Educators have long lamented what they call “the summer slide,” the lapse in learning during summer break when students can lose skills they picked up during the previous school year.
The slide is obvious in math skills, said Lisa Kessler, a teacher at Oregon’s Coy Elementary School, which houses students from kindergarten through fourth grade.
“We test them in the fall, and they test lower than they did in the spring. We have to start over,” Ms. Kessler said.
Coy teachers decided to do something: They organized a summer math club for their young charges that awards prizes to students who practice math skills at home. The club has attracted 83 students, about a quarter of the school’s enrollment.
The math club ends Aug. 12, eight days before classes resume. The teachers’ hope is through summer practice, the Coy children will retain their “math facts.”
The goal is to get the children to log at least an hour per week during the summer doing arithmetic. From 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, the children, a parent, or both then come into the school, where a panel of teachers receives a form the students fill out listing their practice time.
To date, the children have logged 27,245 math minutes, according to Coy Principal Amy Molnar. The math club started June 17.
“I’m excited by the hope that the kids will come in and remember the facts this year,” Ms. Kessler said.
Each week, the children also collect prizes, which include candy, a bracelet, or dog tags, purchased with money donated by Coy’s parents association. The teachers donate their time.
Math club participants also are entered into a drawing for donated prizes: four Jet Express ferry tickets to Put-in-Bay, Ohio; four tickets to the Toledo Zoo; four Toledo Mud Hens tickets, and a $40 gift card to the movies.
The math exercises are different for each class. Kindergartners are expected to add and subtract zeros and ones; first graders to add and subtract to 10; second graders to add and subtract to 100; third graders to complete 100 addition and subtraction problems in five minutes with no mistakes and then move on to multiplication; and fourth graders to complete 100 multiplication problems in four minutes and 90 division problems in the same amount of time.
Collin Berryman, a fourth grader, said last week he worked at home on his multiplication, division, and subtraction.
“I did all of them,” he said proudly.
His mother, Kelly Berryman, described the math club as “a great idea. It keeps him working this summer. And it’s helped him a lot too.”
Contact Carl Ryan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6095.