Snow day! School staff fill icy Friday with cupcakes, catchup, pets, and writing a book

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 1:00pm

Home Friday morning on a snow day, Prema Long settled in by the wood stove with a hot cup of coffee and “a pile of quizzes and projects to grade, reflections to read and respond to, and recommendations to write,” the Wiscasset Middle High School physics, chemistry and computer science teacher said. “I also have two hours of homework for a course that I am taking which I'll do today rather than this weekend. And, I'll get my lesson plans all set for next week.

“And, once this is done, I'll read, walk the dogs, cook, listen to music. You know, the fun stuff!”

Long and other area school staff responded to Wiscasset Newspaper’s email ask, how were they spending their snow day. Pets figured prominently. So did school and other work. And for WMHS’ Ralph Keyes, the day home meant he could get in “a pre-game snooze (as) an unexpected treat” before the Maine Pond Hockey Classic, a tournament he was skating in that night on Messalonskee Lake in Sidney. The event benefits a lot of Waterville-area charities, he said.

Keyes loves winter weather, and called snow days a double bonus. “You get snow, and a little down time to play around in it. I often talk to my adult daughters after a snow day and remind them how much fun we used to have with snowball fights and cross-country skiing. Snow days also offer a great opportunity to get caught up on some work. I'm settling down now to do some grading, write two recommendation letters, and clean up my email.  It frees up some of the hours I would spend doing this on the weekend.”

Fellow WMHS teacher Kim Andersson reported Friday morning, she was “cozy on the couch” with pets and coffee. “Later I will make cupcakes for tonight’s father-daughter dance” at Wiscasset Community Center.

Meanwhile, Dresden Elementary School teacher Erica Atkinson was making bread, “digging into a good book by the fire” and planned to play with her dog and spend time with her husband. He also had the day off due to the state’s closure, she said. “It's a rare gift for both of us to have snow days, so we are going to make the most of it. I am also thinking of my students and hoping they are enjoying their day off, too.”

What was Wiscasset Elementary School teacher Justin Stygles up to Friday? A lot. New Jersey was just getting rain, so if he didn’t have to go to Canada Saturday, he would have jumped in the car to visit harness racetracks Freehold and Meadowlands. Instead, he was home. Plans included continuing to write his book on self-perception’s impact on the reading process; then reading toward creating new social studies units for his fifth graders, he said. 
“I'm trying to organize ways to have students create multi-media presentations for research units and persuasive writing units that include social studies content based on the newly revised learning results ... Just because it’s a snow day, doesn't mean I have the day off. Too much work to still do,” and some non-work work. Stygles said he’d be doing some core exercises, his rosary “and likely start cleaning the walls to my apartment since spring is going to come. It's not like I can write all day long. My attention span doesn't last that long, so I gotta keep busy.
“Shaw’s is only two miles away, so I'll likely get some new groceries,” he added.
WMHS Technology Coordinator/VHS Site Coordinator/Student Council Advisor Deb Pooler also had school on her mind and in her plans. “I will use some of my time to continue to work on the upcoming WMHS Winter Carnival schedule to make sure all activities and competitions are supplied with the required materials and that the activities will be monitored by teachers.”
And WMHS educational technician Stephan Puff said on snow days he and wife Lauren shovel paths for their two goats, two cats and dachshund. “They all love running in the snow. Inside, we are playing and reading with our 6 month old daughter, unabashedly binging (on) our favorite shows, and keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t lose electricity. I love snow days because they are a healthy mix of work and play,” Puff observed.