Participating virtually – schedules and spaces that fit learning

My child, A-Sunshine, has not been able to go to school for the past two days.  Yesterday, my schedule allowed me to work from home in the morning while her dad taught his classes.  We then traded locations so I could work while he took care of our girl.  A-Sunshine was mildly annoyed with both of us because by lunch she felt better and wanted to go to school. (She is SO my child – I always want to be at school.)

Alas, still under the weather, she could not go to school again today. Our schedules were not so flexible today.  We both had to be at the same meeting at 7:00 a.m.  I stayed home with A-Sunshine but attended all of my professional obligations using technology.

I participated in our PLC-F meeting at 7:00 this morning via Skype.  We are in the midst of developing a common lesson on PBL for our PLCs.  We used a Google doc to collaboratively plan and document our developing lesson which gave me the opportunity to contribute rather than just listen and interact verbally.

When the meeting ended, I continued collaborating with one of our Math/Science PLC facilitators on the lesson plan for today’s meeting as well as her current project with her student-learners in Science.  Then, Bo and I took a few minutes to adjust our class plan and homework assignment for our Synergy team.  Continuing through my “planning” period, I answered lots of email and took 2 phone calls from colleagues to plan projects.

During the 3rd period of the day, I arrived (virtually) in the elementary school for our weekly CTIS meeting with the Deans of IT.  I joined this team meeting via iChat.  We used several Google docs to do some brainwriting and other gamestorming to think, share, and plan together.

I attended the History PLC meeting via iChat and Google docs during 4th period.  We discussed cryptography, World War II, and numeracy as we continue to work on this team’s SMART goal to integrate numeracy into U.S. History.

Lunch with A-Sunshine was next with an announcement that she wanted to go to school.  “I am not sick; you need to go to Synergy, Mommy!”  Sweet and true.  All of the color is back in her face, and she is very active – art, math, reading, money, and fashion show.  So we are off to school so that I can learn with my Synergy team.

During this week last year we were all at home because of snow and ice.  Part of our Learning for Life vision statement calls for an essential action that utilizes 21st Century Learning Environments.  I don’t feel absent from school today.  I have participated in every activity planned for and by me today.

If we were to have a “Snowcation” again this year, how prepared are we to have class virtually?  Have we considered what tools and strategies we would employ?  Do we have a plan for contacting our student-learners, and do they know the plan?  Have we checked our online presence to make sure our learners know how to find all class resources?  Are we using our technology as teachnology?


  1. This is an amazing, bit, Pal. What I love the best is your suggestions near the end that we come up with clear plans that our students know to continue teaching and learning even when snowcations come our way.

    That’s something incredibly easy to pull off — as long as it’s planned in advance.

    You’ve pushed me today. Very cool indeed.


  2. Thanks Bill! John Burk did some great work with his physics students last year during our snowcation. He used TodaysMeet with his students. We gathered in a TodaysMeet room at an appointed time and watched a video while asking questions and discussing what we were learning. Easy-peasy. Now that our learners have laptops, should we be prepared to communicate and collaborate even in the event of snow?


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