From Summer Slide to Summer “Brain Gain:” Making the Most of School Vacation

For many teachers “gearing up” for the end of the school year includes signing up for courses and planning other professional learning experiences. Whether this involves graduate seminars, online courses, travel, reading books, writing blog posts, exploring museums, or attending movies, the theater, and lectures, “summer” signals a prime learning time for educators, as well as a season to relax and rejuvenate after a busy school year.

Summer can be a great time for students of all ages to learn in fun and unexpected ways. Rather than experiencing “summer slide” (the loss of learning that can occur over summer vacation) these months can be a time of exploration and discovery. Hopkinton students enjoy summers that are rich in experiential, hands-on learning including:

As Carrie Jasper Director of Outreach to Parents and Families at the U.S. Department of Education advises, parents and other adults can promote summer “brain gain” by acting as a  “learning coach” for their student, planning ways to encourage and challenge children of all ages to continue their academic journey throughout the summer months (“Become an Education Coach”).

The key is to design learning experiences that match your student’s interests and to find ways for them to actively pursue those interests and reflect on their learning in meaningful ways. (Helpful Hint for Parents: Check out MVPS’ Summer Learning strategies, e.g., “Read, Wonder, Question” for PK-K).

Here are some ideas and resources that might be fun for you or your student to explore — along with some great opportunities for summer learning for educators:

HS Students

Elementary & MS Students

Parents & Families


Enjoy the last days of school as you gear up for summer!


Amatucci, Dorothy. “Stopping the Summer Slide.” HomeRoom: The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of of Education (March 2014).

Kapuler, David. “10 Online Summer Learning Opportunities.” Tech & Learning (May 14, 2015).

Madda, Mary Jo. “Summer Brain Gain: 20+ Edtech Learning Opportunities for Educators and Students.” EdSurge (May 21, 2014).

by Colleen Worrell, PhD|Secondary Technology Integration Coordinator at HHS||Twitter @cdworrell
Image credit: Fernanda

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