Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Teacher Spotlight: Kyle Beckham shares his tips for staying sharp over summer

Kyle Beckham
Kyle Beckham has spent the last ten years as a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in alternative education. He has worked for the last nine years as teacher at Downtown Continuation High School, a project-based high school in San Francisco that helps traditionally under-served and marginalized students move towards obtaining a high school diploma. He specializes in Hip-Hop Education, People’s History, Digital Arts and Media Production. He has done educational and community work in South Africa and Haiti, helping connect his students to global educational, cultural and political issues. A historian by training, Kyle received his B.A. from Yale University and a Master of Arts in Teaching Social Studies (M.A.T.) from Brown University. Kyle will be attending Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education in the fall, pursuing his Ph.D. in the Race, Inequality and Language in Education (R.I.L.E.) program.  

We asked Tutorpedia advisory board member and SFUSD teacher Kyle Beckham what students could do to stay engaged over the summer. 
"The most important thing is to continue reading and writing about things, but this time the choice is up to the student. Students, think of the summer as a time when you get to study and examine whatever interests you, without the pressure of papers or projects or punitive deadlines."
Kyle's top tips for summer scholars:
  • Commit to reading at least one piece of fiction and one piece of non-fiction that interests them (don't pick something because you might think it's useful and skip something that jumps out at you) Buy copies of the books, write in them copiously and, if possible, do it with a friend and meet up to talk about the books (a book club of sorts). Parents can do this with their kids too and have family check-ins about books. GoodReads is a great website to discover new titles and share with friends.
  • Do something creative/artistic. This can be either going to museums on youth days (which means that there is no admission) or as simple as learning how to draw on youtube or taking a series of tutorials on garageband or photoshop. These things are always easier to do if friends are involved and create a time when they are shared with others. FunCheapSF keeps a running list of low-no cost events in the area.
  • Keep a daily journal, or even better, make an altered journal/book. Make a blog or Tumblr
  • Get lost in Wikipedia. Pick a topic and just read about it, click on as many links as you like, for at least an hour every day. Write about what you read. Share it with your family/friends. 
  • Learn how to fix something. iFixit is a great website that teaches you how to repair all kinds of things. 
  • Leverage sites like Khan Academy: start with one thing you're interested in and want to build mastery towards (animation) and one thing that you know you will need to work on (for me it would be mathematics).
Please share Kyle's top tips for summer scholars with any students in your life.

Do you have any other tips for students to help them take advantage of summer break? Have you used any of the techniques, tools, or websites mentioned in this blog? Let us know in the comments!

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