All summer I have been on a mission to track down the electronic versions of our school’s textbooks – in the event that school closes in the fall - due to a swine flu outbreak. I am not being a pessimist. I just feel it’s better to be overly prepared now, than wonder later,"What am I going to do?"
Donald G. McNeil Jr., from the NYT has confirmed some of my fears in his article, Swine Flu Expected to Return With Opening of School. "The swine flu will probably return in force earlier than seasonal flu usually begins, federal health officials predicted Friday, saying they expected it to erupt as soon as schools open rather than in October or November."
Contingency plans are in order, wouldn’t you agree?
Here are some random thoughts that could help provide a contingency-plan-framework, so students can still learn from home. (Again, this is ONLY if your school should close.)
1) See if your school’s textbook company has access codes to the e-versions of their textbooks. And while most publishers have the codes, someone with determination will need to push for access, since they are not readily available. I know I have been trying and it’s harder than I thought.
2) Visit your local library to see if they have contingency plans in place, in the event of a school closing. I blogged about this, here, and have included my own lesson plans for you to use.
3) How will teachers communicate with their students via the web? Where will their lesson plans be stored? Will you communicate via e-mail, webpage, discussion boards, wikis, etc.? Again, this should be thoroughly mapped out and clearly articulated to students, and parents.
4) Provide students with a lesson on how to self-direct their learning from home. Don’t assume that just because you mapped-out the lesson, that they – your students – will understand what to do without some guidance.
Links for self-directed learning:
"Self-directed learning has been described as "a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others," Supporting and Facilitating Self-Directed Learning by Cheryl Meredith Lowry
SKILLS for SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING by Huey B. Long
Unschooling: An Introduction to Self-Directed Learning July 19, 2009 by Jan Zeiger
5) Worksheet generators are available on every subject for just about every grade level.
6) Quiz Hub is a cool site that could serve as a warm-up.
Please share what your school is doing? It would be great if we could share, and compare notes.