A teacher’s biggest challenge when running a summer school program is not just getting students to attend but to motivate them to want to be there. With this challenge in mind the main goal of Skykomish first year teacher Dallas Robinson was to make it a unique experience for the children.
The 5-week program had an animal theme. Students read about animals, they wrote about animals and they even played games with animal themes. The students researched interesting facts about an animal of their choosing and created a piece of art to supplement those facts. All of the students’ work throughout the program would culminate in a trip to the Woodland Park Zoo where they could see the animals about which they wrote. The kids’ eyes lit up when they saw giraffes, arctic foxes, lions, otters, snow leopards and more.
On top of the animal theme, teachers Dallas Robinson, Katie Leppanen and Allison Luker incorporated a number of activities to enhance student learning in math, reading and writing. Students improved their time telling abilities with “Race Against the Clock.” A modern-day version of “Password” helped students improve their vocabulary. A game of “Mathketball” reviewed all the concepts that the students had been learning the past five weeks. Finally, a 4-Square tournament taught students about both competition and teamwork.
On the last day of Summer School the Museum of Flight brought a unique program in which students built and launched small rockets. This program was paid for and brought to Skykomish School through the King Co. Library School Outreach Program and the effort of Library Specialist Jennifer Carter.
Skykomish students were sad to see summer school come to an end. All of them were interested in returning the following year. Whether it is the trip to the zoo, the games, the good meals or the presentations from the local library or drug and alcohol counselor, the students received a well-rounded experience. Surely, it’s an experience they will want to repeat.