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How to Prepare for Snow Day Cancellations

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snow daysWeather-related cancellations take an especially heavy toll on districts located in regions with harsh winter climates. Interruptions in instructional time due to snow days cause a lapse in classroom momentum, which in turn affects your students’ focus and future academic gains. 

To help avoid losing valuable teaching time during snow days or other inclement weather, more districts are establishing e-learning days in place of school cancellations; however, there are several obstacles to consider to ensure e-learning success. Here are four major steps you can take to institute effective e-learning days at your school:

1. Gain Support from All Stakeholders

Make sure everyone involved in the execution of a successful e-learning day is on the same page. This includes students, parents, curriculum, technology and instructional staff. Designate roles to staff members, and get them to sign off on their duties before an e-learning day needs to be implemented.

2. Identify Common Oversights and Challenges

Be aware of obstacles such as a digital equity gap, as some students may not have access to internet or capable digital devices at home during snow days. Take the necessary steps to make sure that all students can take part in an e-learning day, such as implementing make-up days for work or providing students who lack access with hotspot devices or loaned laptops or tablets. Most importantly, make sure to hold a district-wide dry-run of an e-learning day before the sudden need arises. This will help to identify any outstanding complications that could prevent a successful e-learning day in the future.

3. Develop Your e-Learning Day Lesson Plan

Make your e-learning day feel like a normal school day by structuring activities and assignments around designated discussion and break times. Engage students just as you would with face-to-face instruction by using polls and surveys, discussion boards, videos, educational games, standards-aligned lessons, and even video-conferencing.

4. Ensure Accountability

Help your students improve their self-management skills by providing them with all the tools they need to succeed on their own during weather-related cancellations. Make everything students need to complete their work readily available by putting it in a clear central hub on your learning management system. Give students deadlines throughout the day to help them pace their tasks and manage time effectively, and check in on students who aren’t keeping up with deadlines using instant messaging or video conferencing. You can also give students further self-management opportunities by offering multiple options for showing what they know, such as writing, videos or drawings.

Having an e-learning day plan can be an extremely valuable resource when winter weather arises. Discover more ways to implement a successful e-learning day in the “Preparing for Winter-Weather Cancellations” ebook. With best practices from districts who have successfully launched e-learning programs and a handy checklist for getting started, this ebook can help you make time lost on cancellations a thing of the past.

For even more information on preparing for winter weather to ensure students will benefit from continuity of learning throughout the winter months, check out our webinar, “Battling Bad Weather, led by education leader Rachel Riggio, former educator for Forsyth County (Georgia) Schools.

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