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Enhancing Summer Learning: Teachers Weigh In

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By guest blogger Madeline Will

Ah, summertime. Fond memories of childhood summer vacations spent at the pool aside, the education community still has a lot to talk about in terms of finding solutions to the problem of summer learning loss.

There's plenty of research showing that students lose significant amounts of learning over the summer. Teachers say they spend about a month reteaching old material to catch students up after summer break, based on a 2013 survey we reported on last year. And just recently, Michelle Obama has even weighed in on the issue, encouraging students to make the most of their summers.

Education Week and Education Week Teacher hosted a Twitter chat July 16 with educators about how to better enhance summer learning—for students and teachers themselves. A number of topics were discussed, including who's responsible for summer learning, how teachers address the summer slide in the fall, and the value of summer assignments. Check out the Storify at the bottom of this post to get some of the responses.

Meanwhile, teacher Christina Dunkin Evans suggests in a new op-ed for Education Week the best solution is to alter the entire idea of summer vacation.

"I think that shorter 2-4 week breaks, spread throughout the year, would give students a balance of time to rest, reflect, and experience enriching activities without the potential harm of undoing the work of the rest of the school year," she writes. Dunkin Evans argues that some of the reasons for the country's attachment to summer break range from adult nostalgia to a reluctance to ask families to make such a significant change to even the summer camp lobby.

What do you think? Is it time to revamp the school calendar? Are there other ways to boost summer learning? Let's continue the discussion in the comments section below the Storify.

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