When School Is Closed Unexpectedly Use Lesson Plans That Make Sense

If your school is closed unexpectedly, what should you do? The students have no books. You have no plans. On top of that, annual testing looms. With some creative thinking, you can solve this problem.

Ms. Sneed’s School Is Closed Unexpectedly

Ring! Our favorite fourth grade teacher woke with a start. Who could be calling at this hour?

Good morning. School will be closed for the next four weeks due to the coronavirus.

Was she dreaming? Could this really happen at her school? Thoughts raced through Ms. Sneed’s head. How would her kids get ready for standardized tests?

After several agonizing moments, the teacher pulled herself out of bed – and tried to pull herself together.

Expectations and Reality When School Is Closed

Later that day, Ms. Sneed sat at her computer while her principal conducted a webinar.

“We expect that parents will follow through and kids will do whatever homework we assign,” said the principal. “But in reality, some will, and some won’t.”

Ms. Sneed sighed. “Why bother?” she said to herself.

“Additionally, we expect families will have necessary technology. However, some don’t. Furthermore, if a family only has one device, each child in the family can only use it for a limited time.”

Ms. Sneed’s eyebrows shot up. She hadn’t thought of that.

“Let’s take a day, people. By tomorrow, I’d like to see your assignments on your school webpage. Get creative. Hit the standards. And remember – you assign it, you grade it. Don’t get too carried away.”

Ms. Sneed Targets Specific Standards

After pouring a second cup of coffee, Ms. Sneed got to work. “Be creative,” she mumbled. “Hit the standards. And use what families have at home. Good grief! They may be quarantined!” Quickly, she began working on some activities for homebound kids.


First, Ms. Sneed worked on informational text. “What does everyone have that’s not necessarily online?” she asked herself. “A newspaper!”

She whipped out her laptop and took a quick peek at the standards. Soon, she had created a template that would work for any news article. With a little searching, she found three great kid-oriented news sites: News for Kids, DOGOnews, and Time for Kids.

When school is cancelled unexpectedly, use this template to practice informational text skills with a news article. It's great for kids in third, fourth, and fifth grade.

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Next, she moved on to literature. “Stories that everyone can access?” she wondered. “I know! Fables. All kids and parents know some. They don’t necessarily have to read them; they can retell them.” Once more, she consulted the standards. Then the keyboard clacked away again. Fortunately, the Library of Congress had also published a set of Aesop’s Fables online. Very nice.

Fables are the perfect stories to explore when school is cancelled unexpectedly. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students don't need a book or Internet. Family members can simply retell tales they know.

Whew! By now, Ms. Sneed was on her third cup of coffee. On to writing. This turned out to be much easier. “My kids need practice writing persuasive pieces,” she thought. “We’ll just use the topic of the day!” She copied and pasted two different organizers – one for a one-paragraph essay and another for five paragraphs.

When school is cancelled unexpectedly, ask your students to write a persuasive essay. The topic is easy: Should we have to make up the days?

By now, Ms. Sneed was on a roll. “Math at home?” she asked herself. “Measurement and fractions, of course! Let’s do some cooking!”

When school is cancelled unexpectedly, ask kids to do some real-life math in the kitchen. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students can explore fractions and measurement while cooking.

Now on to science. “I really want them to review for the upcoming standardized tests,” she thought. That would be easy for kids with Internet access. She took a look at her favorite free science review site, Scholastic’s Study Jams, and jotted down the videos she wanted her kids to watch.

“Hmm, they should actually do some science too,” she thought. A slow smile spread across her face. She wanted to try growing plants from vegetable parts. Why not let the kids try?

If school is cancelled unexpectedly, ask your students to experiment with different vegetables and try to grow roots.

Ms. Sneed sat back and closed her eyes. Yes! These activities will keep kids busy while school is cancelled unexpectedly.

Suddenly, her eyes flew open. Just a few more things…

Ms. Sneed Uses Digital Resources When School Is Closed Unexpectedly

Test Prep

“Who knows what will happen with our annual testing,” Ms. Sneed said to herself. She pulled up a file of Google Drive resources that showed kids how to construct responses. “At least those with computer access can practice,” she mumbled.

Hands-on Science

With just a little searching on Teachers pay Teachers Ms. Sneed also found an entire set of science activities to do at home – all stored in a handy website. “Kids will love these hands-on light activities,” she thought. “They’re great learning experiences – and boredom busters.”

Independent Learning

The teacher also purchased a few independent learning modules on: Frogs and the March ILM. Perfect! Each of these web-based units provide a full day of themed learning.

When school is cancelled unexpectedly, use independent learning modules for kids in third, fourth, and fifth grade.

Enjoy Teaching

Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.

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