Schools keep learning alive on snow days
Gone are the carefree days of sledding and sleeping until noon. More and more students, in public and private schools are finding that snow on the ground doesn't necessarily mean it's a lost learning day. Every day, Linda Boran's Honors Language students use technology in their Red Bank High classroom. So why should it be any different when there's snow on the ground?
Mrs. Boran said, "In fact, I have told them when there's potential bad weather, while you're off, there are things you can do, and then I hold them accountable that they've done those things."
Online school sites like Edmodo keep teachers and students connected 24/7 with lesson plans and announcements. Teachers can track the progress of students on special projects.
Mrs. Boran's class watched, studied and critiqued motion pictures last week as part of a project comparing Hollywood movies with the historic events they depict.
Mrs. Boran said, "They could research the film on the internet, compare the film with reality and use the time they're out of school to complete their assignment."
Many students believe that in in the near future, schools will change "snow days" to online, or virtual school days. Mrs. Boran credited the Public Education Foundation and the Benwood Foundation for assisting the school in obtaining Chromebooks and iPads.
Are all students thrilled about interrupting their snow day activities to think about school work? Maybe not, but students who want to succeed are willing to pardon the interruption. Abby Dotson said, "When you're out for a week, it's important to keep up with projects and work. You don't get ahead by getting behind."
Here's how some other area schools kept the learning alive: at CSAS, teachers used the "Remind 101" app to remind students and parents about assignments.
At the McCallie school, for the first time in the school's history, a virtual school day was held last week, with a regular class schedule. Academic Dean Sumner McCallie said,
"Online learning cannot ultimately compete with, or bring the same value as, the physical in-class learning experience. But in circumstances such as snow days where physical attendance is not possible, we want to hold onto as much of the real-time interaction and exchange of ideas as possible, and minimize any loss of academic momentum."
At Nolan Elementary, teachers encouraged students to monitor the incoming snow, using terms being taught in their science class.
And at Red Bank Elementary, 4th graders worked on educational games on their tablets, from the comfort of their own homes. No doubt, it's the wave of the future.