Snow: An Enemy of Learning

As I was shoveling snow onto the eight-foot-high pile in front of my house during my fourth snow day, I considered the fact that we had lost an entire day of school and educational momentum, and wondered: should that also mean we lose an entire day of learning?  The in-again-out-again lack of routine for everyone - students, teachers and parents alike - is certainly detrimental to maximum student learning, but what can we do?  Mother Nature has another plan!  But what if snow was no longer a reason for learning to stop?  Physical schools are important, yes - but when we cannot get in there (be it snow, rain, travel, vacation, or something else), what if  getting into the physical school building was eliminated as a hurdle to learning?  What would that look like?  What if...
  • Students were expected to think deeply every day (even on snow days!)
  • Technology eliminated the snow day hurdle
  • Students were engaged in authentic, project-based learning
  • Teachers provided learning opportunities online
Is this possible?  Yes - and essential on days when students and teachers cannot get to school.  An unexpected snow day is fun for everyone, and I'm not trying to be the Fun Police, but really, it's all about maximizing our students' learning, isn't it?  Therefore, snow, sleet, freezing rain or burst pipes should no longer be a reason for learning to stop.

Comments

Josie said…
Hi Steve: Here at Poughkeepsie day School we say: Go for it!

Here's a letter I wrote to families in February 2011 - a year when we were hit by several big storms and lost six or more days of school.
Snow Days and Disruption - an open letter to families. http://www.pdscompasspoint.com/snow-days-and-disruption-a-letter-to-families

And then again this year when several teachers wrote about keeping the life of the classroom going even when school was "closed":

An Age of Marvels

http://www.poughkeepsieday.org/page.cfm?p=508&eid=25

No reason for the progress of the class to grind to a halt because of snow. Of course - kids do need internet access and the power to stay on.

And - of course - time to play outside, sweep the pathways and settle down with hot chocolate and a good book.

- Josie

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