Summer break is here. Teachers, parents, and students are thinking about ways to enrich their summer festivities with learning. As stories from history can form great discussions in our everyday conversations, the goal is to allow students freedom of discovery, while at the same time encouraging content engagement. Below are some very simple, yet specific recommendations to help student learning as the warmth and welcome relaxation of the summer arrives.
- Local library: Fun and free activities abound at one’s local public library. Many libraries in Texas have specific summer reading programs to encourage student literacy. Students may find that books on an historical era, event, or person provide excellent stories for consideration. Parents should ask students about their interests and whether something they learned in school continues to fascinate them. Remember that wonder and imagination are the beginnings of knowledge.
- Family trips: Many families are able to travel during the summer break. One way to bring history to these family-fun-times is to plan ahead. Our great state of Texas has tons of historical places to visit—San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Fort Worth, to name just a few. all offer places of historical significance. Make an activity out of it. Sometimes a real gem is right off the road one is traveling. Using cities and towns as a text is not only fun, it helps reinforce the memory of events that occurred in those places.
- Family tree projects: Perhaps families have men and women of historical significance in their own history. Our own stories are most interesting to us since they, in no small manner, shaped who we are today. Using one’s own family history is a way to engage student learning about the past while learning about where we came from.
- Encourage conversation and dialogue: If we want students to learn and keep learning, we should encourage them to be inquisitive. If they see we are interested in their questions, they will be interested in learning more.
- Historical Reenactments: There is nothing like seeing history come to life. See if there are any local historical reenactments or historical villages in your area.