Online snow days

Our last snow day staying inside!
Our last snow day staying inside!

As more schools seemed to be closed each year for snow or other weather related occurrences, administrators are trying to find a way to recover the time lost.  Last year, we added a week onto the end of the year; however, we already had the MS trip to Arizona planned.  We had to keep our graduation and exam dates in place.  That last week was rough.  Plus, is adding on days in June really relevant when the missed days happen in January or February?  Some schools had to add on time to the end of each day or go to school on Saturdays.  That sounds so difficult to plan as a teacher.

Enter the online snow day.  It seems that some schools are starting to use the online snow day, so students can catch up on the work that they are missing.  This year, my school decided to start online snow days.  We discussed how to implement these days.  As we have two built in snow days, we started this on the third snow day- aka today!

In our discussions first, we decided that each class should only have around 30 minutes of work to complete for each class.  Kids are kids, and they get excited for a snow day (as do teachers)!  They should have the time to play in the snow.  This workload would give them 2 to 2.5 hours of work each snow day.  It allows them time to sleep more and drink more hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.  It also allows time for students to plan their own time and budget accordingly.  Students are expected to email their teachers with any difficulties or questions during this time.

I read that one school close to my hometown decided to have time for each student to be online during their scheduled class time- 9 AM for the first block, 10 AM for the second block and so on.  I really do not like that method as it is time consuming for teachers and students.  Plus, how would I try to conduct a class virtually with a 17 month old running around?!  I could not dedicate myself properly to instructing my students.  Also, in this day and age, do we want to encourage students to be glued to their computers all day when there is a ton of snow around?!

While we were planning these days, we wanted to make sure that this material should be relevant to current instruction.  Students can see what busy work is.  Plus, if this is to make up for time lost, we want to make sure it is valuable for both the teachers to post and for the students to complete.

Finally, as a school we also decided what time the assignments should be posted and due.  This is key as students need to know what to expect.  Students cannot be waiting around all day for teachers to post something.  They also need a reasonable amount of time to complete the work.

Has your school considered online snow days?  As I have said before, ours is a one to one school, so I know that this makes it much easier for us to implement.  What are your policies?

4 thoughts on “Online snow days

  1. I think online snow days work only in theory. First, what if you have a student that doesn’t have a computer/internet at home? What if the students don’t have power? What if the storm knocks out their Internet? What are the consequences if the kids don’t do the work? What about the younger grades? What would say, Kindergarten assign?

    1. We discussed this when we were planning- since we are a private school, all students are required to have Internet access at home. Nowadays, many students do not lose power. (Knock on wood!) I haven’t lost power in any of our snow storms. If for some reason, a student loses power- we would allow them extra time to complete the assignment. We only go through second grade, so we don’t have any kindergartners! I think they have students read more because literacy is a big push in our LS.

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