PBS in the Classroom

Tips for Using Summer Resources All Year Round

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The PBS Summer of Possibilities Collection provides educators and families with a toolkit, much like the teacher planning kits, that support student academic and social-emotional learning. Whether you're looking for music and dance activities, science experiments, family-friendly adventures, or learning about animals (plus more!), you will find media and activity resources in the Summer Camp PBS LearningMedia collection. We’ve gathered fun, exploratory resources for you to use as you plan summer fun. This collection of resources leverages fun, educational activities to include in your daily schedule, as well as resources to help seed ideas for introducing topics to your campers. Happy exploring! 

Engaging, fun and themed resources to shine throughout summer

Summer programs are a great avenue to embed academics through high engagement activities and experiences. In my role as site coordinator of an afterschool program, we offer a six-week summer program in June and July that focuses on weekly themed-activities, clubs, and field trips. We also offer distance-learning opportunities for students in the month of August. This collection was incredibly easy to use and embed into our program model as it contained a wide variety of content with more than 300 resources including videos, lesson plans, and interactives/games.

Educators can explore the range of possibilities 

The Summer of Possibilities Collection includes resources that could be adapted for a variety of summer program or school year structures. This collection could be utilized by PreK-5th grade teachers in a traditional format by instructors leading camps and in a distance-learning model by virtual teachers or families. In addition, there are 128 Spanish language resources (i.e., printables, videos, activities) available. I am excited to share how I utilized this collection with students ages five through eight during our face-to-face program which consisted of weekly-themed activities, a club run by a community vendor and later in a distance-learning model.

Explore a wide variety of fun activities to engage young learners 

When creating weekly-themed content within a traditional summer school or learning model, teachers could leverage this collection’s two main types of printable resources. The PBS KIDS Summer Activity Booklet is a great resource if you would like a printable with a variety of themes for students ages 2-8.

Tyson writing about the traits of a good friend.

If you are looking for printable activities custom tailored to your classroom's age range by themes, PBS also offers weekly-themed printables for students in grades PreK-K and 1st-2nd.  

At our site we have rising Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second grade students. The PBS KIDS Summer Activity Booklet allowed us to focus on content at a broader range of ages. This resource was designed for students in PreK through 2nd Grade. We introduced our weekly theme of “Friends & Neighbors” content by sharing the videos in this Daniel Tiger: Life’s Little Lessons resource. Afterwards, students took turns describing moments when they were a good friend or had a good friend in their lives. To reflect on their knowledge, students completed the “Traits of a Good Friend” writing activity.

Year-round youth clubs that promote learning and give children a voice 

Offering students learning opportunities in a club format encourages more student engagement as they often have opportunities for their voice to be heard and have choices in the offerings presented. Our students experience year-round clubs that focus on embedding academics through high-engagement activities and social-emotional learning. A physical movement club we offer is Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art club run by our community service provider, Mestre Lobinho. An expert in the field, Mestre Lobinho successfully embeds music, physical movement and Brazlian language learning to create a dynamic club. 

The PBS Summer of Possibilities collection offers media that would be a great addition to any club. After participating in Capoeira club, students watched the Capoeira Demonstration video. The video helped facilitate a lively student-led discussion on movements they recognized from their club and questions about what it might be like for Mestre Lobinho to do Capoeira as a grown-up!

Creating digital connections with families 

The summer distance-learning model is another result of pandemic schooling for many educators. Within the collection, there is a June, July and August calendar of activities that allow families a visual schedule to keep kids engaged. When our face-to-face summer program ends, we will transition to a distance learning model. The Play Your Way! Calendar is a great resource to continue supporting kids learning at home. Digitally sent through  our various media platforms, families with access to technology can click on the links for any given day to find a weekly themed “activity, craft, or video” resource. The resources can be used at any time as they choose what adventures to explore at their own pace.

A virtual Art Night to spark creativity 

To kick off our distance learning activities, we will host a virtual Art Night which will include the video What is Art? | Young Explorers, activities from the Art packet, and a fun read aloud! The activities in the packet can be done with any basic school supplies, but we partnered with a local art organization to provide students with their own art boxes so they can dive deep into this resource!

Use these curated resources to scaffold media into your lessons. This can increase student engagement and build community as you close out your summer programs and plan for the school year! 

​Abigail VanBuhler

​Abigail VanBuhler Site Coordinator & PBS All-Star

Abigail VanBuhler (she/her) is a site coordinator with Eastern Michigan University’s Bright Futures 21st CCLC after school program. In her role, she serves Kindergarten and First Grade youth and their families within the structure of a 32-week after school program and six-week summer program. As a PBS Digital Innovator All Star 2020, she has a wide variety of experiences utilizing and creating content with PBS LearningMedia for youth in grades PreK-2.

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