Summer Brain Drain….we’ve all heard that phrase, but is it fact or fiction? Research has shown that at the start of the new school year, students frequently assess at a level at least one month behind where they left off in the Spring. So what happens to our brains during the sweltering summer months? There is little research to suggest that our inability to continue the learning process is a result of the deterioration of neurocognitive muscle. What we do know is that certain subject areas, like math and science, require more frequent drilling and repetitive instruction. After all, it’s easy for your kids to grab a favorite book to read on a rainy day, or in the backseat on the way to the beach. Math, on the other hand, may be a tougher sell.
Posnack students this year have made tremendous strides in math. With the introduction of Singapore strategies, including bar modeling, drawing, and hands-on manipulatives, students are able to relate their classroom learning to real-life situations. So, as parents, what can you do to keep them mathematically motivated over the coming summer months? Card games, estimation activities, and flash cards can all be used to make math fun and engaging. Trips to the grocery store can turn into math challenges with children using mental math skills to estimate the total amount of money spent. Involve your child in the planning of family vacations so they can see how math is all around us – miles driven, ticket prices, elapsed time, budgeting meal allowances, and weather forecasts – these are all examples of how math is used every day.
I also highly recommend a new series of summer workbooks tied directly into the math program used this year. Each “Summer Sampler” provides an overview of skills previously learned, and offers access to a corresponding website for video demonstrations as well. I have included a link for each grade-level workbook in the side section of this blog. Clicking on the picture will take you directly to the site for easy purchasing.
Please feel free to comment or email with any questions you may have. I know you share in the pride I have for the enthusiasm and success your children have shown this year with the new math curriculum. The phrase “I Love Math” has become, for many, the new mantra when I pass by in the hallways. Let’s keep up the excitement and replace “Summer Brain Drain” with “Summer Brain GAIN!”