Distance learning forces teachers to alter summer assignments

Benjy Chait

With distance learning of the academic year coming to a close, how summer assignments will be coordinated comes into question. Teachers are modifying their summer assignments to fit the new needs of the student body. 

Summer assignments for English classes will be shorter and more uniform. English teacher Joseph Welch said that unlike in the past, “this year, we have changed things up a little in hopes to increase participation and relevance. The assignment will look pretty much the same for each grade level,” and that they will consist of “essential questions for the first unit, one short story to read (rather than a book), and will be asked to submit a journal-like reflection.” These submissions will be online, and they will help teachers to get to know the reading lives of their students.

Science Teacher Lauren Trujillo isn’t assigning summer projects. Trujillo said, “unless it’s a course that requires prerequisite knowledge that was not able to be hit on during the school year, I do not see a need, [because] assigning a biology project will not necessarily help you in chemistry.”

Likewise, World Languages Department Chair Amy Wopat said, “I usually recommend that students spend time traveling, participating in summer language programs when possible, or working/volunteering where Spanish is spoken,” but because of the coronavirus, she will be “planning to offer activities that will allow those students who need or want some extra support to keep practicing.” She encourages students to continue practicing their languages, despite “less access to others with whom they would normally practice.”

Unlike other departments, the math department is staying continuous with its online summer assignments. Math Teacher Dale Glasspiegel says that “just like prior years, the math department is assigning a collection of concepts on Delta Math.” Even though students will have more time than ever this summer due to closure of camps and travel, “not everyone would benefit from increased online assignments,” so the department has decided to keep them the same as last year.