Summer learning takes on Olympic theme
For three weeks, students from Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) in the Extended School Year (ESY) program emulated world-class athletes as they brushed up on their literacy and math skills. "Each year we pick a theme to add an element of fun to summer study," said teacher Melissa Shumate. "This year we thought the Summer Olympics happening in London would make a great tie-in."
Like athletes in training, the ESY students stayed in academic shape and "worked out" their skills over the summer. Students in grades 3-5, for example, each picked a country to research and find out about their Olympic records. "I was surprised at how the students really went into detail with their reports and drawings," said Shumate.
For example, third-grader Crystal Velasquez picked Russia as her country. For her project she compiled information on the people, the climate, and the country's previous Olympic medals, and capped it off by making a large-scale drawing of a Russian-style building.
Each of the teachers found ways to incorporate the Olympic theme into reading, writing, and math activities. Middle school students created their own version of the Olympic Games using their math and literacy skills and then held trial runs to measure performance results. On the second-to-last day of ESY students from preschool through eighth grade participated in a mini-Olympics, competing in events that fostered teamwork.
"This year we had 49 students participating in ESY. The program helps our students bridge the gap from one school year to the next by providing a continuity of learning," said Mike Peterson, the Clerc Center's Individualized Education Program coordinator. "Despite record hot temperatures this summer in Washington, D.C., the ESY teachers found cool ways to make summer learning fun and keep their students' academic skills in shape for the fall."