What do you do with your summer vacation? Do you actually get free time? I have what you might call a quasi vacation. I may head out to the pool with my kids, but I often sit at a table working on my laptop. Of course, I do make time to enjoy the water, and I like to take short walks in the evening. We all need downtime to rest our minds. How else can we draw out new ideas or be in tune with our learners’ needs?
Vacations also offer opportunities for unhurried work and exploration. Teachers can take on certain tasks that we had trouble making time for in previous months. For example, we might organize a pile of papers that has become quite high. A quiet hour might allow us the chance to read some new blog posts or check out a new educational app. Click here for more ideas.
As for students, there are fun tasks they could take on as part of their independent learning. If you have a way to connect with new and old students on social media, you might suggest one of these ideas for summer fun. Most tasks are for those studying/living in the U.S., but the types of outings may inspire your own suggestions.
1. Go to a farmer’s market. If you don’t know what something is or you don’t see a price, ask. If you don’t see a certain fruit or vegetable, ask if the vendors if they grow it. The point is to have a short exchange…and get fresh produce!
2. Go to two or three different farmer’s markets. Write a short review online comparing the markets. Share it with friends.
4. Go to a yard sale. Take only a small amount of money with you, for example, five dollars. Try bargaining and see how much you can get for five dollars.
6. Visit the local library. Most public libraries have a summer schedule of events. Encourage students to attend free presentations. My town has invited a range of experts, from a bee keeper to masters of Reniassance and Medieval swordsmanship.
7. Watch a box office hit. Find out what entertainment sources are listing as the best movies of the summer. Invite a friend and check one out.
8. Go hiking. Find out online what hiking trails are in your area. Don’t go alone. Do the right preparation with your trail partners and read tips (in English!) for safety and survival. The Washington Trails Association has posted information on Hiking Basics.
9. Stick to city tours. If hiking in nature isn’t your thing, check online for walking tours. Some historic trails are well marked, and they’re free. Take the time to read posted information.
10. Make a wish list and start fulfilling each wish. Ask those who know the local culture well what they associate with summer. It can be a food, a place, or an event. Keep track of the most interesting answers, and try to experience everything firsthand! One student might have a list of foods to try: homemade ice cream, lemonade from a lemonade stand, cotton candy, and fried dough. Another student might have a list of actions to try: a cannon ball dive into a pool, a ride on a boogie board at the beach, and a water balloon toss.