Jan Marie Traynor

Snow Days

Blog Post created by Jan Marie Traynor on Feb 9, 2011

I like snow days almost as much as my students - as long as they are spaced out about 1 every three weeks or so and always on a different day of the week. So what did we get this year? Snow every Tuesday and Wednesday for 4 weeks. Talk about a disaster for planning! I have some classes that only meet on Tuesday or only meet on Wednesday so they missed (depending on whether we had a delayed start, early dismissal or outright closure) 3 out of our first 4 classes for this semester. Fortunately we have a pretty substantial online presence and the students know to log in regularly and, in between shoveling snow, I had lots of time to record and upload audio lectures for all my classes. Its not the same as having a face to face class but it beats no class at all.


This week is our first snow-free week and we are all excited to get back into a routine. Tried something different with my Soils lecture Monday - I am on a mission to lecture less. Pretty tough when colleges define classes as "lecture" or "lab" but I am determined to blur the edges a bit and get more interactivity into the lecture. During all those snow days I found some great You Tube videos on polarity (especially the polarity of water) so in lecture when I announced that they were to break into small groups to watch you tube videos they all cheered - yes even my jaded college students like it when we do something different. After they watched each video, we discussed what they learned, made the connections to water in soils and water management in general. Class ran late by 15 minutes and no one noticed! The videos only took up a total of 16 minutes of class time for both - the rest was student centered discussion. That's a great session! Several also asked if I could share the you tube links so that they can review them and I posted them in the online class. And I am grateful to the teachers with more time than me who made the excellent videos available.


Next week its on to model Building in Landscape Design - great winter activity and terrific reinforcement and aid in teaching students to understand what they are drawing in 2-D has 3-D implications. Plus its fun! Maybe not as much fun as getting your students to walk around with orange pig ears taped to their head but still fun!