10 Ways to Help Students Avoid the COVID-19 Slide

"COVID-19 slide" - 3 months of remote learning followed by 3 months of summer vacation - is primed to make the traditional "summer slide" look tame in comparison. Veteran teacher and Advisory Board Member Tara shares 10 TeacherVision resources for combating yet another pandemic-related challenge to teaching and learning.

10 tips to avoid covid-19 slide

We’ve all heard of the summer slide. After 3 months of summer break, students forget important math concepts and move backwards a reading level or two. Now, after 3 months of distance learning paired with 3 months of summer vacation, we are going to be faced with the COVID-19 slide.

As you wrap up distance learning for this school year, many parents are going to be looking for learning activities to use with their children over the summer. Providing them with a list of resources is a great way to help them keep their children on track to be ready for the next grade level.

Since it’s summer, the students aren’t going to want to do hours of school work each day. That’s why it’s so important to find meaningful resources that practice important skills without taking a lot of time. These 10 activities fit the bill.

1. Daily Warm-Ups

Daily warm-ups are ideal for summer learning because they only take a few minutes to complete. Students read a short passage and answer questions or solve a few math problems to review important concepts. This daily practice will make sure they don’t forget key concepts while they’re away from school.

There are tons of warm-ups covering multiple grade levels for grammar, reading and math on TeacherVision.

2. Choice Boards

A great way to motivate students to practice important skills over the summer is by giving them choices. Some students like to use art to show what they’ve learned while other students prefer to do research and write about it.

Choice boards provide students with lots of different ways they can learn about a topic. They love choosing activities that match their interests.

Check out a selection of choice boards for math, reading, science, and social studies.

3. Math Games

Students learn best when they’re having fun. That’s why math games are a great way to review important skills. Your students can practice their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division facts with flashcard races. They could also play math games, like Prodigy, online.

Fact Monster and Funbrain are great resources for kid-friendly math games.

4. Summer Math Activities

TeacherVision has a whole collection of summer math activities that your students will love. They are available for kindergarten through 6th grade, and they are packed with simple things your students can do at home to review math concepts.

5. Independent Reading

Over the summer, your students should be reading every day. This is the best way to make sure they don’t slide backwards in reading. They should set aside 20 to 30 minutes each day for independent reading. Summer reading lists will give you some great ideas for books to assign or suggest.

You can track their reading progress with a reading response journal. As they read, your students will stop and make notes in their journals. They can write thoughts, ideas, observations, or questions about the book.

For upper grades, you can have the students complete independent reading guides. (TeacherVision has hundreds of these resources, from early reading to YA fiction and classic literature, for all grade levels.) These are organized by genre, and will help to ensure that your students are reading a wide variety of books while they’re away from school. They will read poetry, a novel, nonfiction, a play, a short story, or a myth. Then, they will answer questions about the text. This is a great way to make sure your students are thinking about the books as they are reading.

6. Writing Prompts

It’s also important for your students to practice their writing skills often over the summer. By providing your students with lots of different writing prompts, they can choose ones they like.

Your students will love these fun writing prompts!

7. Scoot Games

Scoot games can be just as fun at home as they are in the classroom. Your students’ parents can cut apart the cards and hide them around the house. Then, your students can find the cards and answer the questions.

There are a variety of fun scoots available for subtraction, addition, and multiplication.

8. Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are lots of fun! Your students will love searching for items around their houses and in their neighborhoods. Just give them a topic and a list of things to find. For example, they could go on a shape scavenger hunt and look for triangles, squares, and circles.

Discover some fun scavenger hunts your students will love!

9. Science Experiments

Science experiments are another type of hand-on learning that your students will enjoy over the summer. They help students practice important skills, like making predictions, making observations, and drawing conclusions while learning about important science topics.

This Science Experiments Printable Book and these Summer Science worksheets will keep your students busy all summer long.

10. Spelling Practice

Knowing how to spell high frequency words will help your students with their reading and their writing. Give your students a list of high frequency words for your grade level and some different ways to practice spelling. They could write the words on their driveways using sidewalk chalk or create a cheer to teach someone how to spell the words.

Find some other ways to have your students practice spelling words.

Bonus: Project-Based Learning

If you want to give your students some in-depth activities that build both academic and social-emotional skills, consider project-based learning. Kids can make glow-in-the-dark slime, fidget spinners, biographical infographics, and design tiny homes. While many of these projects are geared towards groups, they can easily be modified for independent work.

Once you choose some engaging activities for your students to complete over the summer, you have to decide how to get them to your students. You could put them together into a Summer Activities Packet. Then, either give it to them when they pick up their belongings from school or send it to their houses. You could also email the activities to your students so they can print them at home.

I also like to provide some type of incentive for students who complete work over the summer. A little prize or lunch with you when school resumes will work like a charm to keep them learning all summer long while avoiding the COVID-19 slide!

What's your strategy for beating COVID-19 slide? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Tara Dusko is a third grade teacher in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. She's spent the past 14 years finding engaging ways to make her students love learning. When she's not planning lessons for her classroom, she is spending time with her husband and two children or trying out new recipes in the kitchen. Get some tips for reducing the stress of teaching on her blog, Teach Without Tears.

About the author

Tara Dusko


About Tara

Tara Dusko is a reading coach who helps teachers implement a reading workshop model in their classrooms. She previously taught 5th grade for one year and 3rd grade for 13… Read more

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