How to Battle Summer-Itis (While Learning and Having Fun)


Ah, May. The month when “Summeritis” begins to set in. You still have a month of school left and yet everyone is thinking about summer. As the warm weather approaches, students yearn to spend more time outdoors.  It’s hard to ignore the birds chirping, colorful flowers popping up from the ground, and the warm air all around us. Summer vacation is almost here…but not yet! You still have to teach and work… But everyone is looking to have a little fun too. What to do?
Well if you’ve been following my last few blog posts, you may have noticed that I support ditching the worksheets, teaching through active learning and sports, and getting outside during class time. I’ve been known to catch a case of summer-it is, it’s true. This is the time of year that I throw the dress code aside and start sneaking in with sandals (gasp!). At this point, I usually have the "Summer Countdown" going strong on my desk calendar. This becomes my source of motivation. While I love teaching and enjoy the days I spend with students, that summer vacation sure does sound good at about this point.

Summer-Itis: Where It Came From and Signs to Look for

Okay, I don't want to incite panic here, but research states that children are not immune to Summer-itis. Far from it. Legend says that Summer-itis first originated years ago with a family with plans to visit Disney World over the summer. From there, it spread like wildfire through the classrooms, schools, across cities, states, even counties. It is believed that much of the world becomes infected with Summeritis at different times of year. It is important to be informed and know what to do if a case of Summeritis hits a classroom near you.
Currently here in New Jersey, Summer-itis is at an all-time high. Due to a harsh and gloomy winter, researchers expect Summer-itis to be more severe than it has been in years. Teachers are advised to be on the lookout for signs of Summer-itis:
  • Desire to sleep in
  • Daydreaming in class
  • Forgetfulness/ Confusion (leaving bookbag at home, forgetting lunch money, calling the teacher “Mom”, etc.)
  • Wearing shorts and t-shirts to school even on chilly days
  • Lack of motivation to do any sort of work

What to Do if Your Class Comes Down With Summer-Itis

As previously stated, no one is safe from summer-itis. If you see a case of Summer-Itis in your own classroom, remain calm but act quickly. It might be time to put the textbooks aside momentarily to address this serious condition. In severe cases of Summeritis, the best treatment can often be…a break. Your class has worked hard all year and now that warm weather is upon us, it may be time to sneak in a little break once in a while.
Now I don’t mean that you should drop everything, eat donuts, and watch movies every day. That’s what Friday nights are for (Oh, just me? Never mind).  I mean educational breaks. In other words, keep students engaged and learning, but make it FUN.  Here are some ideas you could use to keep students learning while having fun and even addressing a few curriculum standards:
  • Go outside. Just pack up and do whatever you were already planning and just do it outside. That creative writing piece might go in a whole different direction when completed on the school’s lawn. Got a messy activity? Arts and crafts are easier to clean up outdoors. Everything is more fun outside.
  •  Make lessons more interactive and get those kids involved in their own learning. Try out these Active Math Sports and Games. Active learning activities keep students engaged while sneaking in some academics.
  •  Field trip! This is the perfect time to go somewhere fun to learn about something your class studied over the year. No budget for trips? Try a walking trip to your local library or fire station. Maybe check out the “behind the scenes” work at a nearby pizzeria or bakery. Check out what you have within walking distance of your school and think of ways to tie it into your curriculum.
  •  Nature hunt. Turn a simple walk into a scavenger hunt or scientific study. Have students hunt for different types of animals or trees, do leaf rubbings, listen for bird calls, and collect artifacts from nature. Have students grab their book bags, fill them with their scavenger hunt list, pencil, paper for leaf rubbings, crayons, magnifying glasses, and head out for your hunt.
  • Got a free period? Let students complete these Glyph Activities! Each Glyph set includes a survey, craft materials, a graphing data sheet, and writing prompt. All glyphs are available individually or at a discount with this bundle.

Okay, so we know the year isn’t over and that we need to keep teaching our little friends the best we can. We’re going to continue following the curriculum and addressing the content standards. Right? Of course. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little extra fun. Good luck with the rest of your school year! Have fun and stay clear of that Summer-Itis. I hear it’s really going around.

Keep teaching. Keep learning.
~Christy D. from Exceptional Thinkers

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by Exceptional Thinkers

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