The combination for success revealed to Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills students

 

 

Before they were really free to enjoy their summer vacation, some Hinsdale area students had to first prepare for what awaits them next school year.

Among the classes offered in Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181’s summer learning program were executive FUNctioning and sixth grade boot camp.

Both classes, held at Prospect School in Clarendon Hills, taught the children techniques and skills that would help them in middle school.

In the executive FUNctioning class, Meaghan Sheridan, a reading specialist at Hinsdale Middle School, covered memory techniques, when to schedule homework and how much time to allow to do a good job.

When the students described how they typically spend their time, many were playing video games for long stretches.

“Some will tell you I can spend two hours on my video games and still get my homework done,” Sheridan said. “I talk to them and encourage them to look at themselves honestly.”

Adam Nunez, 11, of Hinsdale, said his teacher suggested he take the class. He was not enthused about going to summer school, but one of the things he learned is “how to break apart a big project, rather than try to do it all in one night.”

Sheridan explained how the children could divide a project into sections and tackle it piece by piece.

Ronan Moriarty, 11, of Hinsdale said he took the class to improve his writing, stay on topic and get assignments done on time.

In boot camp, Nicole Rude, a seventh-grade teacher at Hinsdale Middle School, had several students already in middle school come to class to answer questions the incoming sixth-graders had.

“I wanted them to calm their fears,” Rude said.

A young student asked how long did it take to feel comfortable in the new school and familiar with the schedule.

One of the older students said a couple of days, and another said a couple of weeks.

The students in the boot camp also read the book, “The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Middle School,” which discussed situations, such “how to survive a group assignment,” “how to survive a mountain of homework,” and “how to remake your rep(utation).”

The students broke into groups to study different chapters and then reported on what they learned to the class as a whole.

Several students said they learned they should not be afraid to talk to their teacher and ask for help if they are having trouble with an assignment.

As for working on a group project, Rude advised, “You don’t want to be stuck doing all the work, and you want to make sure everyone participates.”

Heather Raslan, 11, of Burr Ridge said the chapter on remaking your reputation discussed “what you should change and what you shouldn’t, physically and mentally.”

Adriana Davila, 11, of Clarendon Hills, liked the information about making friends.

“You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with anyone,” Adriana said.

But the concern students “across the board had, even the more confident ones,” was the dreaded combination lock they would have to master to open their locker in middle school, Rude said.

“That throws them all for a loop,” Rude said.

She gave them locks to practice turning the numbers back and forth.

To end the class, which met daily from June 12 to July 3, the students divided into teams and raced to see who could open their locks, take a notebook out of their locker and return to the classroom the quickest.

Part of the lesson was going back to help the person who was having the most trouble, so no one was left struggling alone.

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