Sunday night’s forecast promised snow for Monday. But come Monday morning, only a light dusting awaited me outside. While I enjoy my days as a teacher, there’s nothing quite like a snow day to stir excitement in my heart.
My students barely greeted me that morning. I could tell their hearts were heavy with a snow day thwarted. We all moved through the day with less enthusiasm than usual. But I knew it didn’t have to be like this–with my toolbox of teacher skills, I could do better. Snow Day number one was in the forecast.
On Tuesday I began to drop hints that something special was coming this week as their reward for a recent fundraiser–as good an excuse as any. I parceled out hints meagerly—they were to wear their pajamas on Thursday BUT it wasn’t pajama day.
On Thursday morning with temperatures in the upper 40’s, my Activboard projected 10 hours of a snowy day—courtesy of YouTube. All the lights were out save my five lamps. Sprinkled across desks and on tables were mini-marshmallows—a mess I’m still cleaning days later but well worth it. White board surfaces held hand-drawn blue snowflakes, snowmen, and “Snow Day!” greetings.
The faces of my students as they entered the room that day were priceless, like Santa visiting on Christmas morning. One student said in his baritone voice, “I never thought I’d say this but school is cool.” Yet they still learned so much that day.
Their morning work focused on finding text evidence from the main lesson— a first hand account of a snowstorm in 1888. Using giant snowflakes on chart paper to organize their ideas, they compared the effects of a blizzard today compared to the past using quotes from the text.
Their discussions were brilliant among their groups and with the whole class. They thought of ideas that never occurred to me. On their own, they wrote about the snowstorm, answering text-based, deep thinking questions.
In small group, we read a poem about winter, focusing on theme—a skill with which they really needed practice. For their seatwork they reviewed main idea and text based questions about various animal adaptations to winter. While the sunny day outside heated up, the snowstorm continued on my Activboard.
At one point, an instructional coach entered the room to retrieve a small group of kids. She commented, “They’re so engaged, I hate to take them.” So she didn’t.
While we didn’t have an official snow day out of school, the days of anticipation for me—and my students—made this snow day the best one yet. I will have another snow day this year, but don’t tell my students. I want to make it an even bigger one next time. It’ll be a blizzard and they’ll be learning so much they won’t know what hit them—a snowball or a passionate teacher.