Summer is no time for slacking

When summer is on, that doesn't mean a student's thinking cap should be off.

Knowledge and skills acquired during the school year fade quickly -- very quickly -- during the summer months. Students begin to forget what they've learned within only 48 hours if they don't apply the new information or have it continually reinforced, education researchers say. Let a month pass with no reinforcement, and students typically forget 80 percent of what they've learned. 

It's no wonder that after a long summer break, a lot of students struggle to catch up. 

At DCIS at Montbello, we prize learning year 'round. Our students and their families know how to have fun -- but not at the expense of academic success. Still, everyone can use some great ideas for keeping the learning alive! We offer summer-learning tips and online resources consistent with our school's international focus and commitments to academic excellence and family involvement.

First, the learning tips 

Read daily.

This is the key to summer learning retention. It's probably the single best thing a student can do to keep his or her mind sharp. Stock up on reading materials for free -- free! -- at the Montbello branch of Denver Public Library

12955 Albrook Dr., or the new Green Valley Ranch branch of DPL 4856 N. Andes Ct. Need tips on how to navigate a library smartly? Here are a few in English and in Spanish. To get friends reading together, consider starting a summer book club for students -- and maybe even their parents, too.

Write often.

Isn't everyone blogging? There are a lot of great blogging tools out there, but we specially recommend EduBlog,  which offers free -- and appropriately secure -- blog space to teachers and students. Students should also consider keeping a journal, where they can document private reflections. And then there are all sorts of other practical things to write every day -- such as thank you notes, grocery lists and invitations to join a book club. 

Make cool stuff.

You'll find one of the world's longest roundups of craft ideas for teenagers on

Be active.

Get moving. Physical activity is great for the mind, body and soul. So, once you're finished reading this, go outside! For ideas about what to do when you get there, visit the Montbello Recreation Center, 15555 East 53rd Ave., and/or the Green Valley Ranch Recreation Center, 4891 Argonne Way.

Serve others.

DCIS at Montbello students are passionate about making a difference in their communities and around the world. Locally, there are a lot of opportunities for public service. Check out the summer camps

being offered by the Green Valley Ranch Metro District. The camps emphasize community service.

Think in more than one language.

If students insist on watching a movie, they should consider adjusting its settings so that they're hearing it in their second or third language. (They could also challenge themselves to read -- there's that word again -- by watching a movie or TV program with closed-captioning or a movie that has subtitles.) 

Think in numbers.

Build a summer garden, and chart its growth. Study the basics of website building -- a skill that we hone at DCIS at Montbello to help our students be excellent and effective communicators.

Now, for those fun things to do online

There are almost countless websites out there worthy of a DCIS at Montbello student's time and attention. But here's a roundup of some of our favorites:

National Geographic for Kids: One of the most engaging views of our world from the Web.

Smithsonian Digging for Answers: Test your research skills.

NASA Quest: Explore concepts in science and engineering. Even design your own human-friendly planet.

My Wonderful World:

CoolMath4Kids: Math quizzes and games for kids of all ages. 

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