Winter break is finally here! Get ready to relax and enjoy some extra time at home. Remember, it’s essential to keep students learning during a long break. Even short breaks can cause you to lose some of what you have learned during the semester. And that time off can put you out of your routine, making the first week of school an adjustment period. Here’s a list of tips to keep your mind working and your brain learning while you relax away from school on break.
Carve Out Time to Learn
The best part about learning away from school is that you get to decide what you want to learn. Compile a list of topics that you want to learn about and prioritize the order in which you want to learn them. Then carve out thirty minutes a day researching that topic. You can always switch around the items on your lists in case your interests change, or you discover something new. Who knows, you might like learning about something you never thought you would! New interests will keep students learning!
Play a Word Game
Words can’t be games? Of course they can! Do you remember playing word games in class in elementary school? Challenge yourself to discover how many words you can look up in a day. Explore a dictionary with word origins and go “Origin Hunting.” Look up words that you use daily, words you have read in classes, or even words you have overheard someone say and weren’t sure of the meaning and look up its origin. Then take a word you found and look up that word’s etymology. And then repeat. The fun thing is that it never ends and you can play it whenever you want. There are many fun word games that you can play to keep your brain trained over a break from school. Just use your imagination!
Numbers can be fun, too. You just have to play with them a little. Real numbers, the ones that are all around us every day. Our whole world runs on numbers and what they tell us. From baking cookies to smashing the latest high score in your favorite video game, numbers take center stage. Just like it takes a certain number of cups of flour to make a particular size batch of chocolate chip pancakes, it also takes a certain amount of experience points to get your character to the next level in your game. Ask yourself, “How many times have I used numbers today”? Think about it. The number just might surprise you. Always keep students learning!
Improve Reading Comprehension
Language is a part of everything we know as people. Affixes are a part of almost every word. Learning affixes is a way of improving your reading and language comprehension skills. You can find an old book, one with lots of dust that hasn’t been opened in years and have a look at it. Maybe you want to read it, but you don’t have to; make sure you look at the words. Don’t worry about understanding everything. Simply run your eyes over the pages and see what you find. If you find a word you don’t know, look it up, ask a parent or a friend, or just keep reading. Remember, you make the rules when exploring. The more you understand how words are put together, the easier it is to break down and comprehend words while you read.
Join a Debate Club
There are debates and discussions everywhere, not just in politics or sports. The goal of any debate is to learn from each other, so if you learned something, the discussion was a good one. Look-up a topic you are interested in and see what you find. After doing some reading of a few different sources, stop and consider what you’ve learned and form a flexible opinion around that. It’s ok to have multiple reasons for why you think what you do. Remember, other people may have just as many reasons as to why they disagree with you. It’s ok to disagree, just keep it civil. It’s how we learn.
Encourage Creative Writing
Have you ever considered writing a story? Sit down and do some of your own creative writing. You can create whatever you want, whenever you want, and you get to make the rules. The hardest part of writing is getting started. Start with a story idea, then start filling it with characters., Develop them until you know them better than you know yourself. Pick a setting or a series of environments. Give them a challenge. And then show them the way as you write their story and have a great time doing it. Plot out your story and watch it unfold. When you’re done, you can show your friends and family what you’ve made. Creative writing is a great way to exercise your brain in a different way than writing an essay would.
With so many opportunities for learning over break, there’s no way you’ll ever get bored. From reading to math to writing your own story, you won’t have time to stop and check the clock. The key is attention to your learning. Don’t make it hard, make it fun! Take this time away from school to learn the things YOU want to learn, and when you return you’ll be smarter, happier, and ready for the next challenge. Here are some great resources for your math classes and you can even download some graph paper if you need it! Keep Students Learning … it’s the goal!