We haven't been back to school since we dismissed early on Monday. That storm came in and dumped 3.5" of heavy white stuff. The roads were a mess (as usual) and although they were much better by Tuesday, the National Weather Service was forecasting another round of winter weather starting Wednesday morning, so they canceled school for Wednesday as well. It started snowing at my house around 10:00 am, and finished around 8:00 pm after dumping another 4" of the white stuff. Again, the roads were a disaster. To make it even more fun, the nighttime temperature dropped to -6 - and this in an area where our average temperature is 50 degrees! So today, Thursday is another snow day and who knows what Friday will bring? Hard to say.
So, we've really lost two weeks of instruction already and I've been getting a bit stir crazy.
However. Thanks to a Tech Geek at our district I have been test driving a new tool to use to keep my kids in the learning game even while they're home for a snow day. A few weeks ago the Tech Geek was out in our building working with some teachers and I asked her if there was anything she knew of that I could use to connect with my kids during a snow day - a social networking type site, a chat site, whatever.
She recommended Edmodo.
I'm going to sound like a commercial here, so apologies ahead of time, but this application just rocks! It's a social networking site that is teacher directed. I signed up, gave my kids the code to sign up for my class, and so far I have about 50 kids signed up and a number of parents as well (parents can get a code to monitor their child which is a fantastic idea!) It looks a lot like Facebook, but the one thing is the kids can't talk with each other, they can only talk to the group as a whole or to the teacher.
I have posted extra credit, I've linked to Brainpops, I've put in missing work for absent kids, and I even posted a video lesson this morning (my first video!). The kids who are absent absolutely love it, and they actually are turning in work (that's a huge problem for us - kids who are absent tend not to make up their work). I can send direct messages to kids ("while we are out on a snow day, please finish your writing prompt.") and to individual classes and to the group as a whole as well as to parents.
If you haven't had a chance to check out Edmodo, take a minute and do so. I can assure you that this will definitely be something I start at the beginning of the year next year.