I am teaching summer school for the first time (8th to 9th graders - Math). I am use to having kids for 50 min periods. Summer school is a 3.5 hours class with a 10 minute break in the middle. Today was my third day. WOW - it is so hard to fill 3.5 hours. I've blended instruction with quiet book work, partner worksheets, bingo, jeopardy, board problems, and yet by the second hour they are tired, bored, and restless. Mixing in a game works but then to go back to more instruction after that is rough. Any Suggestions???

That's pretty much how we do it in my school as well: 2hours, half hour break, 2 hours. To be honest, I work their little fannies off. I don't do games or let them work together... there simply isn't enough time. We spend the first session doing "Part II" type questions-- the longer problems that would normally require showing work. I present a type, do one or two, then give them a few to do. Then I move on to the next topic. After the break, we work on "Part I" questions-- the type that is normally multiple choice. I give them old exams, worksheets, whatever. Homework is normally one or two of each of the types of Part II's we've done, along with some part I's. In our school, summer school is a 5 day session. On the last day, the kids have to take a comprehensive exam. If they fail, they have failed out. That normally helps keep their attention.

I am not a HS teacher, but I took summer school myself in HS to make room for more activities. I never took a math class, but we always had some group activities to break the day up. Is it possible to assign the groups different parts of a chapter and have them teach it to the rest of the class. You could give them a format to follow that would help (definitions & theorems, do two examples on the board, ask the class to guide you in the next problem, have the class do 3 problems on their own and check their work). This may not work, but it is a suggestion

We suck everything out of these kids all year and then expect them to be up to going to summer school. It is a difficult thing to do at times. Are you breaking up your lessons in multiple "mini-lessons" of no more than say 15-20 min each? What about brainteasers in math where they have to solve one or create one for another group to try to solve, with some sort of prize offered, either points leading up to a party at the end or whatever might interest them? There are some good computer math web sites if you have access to computers in which they can play against the computer to brush up on basic skills if they are lacking. In one of my 5th grade math classes they had to create a stock portfolio for a company of their choice, researching it on the NYSE web site, following the stocks for 2 weeks and graphing the rise and fall; the brochure incorporated writing in that the students had to try to convince future investors to invest and they also had to explain the change in the graphs. This could probably work for any grade level depending on what they needed to work on. Hope this helps.

All great suggestions!! The kids I have are not at summer school to earn a grade or credit - there are here because they scored real low on the FCAT (state comp exam) and are targeted for remedial skills. The majority are NOT the most studious students as it is. I don't have computers but do give candy for volunteers who do a long problem on the board or win a round of math bingo, etc. I will try some of these suggestions - THANKS!

To get them up and moving around, set up problems around the board, with clues as to where they are to go for their next problem, sort of like a scavenger hunt. Give them clipboards and calculators, stagger what numbers they start at so no two are at the same problem, if there is enough room, or have them work in small teams, pairing up stronger and weaker students. Math relays in which they are on teams, solving problems, but also physically having to finish a race work well. Chalk problems outside - even with the older kids this works well.