Teachers wanted to ensure their students were not lounging at home, playing electronics and falling behind in the curriculum, as they did during January’s snowstorm, so they prepared students to learn from home.
“We lost a lot of instructional time two weeks ago, this go-around, we wanted to keep instructional time for the students,” said North Cobb French teacher Andrea Dignon.
Dignon filmed instructional videos and sent out assignments to all of her 90 students as they were at home enjoying snow days Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Students printed off worksheets, worked through them, took photos of the completed assignments and emailed them back to Dignon, she said.
They could work at their own pace, and could email her with questions.
Some French class students took quizzes from home, recording verbs and adjectives through a Google Voice application. The recorded clips were sent as e-mails to Dignon, and she has already graded many of them.
The extra practice at home helps keep the language fresh in the students’ minds, and ensures Dignon’s class won’t be rushed when school reopens.
“We still have deadlines and things we have to accomplish by the end of the school year. We don’t want to be rushing the kids to get it all done. It’s no lost time,” Dignon said.
Feedback from the parents has been wonderful, Dignon added, many see online learning as a crucial skill for students to develop before entering college.
“Online learning is the wave of the future, it gave the kids a taste,” of college life, said Melissa Nelson, mother of three students at North Cobb Christian.
Nelson worked with her second-grader practicing telling time, identifying continents on the map and oversaw the completion of several addition and subtraction worksheets.
The family set aside time every day to complete homework assignments and keep up-to-date with schoolwork, she said.
Nelson’s eighth-grader printed out power points his teacher had sent in an e-mail, and worked on French lessons as well.
Chandler Nelson, a senior at North Cobb Christian, was the busiest of the three children.
While he wanted to be sleeping and hanging out on the couch, Chandler was writing a five-page British literature paper, completing chemistry worksheets and putting together a psychology paper.
“It’s been hard. It felt a lot like college,” Chandler said.
One good thing about staying up-to-date with school work is that less catch-up time will be needed when he returns to school, Chandler said.
This means more days of summer after his graduation.
“It really worked for us. It teaches the kids time management, keeps kids off electronics,” said Melissa Nelson.
The school’s staff is excited for the potential to use the online learning for snow and other weather-related cancellations in the future. Class time will no longer be determined by unpredictable weather patterns.
“This off-campus learning experience showed that snow days can be a lot of fun, while still giving students a chance to exercise their minds,” said Leigh Ann Geter, a spokeswoman for the school.