Design Thinking

Stop Talking About Summer Vacation!

School Days Til Summer

Write about your summer vacation.

How many of you wrote on that topic, or something very similar, when you were in school? How many of you wrote about it many, many times? Honestly, I can’t remember a first day of school that did not include a summer vacation activity.

Now take a moment and ask yourself, what does this focus on summer vacation say about the culture of learning at your school, or in your classroom? More specifically:

How does this make students feel who don’t have awesome summer stories to share? What about those who depend on school for basic safety and needs like the free lunch program?

Where is the joy of learning if everyone is counting down to leave school?

Mark Church, co-author of Making Learning Visible, presented at Harvard’s Project Zero four questions we must consider when looking at the learning transcript. These questions are critical if we are to empower all students to reach their genius potential.
As Ron Ritchhart, author of Creating Cultures of Thinking and Making Learning Visible explains, students grow into the intellectual life around them (Project Zero break-out session). If the intellectual life is reduced to a “how many days until summer?”mentality, then is it any surprise teachers need to remind students that they release the students, and not the bell?
Let’s flip the transcript… I suggest Lakeshore Learning create a sign that says “X Days of Awesome Learning Have Taken Place This Year.” Let’s show students that we value them, we value learning, and we value the time we get to spend with them igniting their genius.

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