Effective summer strategies to accelerate learning and prevent learning loss blog image

Effective summer strategies to accelerate learning and prevent learning loss

May 8, 2023Nearpod Team

Over the last few years, learning loss (or unfinished learning) and efforts to accelerate learning for students have been consistent topics across public discussion. As the academic year ends, there is no dispute that a summer learning program is an opportune time to address individual needs head-on. School leaders and summer school directors are starting to design targeted programs to address content gaps and educational opportunities. We can focus on specific skill areas or incorporate social-emotional support. If we do these things, we increase the impact of our summer learning programs. With that in mind, a personalized instructional approach for students will be paramount this summer.

How can summer learning loss be prevented?

Simply extending instruction into the summer months won’t be enough to recoup learning loss and get students back on track. Teacher burnout and staffing shortages make this summer’s school year a bigger challenge than ever. School leaders must anticipate having summer school teachers working in grades and subject areas outside of normal experience. Summer school teachers might also be less experienced than in previous years or even brand new to the profession. Building an effective summer learning program for both teachers and students requires providing teachers with a comprehensive instructional platform and an intentional focus on how to accelerate learning as well as supporting the whole child.

Teacher using data driven instruction on Nearpod to help students during class

No matter how you and your fellow educators decide to tackle summer learning for students, know that Nearpod is here to support you through planning, execution, and providing a space for educators to learn from one another. Teachers can make any lesson interactive within one platform that has real-time student insights through interactive lessons, interactive videos, and gamified learning. Nearpod’s interactive lessons keep teachers ahead of the curve and ensure you return to school in the fall ready to take on the challenges of the new academic year.

Unlock the full instructional power of Nearpod with the unlimited access, collaboration, integrations, and support your teachers need.

Effective summer strategies to accelerate learning and prevent learning loss

As you and your colleagues are refining plans for summer programming and preparing to welcome students enrolled, here are a few strategies to consider to help drive student success:

1. Get a baseline of student understanding with formative assessments

Utilizing formative assessments tied to state standards at the start of your summer program gives the teacher insight into student comprehension, knowledge, and skill levels, without the intimidation of formal tests. Continued use throughout the program allows students to control their learning path by providing immediate feedback to the student and teacher. In turn, with information on how the student interprets the material, teachers can support the student with targeted and focused instruction.

Nearpod has nine formative assessment tools and interactive activities teachers can use to get real-time insight into student understanding to accelerate learning:

Open-ended question example on Nearpod
Time to Climb about artificial intelligence to accelerate learning

2. Engage students with interactive activities, lessons, and videos across core subject areas

Summer school teachers need broad support as they prepare their classes for instruction. Remember, many summer school teachers will be teaching out of the grade level and subject area and are unsure of the academic content they will be responsible for delivering, so it’s essential to equip them with the proper materials.

Data released by NWEA focused on students in grades three through eight and compared their progress in the 2020-2021 school year to similar students from before the pandemic. The data indicates that students, on average, were between three and six percentile points behind in reading and eight to 12 percentile points in math compared to previous years. Younger students struggled more than older students, as remote/hybrid learning proved to be a more significant challenge for young scholars.

Administrators can help teachers accelerate learning by providing access to premade standards-aligned lessons across core content areas through Nearpod. These quality lessons made by content experts are turnkey, interactive, and engaging for students. This is especially important for essential content areas and standards in Math and English Language Arts (ELA), as students are often recommended for intervention based on assessment scores for these two content areas.

3. Support students’ social emotional learning and academic development

In addition to opportunities to accelerate learning, educators are still supporting students to adjust to the current environment following the social and educational barriers that were in place during and after the pandemic. A vital goal of any effective summer program is to continue addressing those needs and supporting students’ development. Summer school leaders must ensure that social and emotional learning (SEL) is essential to their summer program, as it will benefit both students and teachers.

By incorporating lessons on social emotional learning activities into core instruction, educators help students access their feelings and emotions, develop healthy identities, and build positive relationships while giving them the tools they need to succeed academically. Doing so can be a simple 5-minute activity where students practice self-management by sharing some of their most helpful habits. Using activities where students can self-identify their feelings anonymously to their teacher and engage with their peers will help them navigate their reality. Having brain breaks will also be a vital element in summer programs, as students will need time to disengage from academics and explore other avenues. Working on SEL initiatives is something all teachers can do regardless of their experience level.

SEL drawing activity on Draw It to connect with students

4. Provide opportunities for extracurricular activities and summer enrichment

Students missed out on more than the instructional time during distance and hybrid learning. And as such, summer programming shouldn’t be limited to academics to accelerate learning. Ideally, your district can partner with local organizations and parks and recreation departments to provide students with various opportunities to get outside of the classroom and reconnect with their peers while learning a new hobby or skill. Though if that’s not possible, don’t discount virtual reality (VR) experiences. Providing equitable, virtual reality experiences allow students from all backgrounds to travel the world, try on various careers, and more!

Virtual Reality(VR) Field Trip lesson to Lincoln Memorial

5. Stay organized and prepared with multiple solutions in one streamlined platform

Remember teachers’ challenges and devise innovative solutions to support them and their students. Maximizing the edtech tools your school and district can access can help, but what’s most important is choosing the right tools to set teachers for success. Nearpod’s mission is to make teaching easier with the interactive tools, resources, and content teachers need, all in one place. Whether you’re experiencing staffing shortages, onboarding new teachers, or simply trying to support your teachers and students, having a core tech toolkit is crucial. It will save teachers time in training and planning and give them more time to do what they do best: teach, connect with students, and help accelerate learning. Teachers can have the ability to create slides, embed interactive assessments, get real-time student insight, and have a library of standard-aligned resources, all in one place.

Unlock the full instructional power of Nearpod with the unlimited access, collaboration, integrations, and support your teachers need.

Prev Post Next Post