The groundhog says there’s six more winter weeks that we’ll have to slog through. After the snowiest and one of the coldest Januarys in history, six more weeks is scary. We’ve already had a couple of snow days this semester, and we may have more. When you finally see your students after they’ve been off building snowmen or (more likely) after they’ve spent all that unexpected free time on Facebook and Twitter, do their eyes glaze over when you ask them a question about (Lord forbid) the subject matter they should have been studying? Koreans have a term for this glazed-over look – dongtaenun, flatfish eyes.
Giving your students something academic to do on a snow day may help reduce the instances of dongtaenun, and may also help them learn. Sending them an email and awarding extra credit may even induce them to engage. Here are some ideas:
Have them record a short video summarizing what they have learned so far in the class. Challenge them to be creative in their summaries; they can write and record a song, a short skit, an animation. They can post the video on YouTube, using the “Unlisted” privacy setting, and share with the class.
- Record a narrated PowerPoint lecture, save it as a movie, and post it to YouTube. Embed the link in ANGEL, and let students know where to find it. Make sure you include some activity such as discussion questions or a quiz so you can assess their comprehension.
- Build a number of self-scored practice quizzes in ANGEL.
- Give an extra reading assignment with associated discussion questions or a quiz.
- Have them do a short group project. You can use Adobe Connect as a real-time meeting room.
- Record an audio podcast with scavenger hunt-like clues embedded so they must listen carefully to successfully complete the hunt. The hunt can be answers to a quiz, a code that spells out an important term (e.g. the second letter of every word spells “theory of relativity”), or any number of things relating to your class.
The idea here is to keep them engaged with your subject matter while they are enjoying the snow day. When you see them next, they won’t have dongtaenun, they’ll be as bright eyed and bushy tailed as that darned groundhog!