Spring break is fast approaching or already here – as you and your students are probably well aware! Even though it’s only a week, learning loss can still occur and slow your classroom’s progress when students return. Whether you make it extra credit or a required activity, offer your students some fun things they can do while on break that will encourage learning outside the classroom.
A safe, and always relevant stand by is assigning students a book to read. You can choose a book for the entire class, create a reading list that students can pick from, or just ask that students read a book of their choosing and write a one page paper explaining the book and why they chose it. This is a nice way to ensure that students will continue with some thought work outside of school, without creating too much of a burden.
Another idea is to offer credit for volunteer experiences. High school students can sign up in advance for an Alternative Spring Break and take a service trip to another state or country during their break time. Habitat for Humanity offers one week trips year round for students aged 16 and older, as do many other organizations.
For those who are staying closer to home, most medium to large cities boast several museums. Ask students to visit the museum most pertinent to your subject area. Visit the museum ahead of time yourself and assign students different exhibits to write a short report about. Or ask students to visit some of your city’s smaller museums that they may not have been to before. For example, any museum related to women’s history (Cleveland has a Women in Aviation museum), art-specific museums (the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts) or historic homes (Frank Lloyd Wright’s original home and studio space near Chicago). Other cultural experiences you can ask your students to attend include live theater or music venues.
If you want to be more budget-minded, have students walk through their neighborhood or a local park and write or sketch their thoughts and/or observations. This is a great way to encourage mindfulness and ensure that your students spend time outside and away from screens while out of school!
Lastly, don’t forget about yourself! Challenge yourself to visit at least one place you’ve never been. You don’t have to travel far – as mentioned above, just check out one of your cities’ smaller, independent museums or public spaces. Or take a fitness or painting class that you haven’t had time for but are interested in trying.
Enjoy your break!