Sunday, March 1, 2015

Snow Day Challenges - Keeping the Learning Going!

I don't know about you, but I've just about had enough of the snow and cold.  We've lost 6 days of instruction due to the weather so far this year.  I'm just thankful I don't live in New England!  I'm lucky enough to work in a school that is in session 7.5 hours a day and 178 days so we don't have to make up any time (we're WAY over the minimum hours in our state!).

The topic of this morning's #sunchat on Twitter was keeping the momentum up during snow days.  This is a struggle for many teachers, seasoned and new to the profession.  There were a lot of great ideas tweeted this morning.  I'd like to share some of them with you, plus a few of my own!

1)  My favorite way to keep the learning going is to keep acting like it's a normal day.  Schools who use Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Google Classroom, Edmodo, and Schoology can do that easily.  Just make it an E-Learning day!  Post your lessons, flipped videos, and more online where it is available to all your students.  Even if your student's do not have internet at home, many still have smartphones and can still access your e-classroom.  My teachers do this already when they are going to be out sick.  It makes life much easier for our subs - students know what is expected and many times the teacher is still available online for questions.

2)   Remind is a great way to communicate with your students without having 1:1 devices at home.  Remind allows you communicate with students and parents via a SMS text message.  Most of our students/parents have a cell phone that can receive these messages.  You can send out assignments or other messages out with this free service.  Best of all, it doesn't show your personal cell phone number!

3)  Host a Twitter chat with your students.  Create your own hashtag and host a discussion about anything going on in your classroom.  Maybe you have been discussing "innovations of the 21st century" or a book you have been reading together.  Students can be challenged to put their thoughts into 144 characters.  You can hold your discussions just like we do in our PLN Twitter chats in a Q1, Q2 and A1, A2 format.   Again, this can be done via cellphones, tablets, or laptops/chromebooks.

4)  How about some no tech, low tech ideas?  At the beginning of the "Snowy season", issue a Reading Challenge to your students.  Challenge them to spend 1 hour a day or more reading. Have them track it on a Reading Log, Bingo Card, whatever!  Here's some ideas to get you started!

Reading Challenge Genre sheet -

Snow Day Reading Challenge - me!

1 comment:

  1. Love all of these ideas, but still so many teachers are not using tech tools in their teaching. We have a long way to go. Also, many students, more than we might realize, don't have Internet access at home except for perhaps a phone. Wish we were that far with tech integration and access that snow days were still teaching and learning days, without makeup days needed.