I love Pinterest and anyone that has read my blog and visited my page https://www.pinterest.com/cleckleymedia/ knows this. This is where I get inspired and I am able to create an online scrapbook. Well, much to my daughter’s chagrin, I came across a list of high school must-reads to revisit. Of course, as I was combing through the list, I became giddy with joy at the thought of reading these books again with my daughter; we would have our own mommy/daughter book club. I am sure that she will not read them all during her four years in high school (she is currently in 8th grade). So, why not get a head start on them now together. When I shared the “good news” she sighed. The truth is that she always huffs and puffs at my suggestion for reading material but, then she becomes enthralled and starts to ask me questions. I never let her abandon a book unless I can tell that it is completely over her head. Right now she is wrapping up “Of Mice and Men”. Then we can start on the list! Yippee!
We have all heard of the infamous “Summer Slide” and if you haven’t, it is the loss of knowledge that occurs during the summer months. Children are usually outside playing, babysitting siblings, or inside playing video games or on social media–all of which are not promoting learning throughout the summer. So, in turn, they lose what they have learned throughout the school year and the brain becomes lazy. As a teacher, it is always interesting to hear a student say “Mr. or Mrs. So and So didn’t teach us that last year. This is mostly 90% incorrect. They were in fact taught the concepts but failed to retain them throughout the summer and the brain placed the information into the deep recesses of their mind. They just don’t remember. This leads to a reteaching of concepts that have already been taught and a waste of classroom time that could be spent on “going deeper” with those same concepts.
Every summer, I have my daughter read a book and tell me about it. If it is a book that I haven’t read myself, I pull a copy of the chapter by chapter summary from online (to make sure she is not bluffing). Most times, she has a summer reading assignment for her teacher for the upcoming year but, I also give her assignments myself. The web is a great tool. I can create crossword puzzles to test her knowledge of the book. There may even be some already created. My new passion is Prezi, so this summer, I am having her use this platform to summarize the story (plot events), conflict, theme, and main characters. She is currently reading ” The Fault in Our Stars”.
Another tool I use is my local bookstore. There is an entire teacher/education section where I pick up material for her to study math concepts (this is her hardest subject). It is important, especially with subjects that children find challenging, to keep them immersed in the material all year-long. Finally, the local library usually runs a summer reading contest or club catering to the different age groups. There are so many resources out there and if you need any other ideas, feel free to drop me a line. I have also added my Pinterest board “No More Summer Slide,” that provides a wealth of resources and I will continue to add to it as I come across great links. Remember, you are not stealing the fun away from your child. They can still go out and play. But, what you are doing is preparing them to be successful academically and later on in life.
I can tell you honestly that Wally Lamb is a phenomenal writer. He has perfected the craft of bringing characters to life so that the reader can relateand empathize with them. I have taught characterization to my students on many occasions and if they weren’t middle schoolers, I would tell them to read one of Wally Lamb’s books for the best example out there.
Anyway, it has been awhile since my last post and I have been working on getting a routine down now that I am the parent of TWO children. I can say that I have my good days and my bad days. There is some thingsthat I have learned in the past couple of months since I last wrote and that is that I want to eat healthier and train my children to do the same and stress less. Stress is an energy zapper and can lead to all kinds of physical ailments not to mention writer’s block. But, I have recommitted to my poetry anthology and added the new task of children’s books. At first, I considered it “not-my-thing,” but, then I wanted more options for great books to read to my son. So, why not create that option for myself?
My focus is on building my brand and making a decision in regards to my career choice. I am an educator and love education itself but, I love small groups and at-risk groups. I will be looking for opportunities to serve children in that capacity.