The goal of remote learning when school is cancelled due to inclement weather or other emergencies is to reduce the extent to which student learning is interrupted. While there is no substitute for the rich learning experiences present in our schools, students can continue to partake of the curriculum with teacher support even on days when access to school buildings is not possible. In most cases, this will require minor adaptations of materials already available or providing additional opportunities for practice of learned material.
Remote learning on inclement weather days will, of necessity, look different for students in grades 1-8 as these students do not have access to their district-supplied iPads at home. Additionally, accessing materials online and utilizing email, while technically possible, is more difficult for students in the earliest grades. Most students do have access to a web-enabled device at home (tablet, smartphone, laptop, or desktop) and it will be important for the school to determine who does not have this access in order to make a decision as to the best way to address remote learning.
Examples of upper elementary and middle school English Language Arts include literature responses to teacher-selected or independent reading, writing prompts, and vocabulary work. Math work on remote learning days can focus on additional practice of math fluency and problem solving using paper-and-pencil materials or one of the online programs to which we subscribe (TenMarks, Symphony, Reflex Math). This would also be an opportunity for “show what you know” assignments for which teachers may not have time in class. For example, students can create a product that demonstrates their deep understanding of a current topic in math, incorporating relevant vocabulary, strategies, and algorithms using the medium of their choosing. Many of the “Writing in Math” problems supplied with the Envisions program can be made into these assignments.
Science and Social Studies both lend themselves to a “flipped” model, with students reading or watching materia at home and summarizing the content or generating questions for a class discussion when students return to school.
Students will have greater success with these learning experiences if they have prior practice. For example, if students will be asked to take notes or generate questions relating to a video as part of a remote learning assignment, they should have directed practice taking notes and generating questions on videos in class so that they know the routine.