Mackenzie Keenan has been teaching school for five years, and this summer was her third year of teaching Hillside Elementary’s Stretching Minds summer program. Although vastly different from a normal school year, she enjoys both.
Keenan spent several weeks during the summer with first graders helping them with math and reading struggles they had in kindergarten. The focus of the Stretching Minds program is solely math and reading, as opposed to the regular school curriculum which includes science, social studies and writing.
What Keenan enjoys most about her first graders over the summer is the fact they are eager to learn and excited about school, even in the summer.
“What I appreciate during the regular school year is just how much they grow as readers throughout their entire first grade year,” Keenan says.
The Stretching Minds program will allow many of these students to be at grade level when school starts in the fall.
Time well spent this summer with numbers included counting, grouping objects, skip counting, identifying coins and value. They learned about shapes and blocks. They even had an introduction to telling time.
The guided reading groups focused on site words with flash cards and playing bingo on the smart board. Listening to books online was a huge favorite.
Of course, summer school would not be complete without field trips around the city. The fun part of this program included trips to the Blank Park Zoo, Skate South, Monkey Joe’s, Incredible Pizza, seeing a moving and bowling.
At the end of their half day, the Stretching Minds summer program is fun and successful. The individual focus on these first through fifth graders makes for a huge impact on them and sets them in the right direction for success in their new grade this fall.
When not teaching during her regular school year or during the summer, you can find Keenan enjoying boating activities, playing sand volleyball, spending time with friends and family, working out and of course, reading. And still, she finds time to tutor math and reading.
Keenan is originally from Pearl City, Illinois.