Snow Day!

Yesterday was our first snow day here in my neighborhood.

The city’s public school system has a spiffy new phone message alert program that calls all the families and lets them know that school has been canceled.  I hate it.  My phone rang at frickin’ FIVE THIRTY in the morning.  My alarm rings at ten to six.  I NEED those twenty minutes, y’all!  Besides, I much prefer my method of nudging my husband and having him open his laptop to the school closing page on the news station’s website – it’s MUCH quieter.  Of course, I REALLY preferred touching an icon on my iPhone and checking the closings, but the damned news station changed its website (ironically, to make it work for iPhones, but now it doesn’t work for mobile devises at all.  Whatever).

ANYWAY, I didn’t start this post to complain about the how we find out that we have no school.  I started this post to brag about what CHS is doing to make sure that we get credit hours during snow days so we don’t have to go to school in July!

The tech guy (LOVE HIM!) at CHS decided that, as part of his Master’s project, he would implement a system by which CHS students could attend virtual classes on days when the building was closed, whether for snow or lack of heat or insect infestation (I guess that was a problem last spring.  Ewww…).  He researched a bunch of online class platforms, decided on one, and got the whole school up and running.

We had a trial run a few weeks ago – that class made up for a day we missed in October because there was no heat in the building – and it went pretty well.  Yesterday was the first spur-of-the-moment class, though; school was canceled at 5:30 in the morning and the kids were expected to show up for online classes according to the schedule we’d handed them when we implemented the program.

Overall, it went pretty well.  The biggest problem I ran into was that I gave the kids MY log in address by mistake, so whenever someone new came to the class using the link I gave them, the system kicked ME out because the kids were coming in on my address and the class wouldn’t let “me” in more than once.  We fell back on a plan B that had us all meet on our website, though, so it all worked out in the end.

I am proud of my school for being on the leading edge of this wave; we’re the only high school in the state (so far) that is making use of this technology, and it’s pretty cool to not only be able to save ourselves having to make up the snow days in the pretty weather of spring, but also to be able to teach class in my pajamas!

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7 Comments

Filed under admiration, colleagues, fun, funniness, I love my job, success!, Teaching

7 responses to “Snow Day!

  1. Zee

    As someone who is doing her MEd via online platforms I a huge fan. I, like you, really like the “being able to go to class in my pjs” aspect. It also means that you can attend class when you are not feeling 100%. I was suffering from a bad reaction to some medication last week. There was no way on earth I could have gotten into a car to get to a bricks and mortar class. I could however pull my laptop into bed with me and participate in the discussion. It is perfect.

  2. I’ve never heard of online classrooms being used this way. One one hand, it’s great that you don’t have to go to school year round because of snow days. On the other, day-um! Everyone loves snow days!

    What about students who do not have a computer or internet access at home? Are they marked absent? How do they get their assignments? I was thinking that if schools are closed, libraries and other places with free access would be as well.

  3. Don’t you think this is going to be the wave of the future? How much money would be saved by schools if they didn’t have to build and maintain huge buildings?

  4. Darci

    This so rocks…My daughter attend a major technology college – RIT and they don’t do this. So my CA girl trudged off to class in the snow today…Hehehehe

  5. I use online classroom platforms with the professional development program I run, and with two universities for whom I teach as adjunct. I even run my staff meetings through an interactive video conferencing platform (because I have people spread throughout the state) This IS the wave of the future!

    Like Dingo, I’m wondering what provisions CHS is making for students who don’t Internet access (or an adequate computer system) at home. The “digital divide” issue is a big one, and I’m always interested in others’ solutions to this challenge

  6. Yeah, it would have been nice to have a snow day, Dingo, but it’ll be even NICER to not be in school in the summer. I’d much rather have a warm day off than a cold one!

    As far as the “digital divide” goes, Mamie, this IS an issue that we’re working on addressing. One kid solved his problem by heading to his girlfriend’s house (she’s a student at CHS, too) and they attended class “together.” I’ve got a kid in my III/IV class who’s mother tried to “fix” their modem and has been without internet access for about two weeks now. We also run into the possibility of students (or teachers!) losing power during snow storms.

    It’s not a perfect system, no question about it, but it’s pretty good for all that it is. We know who the kids without computer access are, and we are working on ways to get materials to them (the idea has been floated to put together “storm packets” for kids to take home and stash somewhere, to be used during snow days and handed in when school reopens). We are, quite literally, the only ones doing this, so we’re kind of making it up as we go along, but we’re all pretty smart, practical people, so I have little doubt we’ll come up with something that works.

  7. I am jealous. In all my years of teaching I have had only two snow days, boh of which happened one after the other in February of this year. The memory still makes me smile!

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