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Making the Most of School Closure Days for Secondary Students

Making the Most of School Closure Days for Secondary Students

From time to time, life has its own ideas about educators and students getting to school. School closures due to community emergencies, inclement weather, and other unexpected events can’t be helped, but they can quickly put students behind, especially middle and high school students working through a rigorous and tightly scheduled curriculum. However, with a little planning and the help of technology, school closure days don’t need to put learning on pause for secondary students.

Here are four multidisciplinary rules of thumb to ensure that learning continues on school closure days.

Implement e-learning days while students are out of the physical classroom

Schools across the United States can take advantage of e-learning days during community emergencies like widespread illness, snow, or inclement weather, or during planned occasions like professional development days and parent conferences to continue instruction outside of the traditional school environment. If you choose to implement e-learning days, your digital program provider should help facilitate immediate communication via such features as in-program messaging for students and immediate notifications and data access for teachers. Teachers should also establish and communicate time periods when they will be directly reachable by students and parents to facilitate and support instruction.

Develop and communicate to students and parents a protocol for determining student attendance for e-learning days

Do you expect everyone to be working online by a certain time so you can check your usage reports as a form of “taking role” or are students intended to respond to a question via your social media page as a “smart start” activity and participation within a given time frame tells the teacher that the student is engaged? Whatever you choose, consider how technology can help support this practice.

Give assignments in chunks

Many teachers like to assign bundles of homework to be done over a certain time period, usually a week. If you are anticipating an upcoming school closure, consider adopting this approach. Then, if students are stuck at home for a few days, they will still have the materials they need to keep their minds active and stay on track with the curriculum.

Preview classwork to keep students prepared

If you have some advance warning of your school's closure plans, spend a few minutes while you’re still in the classroom with students outlining what you would like them to be thinking about and investigating while they are gone. Even the simple act of jotting down some pre-thoughts is a valuable use of time. Of course, if they do have access to the Internet, some deeper research tasks can be in order as well. All of this lays the foundation for students to hit the ground running when they are able to return to school.

Looking for online tools that can help you and your students overcome the challenge of school closure days? Check out Edmentum Courseware and Study Island for robust, state-standards-aligned curriculum and practice across core and elective subjects that students can work through at their own pace, anytime and anywhere!

scott.sterling's picture

Scott Sterling is a former English teacher who worked in Title I middle and high schools in St. Petersburg, Florida who is now a freelance writer who focuses on education. He is also a stay-at-home dad to his 4-year-old daughter Lily, who will soon be starting her own educational journey.

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