Using the Arts to Address Summer Learning Loss

January 26, 2013

Calvin and Hobbes, B. Watterson


What day is it, indeed?
With the holidays passed, and lake effect snow in full swing, it’s hard to imagine a time when our world isn’t covered in an inch of ice. Believe it or not, it will only be a matter of months before the spring thaw begins, state-wide standardized tests are complete, and persistent visions of summer break appear in the minds of students across the country. As a connoisseur of all things relaxing, I can easily relate, but it’s important to note that with this extended period of summer paradise comes the perennial thorn in the side of every educator and parent: summer learning loss. And what exactly is “summer learning loss?”

From Wikipedia:

Summer learning loss is the loss in academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation. The loss in learning varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income. A common finding across numerous studies is that on average, students score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do at the beginning of summer (on the same test).

                For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. All children lose academic skills during the summer months, and family socioeconomic status (SES) is highly correlated to the level of academic growth or decline in the summer months.”

Universally accepted, the best way to address this issue is to keep our students as mentally active as possible during their time off from school. If you’re looking for a way to provide meaningful outlets for creativity, Young Audiences’ teaching artists create academically stimulating fine arts activities designed with common core content standards in mind.

  • Through a partnership between Young Audiences and the Cleveland Institute of Art, students can explore the “rules” of game design to make an original digital or board game that directly connects to curriculum standards.
  • Artist Desmond Davis makes connections between the diverse styles of dance and unique nature of individuals. After comparing the similarities of each dance style, students choreograph  and perform their own original routine.
Desmond Davis

Desmond Davis

  • Robin Pease of Kulture Kids explains to students how to develop compelling characters, settings, and plots. Students use a graphic organizer called STORYBOARD to write and illustrate an original story in comic book format, then use the comic book as a script to create a live performance.
Robin Pease in action.

Robin Pease in action.

Interested in learning more about how to beat the boredom and incorporate fine arts into your summer break programming schedule?  Browse our program guide online or email us at info@yaneo.org.


Celebrate Black History Month through the Arts

January 15, 2013

Sean Jones. Tracy Chapman. Jim Brinkman. Robert Lockwood, Jr.

These talented black musicians should be honored and celebrated all year long, but should especially be noticed in Cleveland during February’s Black History Month as they all have ties to the Greater Cleveland area.*

Front Image- BHM 2012Partner with Young Audiences to bring an artist to your classroom during Black History Month to celebrate the accomplishments of these, and so many other African Americans in the arts and throughout history.

Explore the Harlem Renaissance poetry through dance and movement. Investigate how music reflects the social and political culture of a time period. Study the poetry of Langston Hughes to create artwork that conveys its themes. Young Audiences offers hundreds of customizable programs that enhance learning about Black History through the arts.

President Obama, in “A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement”  shares that we really should be honoring these amazing individuals all year long–we as a nation would not be the same nation without their amazing accomplishments.

Young Audiences couldn’t agree more, which is why all of our programs are available all year long. We look forward to showing your students the importance of Black History through the arts. Contact us today! (info@yaneo.org; 216-561-5005)

*Sean Jones, the Artistic Director of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, was born in Warren, Ohio. 4-time Grammy winner Tracy Chapman was born and raised in Cleveland. Grammy-winner Jim Brinkman grew up in Cleveland and attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case. Robert Lockwood, Jr. brought his blues to Cleveland in 1961 and performed in gigs around the area well into his 90s.