This week is spring break for San Francisco’s public schools, which means students get a brief change of routine before going back to their spring semester classes.
But taking a break from the classroom doesn’t necessarily mean the learning stops. In fact, the change in routine can reinforce what kids have been studying in school. The time off is the perfect chance to show your child how what he or she learns in school relates to the everyday world around us.
Become a Giant reader
- Is your child a Giants fan? Opening Day is around the corner. You can point out San Francisco Examiner articles and find books in the library written about our championship team. Does your family take in movies during the break? Before heading to the theater, have your child read a review of the movie and afterward ask your child to write a review. If you’re more outdoorsy, when planning a hike or picnic take time to read a map of the park together.
Leave things around
- At home, have newspapers, magazines and books on the table to spark your child’s interest. Children are naturally curious, and will choose good reading material if it’s available.
Do math on Muni
- If you’re taking Muni, you can have your child count the number of people on the bus and then the number of males and the number of females, then try to calculate the fraction of males on board (extra credit for figuring out what percentage of the riders are female). At the grocery store, weigh the fruit you are buying and ask your child to figure out how much it will cost based on the price per pound — the suspense at the checkout counter to see the actual amount might make the trip more interesting. Or on a long car trip, you can tell your child the speed you are driving and the distance of the trip, then together you can figure out how many minutes it will take to reach your destination.
Be a storyteller
- Use spring break as a chance to share fun stories from your own childhood. Perhaps talking about a favorite teacher you had will spark a conversation about your child’s teacher or a special staff member. Talking about what your child likes about school can help the transition back to the classroom next week.
Most importantly, remember that you are your child’s first teacher. Taking time to do a quick math problem just for fun, finding something interesting to read, and talking about school shows your child that his or her education — inside and outside the classroom — is important to you.
Richard A. Carranza is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.