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Snow day-what should we do?

Schools across America geared up for a Snow Day beginning on Thursday last week. Record-breaking snow amounts were forecast. Students, Parents, and Administrators all have different ideas of what should be accomplished during a snow day. Not surprisingly, there is no consensus on this topic.

The New York Times Learning Network's Michael Gonchar asked students this question-"What would you do on a snow day?" (2015)  Not one student commented that they planned to do school work of any type. Imagine that! Students who took the time to answer the question did not plan to do any school work on a snow day.

Author Elizabeth Laing Thompson, a parent of 4 children, wrote a blog post about "How Southerners Do Snow Days." In her blog, Thompson never once mentioned the plan to have her children sit down at their desks and complete school assignments. More specifically, Thompson said, "Because of the Southern Snow Ethic, we can take two inches of ice and turn them into a glorious four-day extravaganza of sled-crafting, hill-hunting, and casserole-sharing." Most parents on Twitter yearned for the care-free snow days they had experienced as children.

Even Head of School Matt Glendinning of the Moses Brown School in Rhode Island crooned that students should enjoy the snow day in a video announcement (2015). Albeit he did suggest that he would read a few books on his snow day. Other administrators worry that some students are losing the two guaranteed meals a day that helps some families survive financially. Schools know that some students may not be safe, warm, or supervised on a snow day. 

So what are schools to do? It is a no-win situation for teachers. If they suggest students complete assignments, some parents and students will complain. If teachers do not provide options, some parents and administrators will complain. So, many schools do offer digital options. Some schools even provide videotaped bedtime stories! Sadly though not all families have the devices or internet necessary for these options. Ultimately, each family will decide what is best for their children as they always have. 

So what did I do?  Since all of my students have devices and access at home, I used Google Classroom to provide access to two poems about snow. I graded essays and returned them to students on our snow day using Classroom. Ultimately, it is up to the students and the families to decide whether or not they will take advantage of these possibilities as it is every day. Snow days provide many choices to our students. Until digital options are made available for every student in a school, these will remain simply choices. The food, warmth, and safety issues will continue to be worrisome to schools.

Please join the conversation and share your snow day ideas.

New York Times: What would you do on a snow day?

How Southerners Do Snow Days

Moses Brown-School is closed


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