Teachers' wish list for students over the summer starts with these tips

abredeson@islandpacket.comJune 11, 2012 

Summer break is here. It's time for swimming and fishing, and playing in the sand.

But Beaufort County teachers are hoping their students will do more than just have fun in the sun over the next couple of months. Here are a few things they recommend kids do to prepare for the coming academic year.

READ, READ, READ

Okatie Elementary School literacy coach Laura Phillips said research shows students who do not read over the summer will lose at least three months of progress. She said they should read 20 or 30 minutes every night.

She said Okatie Elementary has a summer reading list and expects students to read two books off the list over the summer. When they return to school the following year, they're asked to do a project on the book.

She suggests students read more than what's on their required reading lists. Enroll in summer reading programs. They have them at the libraries, and there's even one online through Scholastic (Scholastic also has an online summer reading challenge). She encourages students to use Beaufort County School District's virtual library.

"There's so many types of print they can read," Phillips said. "It doesn't have to be a novel. The important thing is that they're reading. ... Find that genre that they're interested in."

GET MOVING

Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts physical education teacher Jackie Wheeler wants to encourage kids to stay active over the summer.

"So many students tell me that they stay inside in the summer because it is too hot," Wheeler said. "But we live in a location that allows for year-round fun. It just has to be done early morning or evening."

She would like her students to find an activity they love -- whether it's walking around the neighborhood, riding bicycles or swimming. She stresses that kids should always walk or ride in a safe location with a friend or family member, apply sunscreen often and drink plenty of water.

And if you want to exercise inside, she said you don't need expensive equipment. She said all you really need is enough room to move around.

"Rather than just sit and watch television, do sit-ups and pushups, and stretch while you watch your show," she said. "You could easily work on your abdominal strength and flexibility as you watch your favorite program."

PRACTICE YOUR MATH

Whale Branch Middle School and Beaufort Middle School math coach Yolanda Goethe recommends that students sharpen their math skills by visiting www.onlinemathle arning.com. The website offers tutorial videos, worksheets and games for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

For elementary school children, Goethe suggests that parents practice counting and math facts with their children in their daily activities. At the grocery store, have your child count the number of items needed, count the change, estimate the cost or determine how much change they will receive. At home they can count the number of stairs they climb or estimate the amount to time between activities.

She encourages parents to point out numbers throughout the day -- numbers on the clock, the thermometer, the scale. Give your child the grocery advertisements from the newspaper and have him or her make up a list of what the family would need for one day. Tell the child to figure out the total of all the items.

"Help your children do math in their heads with lots of small numbers," Goethe said. "Ask questions: 'If I have four cups and I need seven, how many more do I need?' or 'If I need 12 drinks for the class, how many packages of three drinks will I need?'<2009>"

AND ... FOR EXTRA CREDIT

If you plan to take physics in the coming year, Bluffton High School physics teacher Kevin Sandusky said reviewing those math skills -- vectors and trigonometry, in particular -- are a necessity.

Sandusky said he pushes his students to experience physics outside of the classroom as well as inside.

"I warn them that physics will invade their lives," he said. "When they drive a car, friction, not the engine, provides the force that pushes them forwahen they turn a sharp corner, the car turns in front of their moving body. ... Roller coasters change gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy."

Sandusky said he hopes his students continue to think about physics as they experience it.

"I suspect putting physics into practice greatly helps my students recall material as they transition from my physics course to my AP physics course," he said.

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