We have been seeing several predictions around here about there being lots of inclement weather this winter. Even this morning my back deck was a solid sheet of ice that I slid across on my way to the truck! Like any teacher or student, I really look forward to having some snow days. How fun will it be to cozy up to the fire with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and see snow falling right outside my window? Dreamy!
As dedicated educators, we also keep in our minds that when students are not in our classrooms, they are not preparing for The Big Tests. So, here are some ways you might provide challenges for students to keep learning even when they are not in your classroom. After all, there is only so much sledding, snowman-building, and cocoa-drinking a person can do, right?
Well…maybe not. Here are some ideas to extend student learning anyway!
- Create a Google Form with some multiple choice questions modeled like those found on The Big Tests and post it to the class webpage. Use Flubaroo to grade the Form and email the results to students.
- Post a list of questions or math problems and ask students to find tutorials using resources such as Kahn Academy, Discovery Education, or SAS Curriculum Pathways which explain the concepts.
- Post another list of questions or math problems and ask students to create tutorials like those modeled in the previous resources using apps such as Educreations, Prezi, iMovie, Sock Puppets, ScreenChomp, or LEGO Movie Maker.
- Encourage students to create flash cards or games which relate to vocabulary, terms, dates, or concepts which relate to class that can be shared with students upon return to class. Or, they could use apps such as Quizlet, Haiku Deck, or Flippity and email links to their friends!
- Ask students to create a webquest which explains everything a person needs to know about… for geography, historical cultures/civilizations, science concepts, literature pieces or authors, etc.
- Post a topic and ask students to collect two or three links to current events in the news which relate to the topic and explain the relationship using documentation from the source.
- Post links to primary documents and ask students to create an essay or infographic which explains the relationship of the documents.
- Post links to primary documents and ask students to create an essay or infographic which explains the impact of the document, event, or person on today’s culture, society, laws, or practices. Students could use tools such as Google Apps for Education’s documents, presentations, Piktochart, Prezi, or Easelly.
- Post links to primary documents and ask students to find two or three more resources which would fit together with the ones you post. Ask students to write an explanation for why those resources were chosen and how they fit together. Students could use resources such as Discovery Education, Library of Congress, NetTrekker, or Google Scholar in their search.
- Post a topic and ask students to use NPR, Discovery Education, Library of Congress, NetTrekker, or Google Scholar to search for related articles, videos, images, or texts. Then, ask students to write a comparison of the resources discovered using each search tool and make a proposition explaining why the results are so varied.
- Post reflective questions and ask students to respond via Edmodo, Google Classroom, KidBlog, or Edublogs posts.
- Provide students with a piece of literature and ask them to create a musical score. Ask them to explain when the different songs might need to be playing and why those specific pieces were chosen to represent that area of the text.
- Provide students with a piece of literature and ask them to choose artwork or create artwork which should be used in a textbook-style publication of the text. Ask students to write an explanation for why each piece of artwork was chosen.
- Choose a short story or historical event or a historical figure and ask students to write a script for a play which relates to the topic. Ask them to select actors or actresses who would play the roles in the script and explain why they chose each.
- Ask students to create a trading card or infographic about a historical figure, important scientist, book character, or event.
- Ask students to research an important person relating to the standard/topic of study. Then, have them envision another career for that person and explain why their traits and talents would make them a good candidate for that alternate career.
- After reading an outside reading book, ask students to create a comic strip which describes and recommends the book to another reader. Students could create the comic in Google Draw or use a tool such as Make Beliefs Comix or Comic Master.
- Ask students to record temperatures of various locales and create a graph comparing them.
- Students can create science experiments using ice cubes and water. Recording changes over time with a camera or with drawings and descriptions, students can explain changes over time as they write their lab report. The information could be shared with peers who might duplicate the experiment to see if they get similar results.
- Have students watch televised weather reports and create predictions for different parts of the country. Then, watch future newscasts to check their predictions. Finally, they could write an explanation of their accuracy or inaccuracy and conclude why.
- Students could create simple machines such as levers, wheel and axels, and pulleys with household items. They could write a description and share it in a class post or email to another student. The second student could attempt to replicate their machine and send a photo to the originator. The originator would then share a photo for comparison. Both students could write reflectively about the experience.
- Students in any high school science course could create lab experiments using household items and share it with their teacher and classmates.
Encourage students to read, write, and communicate with others even when not in class. They should be involved in activities which promote creativity. Just because there is a snow day that doesn’t mean learning has to stop! There will still be time to curl up in front of the fire and sip some hot chocolate.