We are in the early hours of what might be a blizzard, or at least a pretty big storm. By the end of the day yesterday, our head of school had sent a note to parents explaining that we would be closed today, and that teachers were making plans to have learning continue-- through digital means.
I've taken a look at my browser history to see what that meant for me today. Here is a summary:
I slept in, checked email on my iPad, and since it wasn't snowing, went to the gym as I would have on a normal school day. Came home, ate oatmeal (nice, since I usually eat cold food in the car on the way from the gym to school). Also stopped at Starbucks for a soy latte, another snow day goodie.
Around 10:30 I had a conference call with some colleagues, at another school, who wanted to talk about what it was like to have students bring a laptop of their choosing to school rather than require the same device for all.
Around 11:00 I read student work. They are writing scripts to be turned into commercials. I gave them feedback through Google docs and wrote to teams suggesting that they finish scripts today.
Read a peripatetic article, in Education Week, about schools using cloud computing. Thought it might be interesting for the folks I had conference called with earlier so sent it to them.
Read an email from a colleague about a twelve year old who sent a balloon into the high atmosphere. Followed the link and watched the video. Got goosebumps and dizzy-- it was that cool. Tweeted the link. Around noon I wrote to the colleague who had send me the link and included the others he cc'ed. One wrote back to say, "Let's build our own high altitude balloon," generating a brief flurry of exchanges with links to product options. (Stay tuned.)
Read an article about the importance of introverted kids learning to participate in class. Only agreed in part, which made me remember that I had an open tab on my browser with an ASCD webinar, about using a strength based approach to working with neurodiversity in students. On the way to the webinar video, I check my Cosm account website to see if the soil temperature probes we buried earlier in the week had variations in the readings since the snow had started. (I'm especially keeping my eye on the one 6" down to see if we can show that snow acts as an insulator.)
Before watching the neurodiversity webinar I wrote to some colleagues and sent them the link to it, in case they were interested. Then I grabbed my knitting, put on headphones and started to watch. About ten minutes into it I realized that I was going to finish the knitting and be left with nothing to knit during the storm. I hit pause and drove to Michaels, spending too much money.
Returning home with enough yarn to knit my way through the next few years of snow days, I finally watched the webinar video. Checked email, and then read a MiddleWeb blog about STEM-- it was good.
Around 3:30 and back to email. One student needed the link to WeVideo, since that is where their movies are being made. Two other teams had written to have me edit their scripts. One wrote to send a link to her team's finished video on WeVideo, making me happy since it meant her team had had a collaborative snow day!
A friend, who is an English teacher, contacted me through Facebook to share some links about the Brooklyn Academy of Music's The Laramie Project Cycle. (My son is in a school production of Laramie this weekend-- well, at least we hope there will be at least a Saturday performance!) I spent a little time watching those videos and sending them to my son. It was now pushing 4:00pm.
Was it a productive day? Yes, and without sacrificing the whimsy of found time that snow days have brought to teachers and students for decades past. I didn't do anything that wasn't interesting to me. I have a feeling of being somewhat caught up on my sleep/reading/watching. I hope my students feel that I was accessible to them, and that they were able to have a similar day of whimsy and interest.