Thursday, March 12, 2020

E-Learning Fills in the Gaps By Susan Gable

It could be weather-related or a water main break. It could be due to mass illness. (We all know kids are germ magnets!) School's closed! Unexpected day off! Break out the hot chocolate and stay in your pajamas.

But we all know there's no such thing as a free lunch – or a free day off, especially if your district has already exhausted any "free days" built into the calendar.

More and more districts are using a variety of e-learning and "flipped classroom" models to fill in the gaps when students can't be in school. This prevents the need for makeup days, usually added at the end of the year or taken from a vacation period.

Needed to Take Advantage of E-Learning Makeup Days:

1. Technology – This method works best in districts where students have been issued laptops/Chromebooks by the school. That ensures all students have the tools they need to do the work.
2. Home Internet Access – It goes without saying this makes it work, particularly for inclement weather that pops up unexpectedly, without giving teachers a chance to have students download materials.
3. Learning Management System (LMS) – This helps tremendously with structure. Students will already be accustomed to accessing teachers' lessons and assignments, and communicating with their teacher this way. Can Help, Too

Educators can create an account to access free materials at that work great for these types of makeup days.

Students can access the site via their teacher's class code and watch 10-15-minute videos designed to promote critical thinking. They cover from economics, science, and health, to geography and family & consumer science. You can even find some that integrate music and social studies! Students can then take an online quiz. 

Assign a Current Events lesson, with vocabulary words and higher-level discussion questions. Have students write essays for answers, then return to class the next day prepared to discuss! Or, if your LMS includes a forum capability, host the discussion there.

Looking for something even shorter? Check out the collection of Teachable Moments videos – short, right-to-the-point videos that are less than 5 minutes long and include supplemental activities.

There's also a new online mini-course, The U.S. Constitution & Black History, which can be used online, or dragged into your SCORM 1.2 compatible LMS.

You don't have to wait for an e-learning day. also offers complete substitute lesson plans that incorporate their materials. Other teachers use them on a regular basis to bring the curriculum to life with high-interest videos. Create your free account today!