TNCS Spanish Immersion Camp 2018 Features Talented Guest Instructor from Spain!

Even after the official school year ends, summertime at The New Century School is no less full of wonderful adventures in the Arts; physical activity; and, especially, language-learning. TNCS has run summer day camps for several years and has hands-down the most diverse line-up of camps available in Baltimore for 2018.

Among the most popular TNCS summer camps are the Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language immersion camps. TNCS specializes in language-learning during the school year, but immersive camps are the best way to preempt the diminution of knowledge and skills that can happen over summer (known as “summer slide”) by providing a fun, engaging environment to practice in. Moreover, the cultural themes and activities explored during camps—like cooking, game-playing, singing, and dancing—boost and round out that knowledge, making it more meaningful and whole by connecting it to real life and real people.

In addition to being great opportunities not found elsewhere in Baltimore, they’re also just plain fun!

And, this year’s 2-week Spanish camp promises to be even more extra special, as TNCS welcomes Begoña Tocino Bredberg as guest instructor, all the way from Gävle, Sweden (although she is a native of Avilés, Spain). She comes to TNCS thanks to her relationship with Admissions Director Dominique Sanchies, who has worked with Sra. Bredberg through the education tour company Education First (EF). With EF, Sra. Bredberg has accompanied Spanish students to the United Stated to practice English, and she has stayed in close contact with Mrs. Sanchies ever since.

Meet Begoña Tocino Bredberg!

Living in Sweden, Sra. Bredberg has “[become] a la10402881_10204140141889513_8716699874326478148_n.jpgnguage learner again,” she says. “I have developed a better understanding of what it means learning to speak a new language. It is by being on both sides how a teacher develops their best teaching. My belief is that a teacher’s focus should be on the learning, i.e. how the learner learns. By doing this, the teaching will achieve the best results. Last but not least, it is communication that helps a better understanding, in all layers of work or life itself,” she explained.

She currently teaches English and Spanish language courses at the Swedish high school Vallbacksskolan and was at Murgårdsskolan 7-9 before that (in addition to having taught in the United Kingdom as well as Spain). When she first arrived in Sweden, her first teaching position was at the Internationella Engelska Skolan which is part of a network of bilingual schools created by American teacher Barbara Bergström. Sra. Bredberg also writes Teaching & Learning English—Enseñar y Apprender Español, a blog about language-learning that includes tons of helpful resources.

She comes to TNCS having just completed the Transatlantic Educator’s Dialogue program at the University of Illinois, a program “for educators in the United States of America and the European Union to come together online for shared exploration and examination of a variety of educational topics, such as immigration, religion in education, active teaching methods and issues related to identity and difference. TED represents a unique experience in educational diplomacy and facilitates the exploration of new and diverse cultures. It is also a fantastic chance to build networks with European colleagues and foster global learning opportunities.”

The program coordinator, Jeremie Smith, had this to say of Sra. Bredberg: “Begoña Tocino Bredberg is a passionate educator that has dedicated her life to helping young people develop language skills and knowledge essential to living in a global society.”

Additional high praise comes from some of her former students, who credit her with “making them smart,” “making them smile,” and “making them do their homework”!

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Even with all of her experience and credentials, you’ll get the best impression of Sra. Bredberg from this salutation she wrote to her soon-to-be TNCS campers:

Hola, chicos y chicas!
My name is Begoña Tocino Bredberg, and I will be sharing a summer camp week with you full of exciting activities, where you will be able to practice Spanish with me. You will learn more about my country as well as what kids of your age do to enjoy themselves. I come from the north of Spain, but I lived in Madrid for many years. Now I live in Gävle, a medium-sized town in Sweden, the north of Europe. I live with my 15-year-old daughter and my Swedish husband. Naturally, we like to go to Spain in the summer. Here in Gävle, I teach Spanish to students who, like you, want to be able to communicate in Spanish with other kids and learn more about Spanish-speaking countries.

I like teaching and interacting with young kids. I’m enthusiastic, flexible, out-going, curious, and friendly. I like reading and traveling, and my favorite sport is swimming.

I truly look forward to learning many things from you.

Ready to register your chicos y chicas? It’s easy—simply click here to be taken to TNCS’s camp registration page and ensure that your kids will make the most of summer 2018!

¡Hasta el verano!

Resources and Tips to Avoid the Summer Slide in 2017!

Since its opening for the 2010–2011 school year, The New Century School has annually offered resources to families to help prevent the “summer slide” phenomenon that can happen to kids over summer break when they might be less academically engaged than during the school year and lose scholastic ground as a consequence. Although this problem disproportionately affects underserved communities, it is nevertheless felt to a certain degree across the board, as teachers find themselves re-teaching concepts that were learned the previous year and then forgotten. Some research has shown that students can lose as much as 3 months of reading and math achievement over the course of just one summer. (See Making Summer Count for more details on relevant studies.)

The best way to slow the summer slide, according to the research, is to provide students with resources and educational activities. Head of School Alicia Danyali provides the following ideas:

1.  Visit museums with your child/ren. Between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore there is an abundance of great, educational opportunities. Depending on the age of the child, together or independently, visit the museum website prior to the visit. If the museum has dedicated tabs for educators or parents, peruse to get ideas of a focus for activities to make the experience a learning one.

2.  Reading is key in the summer to encourage and reinforce a love of reading in spare time, as well as discussions related to comprehension and how authors can open a wide range of interests.  Visit the library weekly and allow your child/ren to choose books of interest. Forming a summer “book club” can bring like-minded kids together to make it a rewarding experience.

3.  Whether it is on car rides to camp, the grocery store, at breakfast, or together time, play language, math, and vocabulary games to keep skills fresh.  If you are comfortable with online platforms (elementary and up) for introducing or reinforcing topics of interest or need, Khan Academy is one of the best with its interactive and descriptive teaching tools (video, examples) built into practice.

4. We encourage you to have your child work through a supplemental workbook selected by your child’s teacher over the summer. The books are published through Singapore Math and align with the backbone curriculum taught at TNCS. They will be collected and reviewed in the first week of next school year. Parents are encouraged to review work completed periodically to ensure students are staying on the right track. Order one here.

To point #2, making sure children have access to books is something Enoch Pratt Free Library is all about in summer. Their former “Summer Reading Program” has become the Summer Reading Challenge for 2017, the challenge being to “Build a Better World.” The challenge incentivizes kids to read, read, and read some more during summer, offering related activities and even prizes.

Señora Sanzana offered these tips for continued Spanish language learning (in addition to what is shown below):

  • One way is reading: Scholastic’s Spanish website offers many titles for young  readers that can be purchased at a low  cost.
  • Pekegits.com is also an amazing website where you will be able to  find readings, tales, games, and grammar  review.

Websites by Category

TNCS students have been introduced to multiple websites throughout the year. These are either free, inexpensive, or can be easily accessed. The children should be familiar with their log-in information because they are familiar with these websites.

Math

Math skills can also be lost without regular practice. Here are websites that TNCS students can use during the summer months:

Language Arts

After TNCS students have worked very hard on their reading and comprehension all year long, to keep these skills sharp, try to read with your child each day and ask questions or talk about what you have read together. Here are suggested lists of unforgettable books, differentiated by grades:

And here are websites:

World Languages

To keep current on both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese skills, your kids can visit the following websites (they will already know their log-in information for some of these):

Handwriting

 Students entering grades 3 and higher are expected to write in cursive. We recommend having your students continue writing throughout the summer. A fun way to do this is to have them write to friends and relatives. There are also handwriting workbooks that try to make the task fun or valuable. Here are two such books, available on Amazon:

Wacky Sentences Handwriting Workbook

Cursive Writing Practice: Inspiring Quotes

Typing Skills

There are a number of great apps and sites that will help to teach typing in a fun way, for students who are not yet typing by touch. This skill becomes more valuable as students advance in school.

Finally, see Hit the Ground Learning in Summer 2016 with TNCS-Approved Resources! for additional websites and resources differentiated by age for keeping English Language Arts, Math, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish skills sharp over the summer.

The TNCS elementary team looks forward to seeing their students back for the 2017–2018 school year, refreshed and ready to once more hit the ground learning!

Hit the Ground Learning in Summer 2016 with TNCS-Approved Resources!

Since its inception in 2010, The New Century School has annually offered resources to families to help prevent the “summer slide” phenomenon that can happen to kids over summer break when they might be less academically engaged than during the school year and lose scholastic ground as a consequence. Although this problem disproportionately affects underserved communities, it is nevertheless felt to a certain degree across the board, as teachers find themselves re-teaching concepts that were learned the previous year and then forgotten. Some research has shown that students can lose as much as 3 months of reading and math achievement over the course of just one summer. (See Making Summer Count for more details on relevant studies.)

tncs-resources-to-avoid-summer-slide

Enoch Pratt’s Summer Reading program awards prizes to kids who fulfill a specified reading requirement and also offers the chance to “read down” your library fines!

The best way to slow the summer slide, according to the research, is to provide students with resources and educational activities. For summer 2016, TNCS’s elementary teachers compiled their own special set, curated especially for TNCS students. They also remind parents that summer is the ideal time to take trips to museums and libraries, get involved in organized activities, and making sure kids have access to books. In fact, Enoch Pratt library offers a wonderful summer reading program to incentivize kids to read, read, and read some more during summer. See Summer Reading Program for more information.

Language Arts

After TNCS students have worked very hard on their reading and comprehension all year long, to keep these skills sharp, try to read with your child each day and ask questions or talk about what you have read together. Here are suggested lists of unforgettable books, differentiated by grades*:

*The TNCS elementary team says: “Please remember, each child’s reading level develops at different rates. Some of these titles or authors may seem too easy or too difficult for your child. If your child picks a book you think may be too hard, have him/her read a full page aloud to you. If there are five or more mistakes while reading, the book is probably too difficult. If there are fewer than five errors, the book seems to be a good fit!”

(If your child is having more than a little difficulty with reading, Teresa Jacoby recommends Loyola University of Maryland Clinical Center’s summer reading programs, which can be accessed here.)

Another list comes from 4th- and 5th-grade TED-Ed Club Members, who shared the books that they’ve recently read and want to recommend to other kids their age: “TED-Ed’s Summer Reading List: 31 great books for students, chosen by students.”

TNCS students have also been introduced to multiple easy-to-access language arts websites. The students will be familiar with their log-in information, having spent time on them throughout the prior school year. These include:

Spanish

For Raz-kids in Spanish, the students will  log in to their accounts, click on the book room icon, and then select the Spanish level reader tab.

Chinese

To keep current on Mandarin Chinese skills, your kids can visit the following websites (they will already know their log-in information for some of these):

Math

Math skills can also be lost without regular practice. Here are websites that TNCS students can use during the summer months:

The TNCS elementary team looks forward to seeing their students back for the 2016–2017 school year, refreshed and ready to hit the ground learning!

TNCS-Approved Resources: Avoid the Summer Slide!

Since its inception in 2010, The New Century School has annually offered resources to families to help prevent the “summer slide” phenomenon that can happen to kids over summer break when they might be less academically engaged than during the school year and lose scholastic ground as a consequence. Although this problem disproportionately affects underserved communities, it is nevertheless felt to a certain degree across the board, as teachers find themselves re-teaching concepts that were learned the previous year and then forgotten. Some research has shown that students can lose as much as 3 months of reading and math achievement over the course of just one summer. (See Making Summer Count for more details on relevant studies.)

TNCS-preventing-summer-slide

Enoch Pratt’s Summer Reading program awards prizes to kids who fulfill a specified reading requirement and also offers the chance to “read down” your library fines!

The best way to slow the summer slide, according to the research, is to provide students with resources and educational activities. For summer 2015, TNCS’s elementary teachers compiled their own special set, curated especially for TNCS students. They also remind parents that summer is the ideal time to take trips to museums and libraries, get involved in organized activities, and making sure kids have access to books. In fact, Enoch Pratt library offers a wonderful summer reading program to incentivize kids to read, read, and read some more during summer. See Summer Reading Program for more information.

Language Arts

After TNCS students have worked very hard on their reading and comprehension all year long, to keep these skills sharp, try to read with your child each day and ask questions or talk about what you have read together. Here are suggested lists of unforgettable books, differentiated by grades*:

*The TNCS elementary team says: “Please remember, each child’s reading level develops at different rates. Some of these titles or authors may seem too easy or too difficult for your child. If your child picks a book you think may be too hard, have him/her read a full page aloud to you. If there are five or more mistakes while reading, the book is probably too difficult. If there are fewer than 5 errors, the book seems to be a good fit!”

Another list comes from 4th- and 5th-grade TED-Ed Club Members, who shared the books that they’ve recently read and want to recommend to other kids their age: “TED-Ed’s Summer Reading List: 31 great books for students, chosen by students.”

TNCS students have also been introduced to multiple easy-to-access language arts websites. The students will be familiar with their log-in information, having spent time on them throughout the prior school year. These include:

Math

Math skills can also be lost without regular practice. Here are websites that TNCS students can use during the summer months:

World Languages

To keep current on both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese skills, your kids can visit the following websites (they will already know their log-in information for some of these):

The TNCS elementary team looks forward to seeing their students back for the 2015–2016 school year, refreshed and ready to hit the ground learning!

Help TNCS Support Pratt’s Summer Reading Program!

The New Century School is pleased to be helping Enoch Pratt Free Library and Pratt Contemporaries get the word out about their summer reading programs to prevent the loss of academic ground known as “summer slide” that can occur when school is out and students lack scholastic materials to stay engaged with. “In 2014, more than 38,500 kids participated in Pratt’s summer programs, with more than 15,800 children enrolled in the cornerstone Summer Reading Program. According to last year’s records, kindergarten through 5th-grade participants logged more than 5.2 million minutes of reading, and teen participants read over 8,000 books,” said Pratt’s Deputy Director of Institutional Advancement, Shelly Terranova.

Studies show that reading helps reduce the academic loss that is “nearly impossible to make up, compounds over time, and particularly impacts children in underserved communities.” (Read more about summer slide in Making Summer Count—Weekly Camps at TNCS.) Pratt’s 9-week Summer Reading Program encourages kids to keep reading during the summer months by making it fun with incentives (see below) and an annual theme. This year’s theme is “Every Hero Has a Story.” Participants are treated to performances by musicians, dancers, magicians, storytellers, authors, illustrators, and cartoonists. The program runs through August 8th.

Says Pratt Contemporaries board member and TNCS mom Jung Lieu, “Our focus is on funding children’s programs at the library and promoting child literacy. Many Baltimore city libraries serve as a safe haven for children, especially in underserved communities.” For just $60 each, you can sponsor one or more children for a whole summer’s worth of library programs. Footage from last year shows just how wonderful this program really is.

This year, however, brings even more compelling reasons to become a sponsor. “I think the Summer Reading Program campaign this year is very timely because of recent unrest in Baltimore city, and this is a way for us to be able to have a positive impact in these children’s lives and promote education as the solution,” said Mrs. Lieu. TNCS will be coordinating various community outreach efforts on an ongoing basis, but in the meantime, please consider sponsoring one or more children this summer.

Another great way to participate is by registering your own pre-K to rising 5th-grade children, who can win prizes (not to mention keep their brains fit) just by reading! Visit http://www.prattlibrary.org/home/summerreadingkids.aspx for details on how to register at your local library branch, see what fun prizes your kids can win, access suggested reading lists, and download a free tracker to chart your child’s progress. Got library fines? You can even read them away!

Finally, here are Tips for reading as a family from Baltimore City Schools for promoting reading as a daily activity.

Making Summer Count—Weekly Camps at TNCS

No more pencils, no more books, no more . . . development?

Empty classroom, empty heads

This forlorn image is a disturbing visual metaphor for the blankness that can descend on kids’ brains without enriching activities to occupy them during extended school breaks.

Pop culture would have us believe that summer is a time of sanctioned hedonism—a 9-week-long cannonball into a pool of unrestricted play, unbroken by stints of focused study. A vacation for the brain. Such is how many of us grew up, in fact.

But before we let our kids’ hair completely down this coming summer, we’d do well to consider that more and more researchers agree that throwing academics to the wind for such an extended period is hurting kids’ cognitive development as well as reversing their academic progress. In fact, in Lasting Consequences of the Summer Learning Gap, a 2007 report, researchers not only categorically demonstrated that this regression was occurring, but also found that it’s cumulative, so that the time squandered during the elementary years shows up as marked deficits in the high school years:

We find that the . . . achievement gap at 9th grade mainly traces to differential summer learning over the elementary years.

This was the major finding from the Johns Hopkins University’s Beginning School Study (BSS), which launched in 1982 and tracked testing data, learning patterns, high school placement, high school completion, college attendance, and other indicators among a representative sample of Baltimore school children from first grade through age 22 years.

A related report from the National Summer Learning Association finds that “A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately 2 months or roughly 22% of the school year . . . It’s common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills.”

Keep your kids off the summer slide!

On the heels of these sister benchmark studies, both President Obama and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell took up arms in the fight against “summer slide.” President Obama argues for education reform with a longer school year at the heart of this platform. Noting that U.S. students attend classes, on average, about a month less than children in most other advanced countries, he said in a 2010 interview, “That month makes a difference. It means students are losing a lot of what they learn during the school year during the summer . . . The idea of a longer school year, I think, makes sense!”

In Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell urges us to rethink our notion of what makes someone successful, because according to him, it isn’t usually the individual gifts a person is endowed with but rather some special opportunity that befell him or her at an optimal point. Wouldn’t it be great if such opportunities were more broadly available, such as, say, summer camp? (In point of fact, the BSS found that “unequal access to summer learning [italics mine] opportunities during the elementary school years” is responsible for most of the achievement gap. Scary.) Tying this to academic performance, Gladwell writes, the “only problem with school, for kids who aren’t achieving, is that there isn’t enough of it.”

Inquiring minds

This inquisitive little girl is all set to explore some insect life!

If, as he believes, “It is not the brightest who succeed, nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. . .  Outliers are those who have been given opportunities—and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them,” then let’s seize back those June, July, and August weeks and help our kids make the most of them!

How to let them have fun while they learn: summer camp at TNCS

Lisa Warren, Language Curriculum Specialist

Lisa Warren, Language Curriculum Specialist

The New Century School Summer Camp Director Lisa Warren says, “Camp is still a ‘break’ from the school year, but it keeps bodies and minds engaged in a fun way.” (You might recognize Ms. Warren from “Language Curriculum Specialist Joins TNCS.” That’s right, she’s not only the TNCS Summer Camp Director, but also the Foreign Language Curriculum Specialist as well as the Lingo Leap Program Director. That’s one devoted educator!)

As camp director, Ms. Warren developed the themes each weekly camp will be based on, making sure to include a wide variety to appeal to many interests. “I’m especially excited about the construction theme,” she said. “That’s a unique one you don’t always see, but so many kids love it.” She also provides the educational resources and some activity ideas to the instructors who will be overseeing each camp. Most camp instructors are already part of TNCS staff, so they know the ropes.

Themes will vary among the preprimary, primary, and elementary camps, and instruction will also be differentiated within each of those three strata. No matter what level your child is working at, he or she will receive individualized and group learning support. And again, even though academic engagement is the camp’s foundation, fun is at the heart of each session. See the primary session schedule at right. Themes guaranteed to keep kids’ interested include everything from Cooking/Gardening and Mandarin Immersion to Under the Bigtop. Preprimary camp will be immersion-style, and parents can choose from either Spanish or Mandarin. All camps will feature an in-class language assistant, however, so kids at all levels will have the opportunity to practice the other languages they are learning.

Primary summer camp themes

An example of themes from TNCS’s primary summer camp itinerary. Gosh, can adults attend???

The elementary camp takes a slightly different tack, comprising “specialty sessions.” These are a bit more targeted as befits the older child. Kids here can start the summer with Camp Invention, of which TNCS is proud to be the exclusive downtown provider. In Camp Invention, the brainchild of a nonprofit organization, kids are challenged with a project that they must execute collaboratively. The project goal always centers around solving a particular, real-world problem. (Camp Invention will be profiled at length in these pages in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!) Toward the close of summer, kids ages 5–11 will move into “Launch Pad Academic Bridge” camp, which is just what it sounds like: “a means to recapture and reactivate knowledge learned during the previous school year to prepare for the coming year,” in the words of Ms. Warren.

Other important camp highlights—read on!

Chef Emma Novashinski will offer a Brown Bag lunch as the summertime extension of the Kitchen Garden Tuck Shop program, available for weekly sign-up. As always, her lunch will be healthy, locally sourced, and hand-prepared. Even this will have a fun summer twist; lunches come in paper bags for easy transport to an outdoor picnic spot!

Regular camp hours run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (or to 12:30 p.m. for half days). Before-  and aftercare will also be available, starting as early as 7:30 a.m. and running through 6:00 p.m.

Just as in previous years, the camp week culminates with Fridays, better known to camp attendants as Water Playday. Sounds fun, right? Kids can run and jump through the spray from a sprinkler, and a water table will also be on hand to foster those skills that any budding civil engineers, marine biologists, and geophysicists might require. (And, of course, synchronized swimmers.)

Finally, if you have any questions, please visit the website or contact Lisa Warren at lwarren.newcentury@gmail.com.

Find additional reading, including more tips for academically enriching summer activities here: