School holidays are coming up! Are you sending home a bunch of boring vacation work packet that they will be put on a shelf until the last day before break? Are you sending home nothing and hoping that the family will be sure to keep them reading, and interacting with learning? Where is the happy medium? For my classroom, it was always the Vacation Homework Bingo.
Why should we send anything home with students over school holidays?
Students who do absolutely no “academic thinking” for a week or two will struggle for a day or two upon returning to school. They will be out of practice and then will start out slightly behind those students who spent their days reading books, playing board games, cooking with family members and going to museums. Now, I am the first person to say that experiential learning with families can be as beneficial to students, or more, than the time that is spent in classroom. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we know that not all families have the time, the knowledge or the resources to provide beneficial experiential learning to their students. So teachers generally send home a vacation work packet over school holidays to help give all kids a “level playing field” during those school holidays.
Why shouldn’t we send home vacation work packets during school holidays?
Worksheets are boring. They are boring in the classroom and they are boring out of the classroom. Kids don’t want to do them. So when we send them home, they often don’t get touched until the day before school starts again. Even then, this is generally only because we have offered a bribe. This really doesn’t advance our goals of having kids engaged in academic thinking throughout the break. So instead of worksheets, I always send home my Vacation Bingo.
What are the benefits of Vacation Bingo?
The activities on Vacation Bingo are designed to get students engaged in learning. It’s all about choices and it doesn’t require that students all do every activity. Both online and offline activities are included. Inside and outside of the house experiences are included. There are activities that require little to no parental help. However, there are also activities that parents and siblings can easily engage in with their children. Also, because this is open ended, you can use it with the same class than once! Use it for Thanksgiving Break, Winter Holidays and even Spring Break.
Vacation Bingo makes families who already do these types of things happy because what they are doing can easily be ticked off the bingo and no extra work is required. It makes families who struggle with resources to help students happy because they have simple guidelines to help their student. And not least of all, it makes the school copy budget happy because it only requires one page per kid. Now, the best part? It makes teachers happy because it is FREE forever in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!