Related: Continuing Education, Katie Omenitsch

Be Prepared: 5 Ways to Make a Snow Day a Learning Day


snowThe recent weather conditions and school closings got me thinking: How can snow days and other unexpected school closings have less of a negative impact on learning? Online learning, of course!  Many school systems have access to different online learning platforms such as Blackboard or Edline. Trinity uses Moodle. These platforms are a great way to stay connected to students outside the classroom.

During the most recent snow days, my brother, a sophomore in high school, was given an assignment and quiz through Edline by his Government teacher.  They were asked to complete those things prior to the next school day so that the class could briefly review the assignment and quiz material and move forward to new topics more quickly, almost as though they never missed a day at all.

Here are 5 ways that online learning platforms can help your students stay on track during Snow Days:

  1. Discussions: In our online courses, there is a forum discussion during each week of the course. It is used as a way to replace the in-class discussion that typically happens in an in-person course.  This is a great tool to use for an unexpected cancelation because they can be created in a matter of minutes. Pose a question to your students that focuses on a topic you would have covered in class and ask them to respond to each other. Responding to their peers helps create a discussion around your question.  This will help your class be more prepared and focused during the next school day or class meeting.
  2. Assignments: Post directions for a homework assignment and have it due during the next class meeting. Have a more generic assignment ready for use in case of a class cancelation. It can be something like an article review or short paper.
  3. Links to Resources: Post video links or articles about the topics that would have been covered during the canceled class. Students will come to class with a better understanding of the topics to be covered which will mean missed class time can be made up more easily.
  4. Lectures: Post a PowerPoint or lecture notes that would have been used in the cancelled class and ask students to review the lecture before the next class meeting. This will help the class move onto new topics more quickly.
  5. Quizzes, Worksheets, Problem Sets: Post a quiz, worksheet, or problem set for your students to work on at home. This can be used to revisit a previous lesson or introduce new topics. Either way, students will be more ready to move onto the next lesson when class is back in session.

Think ahead!  What can you do to prepare a lesson for a possible snow day or cancelation?

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