Whether your district experiences snow days or other weather-related closures like hurricane days, learning doesn’t have to stop just because the school is closed.
Although students and teachers alike may cheer when snow days are announced, too many days out of the classroom in the winter can really have an impact on learning by the end of the year. Luckily, technology (and some planning ahead) allows for those times not to be wasted.
Even if your region doesn’t experience snow, extreme weather like hurricanes, wildfires, or extreme heat can prevent schools from being in session. Check out these ideas to make sure your students aren’t falling behind due to unplanned days off.
1. Online Assignments
Many schools now provide tablets or computers to their students, so technology is typically accessible even on snow days.
When inclement weather is predicted, have your students bring home their devices so they can complete work sheets and other assignments online at some point in the time off. Make sure that you’re available to answer questions via email — that way there are no excuses for uncompleted work. You can even hold class discussions through a chat room forum.
If the internet is down due to the weather (or you have students without internet access), you can make documents available offline through services like Google drive.
2. Record or Live Stream Lessons
Also using online resources, teachers can give a lesson just like if they were in a classroom through video. Students can even type in questions that teachers receive in real time and can answer as they go along. Educators can also see who is online during “class time” — just like taking attendance.
Although students may complain about not getting to play in the snow all day, at least they’ll be able to learn from the comfort of their beds in their pajamas.
3. Send Students Home with Snow Work
An extra assignment or two can’t hurt with all the free time during a snow day. Create special assignments that focus on broader skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and communication that can be solved at any point in the school year – independent of the content currently being covered in your classroom. Put the assignments in a folder that gets sent home prior to the start of winter (or hurricane season) with clear instructions about your expectations in case of a school cancellation.
4. Assign SAT/ACT Prep
Schools rarely have time to work in practice for standardized testing, leaving students to do it on their own or in an after-school course. A snow day creates a perfect opportunity to take a few hours prepare for these important tests that help decide where pupils go to college. Try assigning short practice tests or math questions that resemble a section of the ACT or SAT.
5. Have Students Create a Resume
It’s never too early to look for internships! Creating a resume — including work experience, extracurricular activities, and GPA — will also help students realize what their strengths and weaknesses are before applying to colleges or jobs.
Thanks to the growing popularity of “cyber snow days,” it won’t be long before students realize that they shouldn’t associate bad weather with a lazy and relaxing day off. But think of the bright side — not wasting time out of the classroom means no making up missed days over spring break or summer!