Snow Days and Student Learning


Snow Days!

When you live in the south, “snow days” (or should I say “ice days”) bring great joy for teachers, parents and students … at least at first. However, when they are combined with holidays and become repetitive … learning starts to be effective and everyone starts to feel the stress.

As a guest on 11 Alive Morning Rush today, Snow Days Effecting Learning  I was pretty clear about the effects time off has on students and teachers … but not as much when it came to answering “what can parent’s do.” And after watching it, I feel like I need to add some other thoughts that time just didn’t allow for, so here are a few:

  • Students will probably complain about teachers “going too fast in class” & there may be some truth to it, so parents need to offer a little sympathy (always comforting) and then offer extra help at homework time. Parents can see (by asking older children or emailing the teacher on behalf of the younger ones) if there is “extra help” times offered by the teacher before/after school or at lunch.
  • All adults (grandparents, nannies, friends, etc.) can encourage children to “teach themselves” a little bit by using the book, going online, asking a friend, etc.
  • Sometimes a test/quiz date doesn’t get moved (or moved out as many days as a student would like) after a snow day and kids will complain. This becomes one of those lessons about the real world, so parent’s need to calmly explain … life isn’t always fair! (Plus, when we have advanced warnings about potential bad weather, most teachers will give instructions to their class regarding the effects of having a day off and may suggest taking home needed supplies to be ready when school resumes.)
    • Don’t forget to use encouraging words like “you can do it” or “do the best you can” while explaining that complaining isn’t going to change the date and one must just trust the reasoning behind the teacher’s decision, even if he/she doesn’t share their reason with the class.
  • This is also a good time to teach children to plan ahead … especially when the weather forecast is questionable (i.e.,” bring home books & notebooks, just in case”). It may not have helped this time, but it will on the next snow day.

Parents should have some fun on a snow day too. Just plan some thinking and academic time in between building snowmen, making cookies, doing an art project, and binge watching Netflix. I’d suggest parents bend the routine, not break it completely.

Make the most of your day!

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