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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

May 23, 2024

On this week’s mini-episode, let’s talk summer school. Because I know that if you ARE teaching summer school, you’d like it to be engaging. Memorable. Creative. Superfantasticaliciousexpialadocious. But of course there’s the issue of you’re tired. And so are the students. And maybe they’re not that excited to be there.  So let’s run through two quick strategies for adding oomph and engagement to July.

Here’s my top suggestion - change up your texts, and provide variety. Summer school is the perfect time to experiment with graphic novels, novels-in-verse, podcasts, performance poetry, graphic essays, and contemporary pieces. Get audiobook access whenever you can. Connect kids to electronic books through your local library on Libby so they can translate when needed. Run book clubs, choice reading, mini-units on compelling quick reads. 

Next, I want to suggest you try to provide real-world contexts for practicing the skills you want students to develop. Develop units around blogging or podcasting, let them share research through infographics or Instagram-style carousels, dig into a Youtube unit and create video. Build your skill practice around the mediums you think are most likely to engage your students. You can teach argument through a video project in which kids recommend the best sneakers and hot chip brands. You can teach narrative through a suspense fiction podcast. You can practice rhetorical analysis by creating commercials for students’ favorite video games. 

While summer school just doesn’t scream fun for most kids, this is your chance to kick that narrative in the teeth. Think of it as your innovative learning lab, in which you and your students will approach the learning goals in new ways that YOU are excited about. It’s your chance to finally run those podcast clubs, teach that Youtube unit, and bring in that graphic novel you love. Free from the restrictions of the regular year, summer school is your chance to teach with your full creative self, and this week, I just want to highly recommend that you do!

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