Tuesday, March 3, 2015

An Unexpected Snow Day and Padlet

I rolled over at 6:15 am like usual and grabbed my phone to turn off the alarm. Squinting, I saw that there was a text message. My eyes widened as I saw that it was from our school district.

No school due to icy conditions.

What? My brain reeled.

I knew we were supposed to get freezing rain today, but I dismissed it as not likely when I had gone to bed last night. We’d had over eight inches of snow on Sunday. Surely we wouldn’t now have freezing rain on top of that, right? Welcome to Illinois in the winter.

After stumbling down the stairs and taking Rosie out for a morning walk around the yard (and slipping and sliding the entire time), I sat down at my computer. I knew my students would be waking and gleeful over a day spent at home. We were supposed to be taking our first PARCC test today. I wondered what they would be doing instead.

Grabbing the books I had next to my bed, I took a photo of them and posted it to Instagram sharing reading as my plan for the day. A few kids immediately posted back to me. I love chatting with them, but felt bad for the kids who weren’t on Instagram, how could I invite them into the conversation? And then I remembered, Padlet.

When I’ve been absent in the past and needed to communicate with my class, we have set a wall up on Padlet so they could ask me questions throughout the day. Now, if I was truly too sick to communicate, of course I wouldn’t do this. But I’ve done this with students when I’m home because I have a sick kiddo or I’ve been at a conference. It was a great way for us to stay in touch and for me to feel like I’m caught up on the classroom when I walk in on the next day. I knew Katharine Hale had recently used Padlet with her kids during a snow day. I wondered if mine would like to try. So, I set up the wall.

I shared the link to our wall on Instagram and through Twitter and Facebook. I also emailed the parents of my students and then, I waited. Did anyone want to share their plans for the day? They sure did! 

It has been a lot of fun watching the responses come in throughout the day. Students have shared, colleagues from around the globe, current and former students’ parents, colleagues from school, and our principal – all have posted a quick note on our page. I cannot wait to look these over with my students tomorrow and discuss our unexpected gift of a day at home and how they chose to spend their day.

If you’d like to join in our conversation on Padlet, please do by clicking HERE. Click on the screen twice. A white box will open up in the top left corner. Put your name on the top line, what you are doing today in the body of the text. Click out of the box to save your writing when you are finished.

An unexpected day at home can be the best possible type of day. Hope you all are having a fabulous day as well.