My heart right now is heavily beating in my chest because for the last 15 minutes I have been listening to the sound of constant gun-fire blaring out of the television. To be frank, I just don't get it....the violence of it that is. When he turns to interact with me, it is about something in the game and to be honest, I can't understand a thing he is saying because "gaming terminology" might as well be a different language to me. When I asked him if he's read any good books this summer he replied, "I don't read during the summer." His parents are very nice, caring people, who love their son very much, so it makes me ask the obvious question, "Why do parents allow their children to play extensive hours of video games each day?" I am coming to the realization that this situation that I am witnessing is not the exception, it is more likely the reality of how many of my middle school students spend their summer as well.
So what do we expect from a student who has spent their entire summer vacation playing video games? First of all, talking and interacting with others is not something that kids who play video games frequently are doing, so I imagine it is harder for these students to share their thinking in words because of their lack of socialization. I would also imagine that in students who spend their summers gaming, we would see a summer slide in reading and writing performance. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and as a disclaimer from my statements above, I understand that there are students who do great in school and are well socialized who play video games excessively each day.
I am both stunned and intrigued by this reality of what I am witnessing. I have decided to create a beginning of the year survey to give my students in order to get a sense of how they spent their summer break. I will share an image of the survey below and provide a link so that you're able to download the PDF as a freebie from my TpT store. What I plan to do is collect data from this survey by comparing summer activity to summer slide in reading. I would love if middle school LA teachers reading this would do the same and share back their results with me.
One thing I know if that knowledge is power, and by collecting this data and openly sharing it with parents and students, maybe it will inspire just a few students and their parents to rethink gaming habits and maybe do other things....like pick up a book or get some physical activity. As for me, I am going to head out into the fresh Irish air and take a walk, enjoying the beauty on the final days of my trip.
PDF Version of Survey