Last week, we had a historic entire week off because of snow and the Polar Vortex that hit the midwest. That has never happened in our district, ever. In fact, most of the time we don't even get inclement weather days (last school year we had 0). The week off last week put us at 7 days off for inclement weather, total. Crazy!
And then Mother Nature decided to get an attitude again and hit us with some ice. So no school yesterday or today. It's insanity.
Alas, it has me thinking. There has to be a better system for how to really engage kids in learning when we do have weather days. During the week off last week, I sent a message on Dojo with some things for the kids to do. But I don't know how many of the parents actually shared those activities with their children.
What if we expected kids to log into [whatever school portal] on inclement weather days to do some learning? Obviously this learning would not take place of a teacher actually providing instruction, but more than simply saying "read a book." (Don't get me wrong, reading is awesome for practice, but I'm thinking deeper and of more.) But there has to be a way to engage our kids away from school in a meaningful way that won't be a ton of work for a teacher to prepare and will help students to continue to practice skills when they are away unexpectedly.
Of course there will be people who whine and complain and say it isn't reasonable. Or they will say not everyone can do the work from home. There are always exceptions to everything - just like we have students who literally sit in our classrooms and it's like pulling teeth to get them to do anything.
I guess my theory is...if this was the expectation - that an inclement weather day didn't just automatically mean you get a free day off - parents and students would likely rise to it. I would expect parents would be grateful for something for their children to do, especially when multiple days in a row have to be called.
I'm thinking especially of my own two teenagers. In the last 15 school days (counting tomorrow), they have only been in school 4 days, if they go tomorrow it would be 5 out of 15 days. They do have district issued technology that they bring home every day. WHY, then, aren't they getting some assignments through those devices? They haven't gotten a single thing.
Perhaps I'm alone in my thinking, but I find that to be ludicrous. We should expect more of ourselves than that. We live in a cold state that sometimes has harsh winters - we need to find ways to help our kids continue to practice and be engaged in learning, even if we aren't at school. I'm not talking 6 hours of work for them on those days. No. Perhaps 60-75 minutes of meaningful practice tasks that can be assigned to allow them to continue to practice what has been taught and refine skills that they are struggling with.
Definitely some food for thought for me as I put together my plans for my future school. I just do not see a reason why when there are multiple days off in a row that students aren't expected to have some meaningful intellectual work to do.