also complete either the math (using IXL Math or ABCya) or the writing (using Scribblenauts) electronically. We went to library weekly to replenish the selection of books for reading time.

Overall it went well. My oldest would occasionally complain that summer was for "relaxing" and not doing school work, however the routine of the plan worked well for him. He's they kind of kid who would happily watch TV, play video games, or watch YouTube videos all day if we did not give him set guidelines. The youngest happily followed the routine and would often go to the schedule posted on the fridge to check "what's next."

School starts in just a few days for my kids, so we will see how much of the Summer Slide we prevented. How about you? What works well for you to prevent the Summer Slide? Comment with your ideas below.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bringing You Up to Date

So, it has been almost a year since I last posted and A LOT has changed... let me bring you up to date.

I have resigned, after 12 years, from teaching public school music and am now a staff member at a community music school.

As the Program Manager, my staff duties include managing the programs (classes, camps, workshops, etc.) and faculty details & needs, as well as tech duties such as social media and website management. I also teach flute lessons for all ages and Musikgarten classes for newborns through 9-years old. I have been a faculty member for this music school since 2011, and I am really enjoying my new tasks and duties.

I firmly believe in music education being available to everyone. Over the past year I have worked with the Executive Director of the music school to increase financial aid assistance for families, to expand our outreach programs of low-cost and no-cost music classes & lessons for local students, and to work with faculty members to create interesting classes, camps, and workshops.

The transition has had challenges: setting up a new routine with my children, adjusting to my new schedule, and revamping our budget to fit the new income. Last year when the calendar read "August," I kept feeling that I was forgetting to do something... as any teacher can tell you, August is when we start planning for the new year of teaching. This year is not so bad, although my social media feeds are full of teacher memes ;)

Since I am a big fan of Jimmy Fallon, here is a short list of Pros and Cons of this transition:

Do you have any Pros & Cons to add to my list? Comment with them below :)

I have lots of great ideas and thoughts to share, I just need to have better habits at sitting down to write a post... and I promise not to wait too long ;)