Dr. Tisha Admire Duncan, Meredith College
Tisha is an Assistant Professor of Education at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina. She teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of pre-service teacher education, literacy instruction, and academically and/or intellectually gifted education. She is also a former classroom teacher, gifted resource specialist, and professional development coordinator for early childhood programs. She earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently serves as a member and secretary on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Association for the Gifted and Talented
School’s Out! Tips to Avoid the Inevitable Phrase . . . ”I’m bored.”
The year has come to a close and celebrations are beginning. The test scores are in, grades are complete, and summer has finally arrived! So how do we help children stay engaged until the start of a new school year and avoid the “summer slump”? Integrate the technology they crave and love!
- Search - Host a digital scavenger hunt. Create a list of 25 items that your children must locate and photograph either indoors or outdoors. Remember to include abstract objects and/or words (i.e. hope, joy, love, summer) to encourage their creativity and critical thinking. Then taking those photographs, children can create a slideshow with music or edit and transform the photos using the software Instagram. If they enjoy the task, then encourage them to design a digital scavenger hunt for family and friends to follow.
- Read - The parting words from the teacher on the last of school will be “Don’t forget to read every night!” Don’t have time to load everyone up and head over to the public library? No problem! Kindle has made digital books accessible and free for multiple devices. Simply visit your local library’s webpage or Amazon for more details. Many are offering the ability to check out books for your Kindle just as if you were there in person. You’ll just need to have your library card. Another great resource for reading is Audible.com. You’ll be able to listen to books and follow along after downloading your selections. Perhaps you have a reader who isn’t interested in books? Then help them find their favorite magazine, blog, or news outlet and subscribe to the daily feed. The goal is to make reading a part of their everyday activity, just like brushing their teeth, so allow some freedom in the method.
- Play - There are literally thousands of apps available for download with more and more being developed each day. So how do you choose? Fun Educational Apps posts reviews of some of their favorite apps. Take some time to peruse the list with your child to see what piques his/her interest before purchasing and downloading. Know what apps are available and allow your child input on the selection.
- Create - Using the video feature on your phone or tablet, develop the skills of the future film directors and budding actors and actresses in your life. Children can write the script, create the props, act out the scenes, edit the clips, and then upload to YouTube to share with their family and friends. Host an “Opening Night” event where they can show off their work and receive feedback. If several films are created, then feel free to roll out the red carpet for an awards show at the end of the summer.
- Write - There are numerous ways to engage children in writing without using paper and pencil and you may find that your children are already familiar with them. Consider setting up a Blog, Glogster, or Wiki account to provide an outlet for writing about their summer adventures. The beauty of journaling is that it is simply a reflection with no minimum number of words or specific topic. However, you could discuss various ideas with your children on their areas of interest and set aside a daily, weekly, or monthly time for focusing on reflection and writing. Additionally, many of these resources also provide outlets for expression by uploading pictures or clip art and changing wild colors with crazy fonts.
I often hear complaints about how much time children spend playing video games or chatting with their friends on various social media sites. My response to these complaints is simple: Teach children how to use the device in a way that enhances their lives. Find ways to incorporate new ideas into an old way of thinking. Take an interest in what they want to do and together find a way to make the technology work for you both!