"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Monday, January 25, 2016

When Storms Interrupt Learning in Classrooms

A post on this blog more than a year ago talked about Instructional Continuity. The article was in response to flooding brought by heavy rains in the capital region of Manila in the Philippines. This time, a blizzard just left a thick blanket of snow in our area in Virginia. Elementary, middle and high schools are all closed and so is Georgetown University. As a faculty, I am encouraged to take measures so as to minimize the interruption in instruction. So I have posted my slides with the transcribed lecture my students would miss. Here is one of the slides.


Last Friday, before the snow storm hit, I reminded my students of the importance of solving problems at the end of each chapter as well as distributed practice, as supported by evidence from cognitive and educational psychology. This, of course, likewise applies to basic education. Mason Crest Elementary School tries to address instructional continuity with the following video:

February 26, 2015 Snow Day Story Time!
Posted by Mason Crest Elementary on Thursday, February 26, 2015
The principal, Brian Butler, writes "Kids what to do during a snow day off from school? Ask your parents can you build a snow structure and listen to a snow day story from a friend! Take a look!"

In the previous post of this blog, I likewise noted the following:
Of course, the tools and strategies provided above may not at all be possible in the Philippines. Much of the examples require a dependable and accessible internet, which is not necessarily present in all of the households in the country. But there are strategies that can be implemented without the world wide web. This simply requires planning ahead of time and designing homework which students can then do in case schools are suspended. These activities could be as simple as reading and writing assignments, or answering worksheets in mathematics. Learning does not have to stop if schools are closed.
Actually, full reliance on the internet is likewise unnecessary even in the United States. I also reminded my students last Friday that even without access to the internet or even a computer, learning could still continue. They still had their textbook and list of problems they could use for practice. And again, the same applies to basic education. The following are examples taken directly from what my own children are doing.

My son, who is in fourth grade, is reviewing the science of weather (how timely!) and here is part of his work:


And here is my daughter's (who is in first grade):



Being trapped inside one's house due to a massive snow storm is not really a reason to interrupt learning completely.



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