Snow day isn't stopping Bethany students from learning

A teacher at Bethany Christian Schools asked her students to shovel snow and post a picture for PE credit. It's part of the "virtual assignments" Bethany teachers put together Wednesday.

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 12:43 p.m.

GOSHEN — Parents of some Bethany Christian Schools students have snow-free driveways Wednesday, March 12, thanks to a creative "snow day" assignment.

Teacher Krysten Parson asked students to shovel snow for 15 minutes and send her a picture of their work for PE credit. It's part of the "virtual assignments" Bethany teachers put together to avoid yet another canceled school day.

"I wanted to assign something that would allow some kinesthetic movement and exercise," Parson said, adding "I think the parents are more excited about this homework assignment that the students are."

The school announced to parents and students last week that it would go ahead with a plan to do online learning if weather caused more cancellations. 

That means that students are using computers at home to do virtual lessons created by teachers. And they aren't slacking —  by late morning on March 12, math teacher Renae Yoder said she'd already gotten completed assignments back from students.

"I would prefer to be in school with the students, but given the weather conditions today I am glad we can make use of the technology we have," Yoder said, referring to the school-issued computers that students use.

She said most students will complete the assignments on their own, but teachers are available via email to answer questions. 

Josh Weaver, another Bethany teacher, said he recorded a lesson using an iPad and his students watched the lesson at home. Students have an electronic copy of the textbook, he said, and they can work on practice problems from home.

"I have answered a few questions throughout the day," Weaver said Wednesday afternoon. "I also encouraged other students to answer each other's questions online."

Students have until 11:59 p.m. to finish school work, according to information from the school. Those who don't have Internet access at home will have up to two extra days to finish if their parents write a note.

The virtual learning day is teaching more than just typical school subjects — according to Yoder, it's also encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning.

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks


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