Winter is right around the corner, and with it comes the possibility of a snow day here and there. But how should teachers spend a snow day, anyway? Read on to explore our not so run-of-the-mill suggestions.
A Snowy Situation
Depending on where you live and teach, a snow day might be something all too familiar, or it could be something you only hope for! Either way, it can be helpful to have some backup plans in case school gets cancelled due to inclement weather. Let's take a look at some unique ideas that can help teachers make the most out of a snow day.
1. Spearhead a Fun Group Activity
Even though teachers and students aren't physically in school on a snow day, it doesn't mean that learning and collaboration can't take place! In other words, a snow day can provide the perfect opportunity to get a class-wide activity rolling. If possible, reach out to your students via email to let them know about the activity and encourage participation. Keep in mind that some students might not have internet access or a device, and they shouldn't be penalized for it. Those students can always complete the activity when school resumes.
One fun, yet simple, suggestion is to have students share what they're doing on their unexpected day off. You can create and then send a link to a Google Doc that students can access, provided they have a Google login. Students should leave their name and a paragraph about how they're spending their snow day (under your paragraph, of course!). Since it's a collaborative document, you and your students can compare entries in real time and even chime in with comments.
Alternatively, teachers can prepare ahead of time by sending home a sealed 'snow day packet' of activities as the winter months approach. This ensures that all students will have access to the material. On the front of the packet, you can say something like 'Keep Safe & Only Open in Case of a Snow Day' to get kids excited.
2. Earn Those CEUs
A snow day is also an ideal time for teachers to hop online and tackle some professional development. While it might not be your favorite pastime, most states require teachers to complete a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) every so often to maintain their teaching credential, so why not take advantage of your time off and stay ahead of the game?
There are several online professional development courses for teachers that feature engaging video lessons and self-quizzes to check your understanding. When you complete a course, you'll be issued a certificate of completion that, depending on your location and school district, can be used as credit towards your CEUs.
3. Dig Up Some Fresh Classroom Resources
Many teachers are constantly on the lookout for new learning materials and resources to spice up their classroom, and a snow day can be a good time to do some digging! There are thousands of engaging online courses that can supplement your teaching and increase engagement and comprehension among your students. These courses incorporate video lessons to make learning relatable and fun.
If you happen to have kids at home, you can have them do a trial run with these resources, which will give you a good idea of how your students will respond to them. To stick with the snow day theme, you could try out lessons that teach your kids some fun facts about snow and winter. A snow day combined with learning? Sounds almost too good to be true!
4. Take 'Me Time' to the Next Level & Get Inspired
While many teachers probably spend their snow days relaxing on the couch, reading a book or watching a movie (which is fine), have you ever thought about taking your free time up a notch and using it to get inspired? The next time you have a snow day, think about reading books or watching movies that highlight the stresses of the teaching profession and how to persevere. These creative works can help to remind you why you became a teacher in the first place and give you some often-needed inspiration.
Here are some worthwhile suggestions:
Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56
What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World
School of Rock
Snow Day Prep
As you can see, there are several valuable ways for teachers to spend a snow day. Whether it's used to advance professionally, find new classroom materials, get inspired, or a combination of these, an unexpected day off can be just what the (snow) doctor ordered.
Looking for ways to innovate your teaching and boost engagement in your classroom? Check out Study.com's Teacher Edition today!