Keep the (snow)ball rolling with learning on IXL during snow days

November 19, 2019

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In the Classroom

Snow days come in two flavors: the expected big-storm-coming-your-way days and the unexpected-phone-call-at-5-am days. Whichever situation you find yourself in, every snow day means one less day in the classroom.

The good news is, whether these days are expected or unexpected, you can use IXL to keep students learning even when they’re not in their desks.

 

 

 

 

When you know the snow is coming…

Prior to the snow day, assign your students the skills that you would have covered in class that day. Then provide students with some instructions so they can be successful on their “flipped” assignment. For each assigned skill, students should:

  1. Copy the “Learn with an example” into their notebook. Writing down this sample question and solution will ensure that students take time to walk through a detailed explanation before they attempt to practice the skill independently.
  2. Answer 10-15 questions with their best effort. This provides the opportunity for productive struggle as students work to problem-solve independently.
  3. Come back to class with one “how” or “why” question for the class. After practicing the skill, each student should write one discussion question in their notebook. When you get back to school, students can partner up and use these discussion questions as a way to kick off the lesson.

When you return to school, use the Skill Analysis report to check for completion of the assignment and plan your lesson. The data in this report will help you to differentiate your instruction and inform whether you’ll need to do a whole lesson or if a mini lesson will do.

Bonus tip: You can differentiate your assignments by suggesting skills to individual students. Simply hover over the star next to any skill name and select the name of a class or individual student to whom you’d like to assign that skill. 

When the snow is a surprise…

Let students know that anytime school is unexpectedly closed, they should complete at least one evergreen activity. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

  1. Mastery mania: Create a menu of foundational skills that your students should just know—math facts, letter sounds, certain grammar rules. Whenever a snow day comes along, students can work to mastery on a few of these skills. Reward students with a raffle ticket for each skill they mastered during their day off, and draw a few prize-winning tickets from the bucket. A prize can be as simple as a special seat in the classroom or an extra credit point.
  2. Personalized recommendations: Show students how to use their Recommendations Wall to find skills to work on. Have them pick two types of recommendations (such as Work it Out and Try Something New) and pick one skill in each type to work on, aiming to reach proficiency (SmartScore of 80). Or, if your class is using the Continuous Diagnostic, have students pick two recommended skills from their Diagnostic Action Plan and practice until they reach proficiency. Both of these strategies will help students target their personal skill gaps and areas for growth.
  3. Diagnostic updates: If your students have already been using IXL’s diagnostic, they can step into the Diagnostic Arena and answer questions in order to pinpoint their levels and ensure their stats are up to date (tell them to look out for the stars on their Diagnostic Action Plan). Offer a reward to each student who returns to school with fully pinpointed Diagnostic levels.

Whether you have a heads up from your meteorologist or it’s a phone call in the morning that fills you in, IXL is here to help your students squeeze some learning into every snowy day this winter!

 

 

By Aubrey Adams, IXL Professional Learning Specialist

 

 

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