Winter is here, and you can feel the excitement in the air. Yes, this can be a challenging teaching time with the interruptions with snow days and the wiggles when snow is expected. Instead of battling these challenges, you might consider embracing them with thematic activities that fit your content too.
Below, you are welcome to link up your blog posts that celebrate winter teaching ideas. You can also find ideas on the Winter and Snowy Fun Pinterest board I've begun.
Winter and Snowy Fun Pinterest Board
I look forward to reading your posts. Now, on to mine ...
Snuggle Up to these Snowy Books
Brave Irene by William Steig is one of my favorite winter books. Irene is one amazing kid who loves her mother so much that she faces a strong, and I mean strong, winter storm to deliver her mother's beautiful gown to the princess for a ball. It is perfect for modeling tier 2 vocabulary and the use of descriptive action verbs in writing. I use it to introduce writing about a brave moment, and each time, I am amazed at how well my students handle the prompt and learn from the book's use. The unit I put together for Brave Irene includes reading comprehension and writing materials. You can check that out if you're interested by clicking the unit image.
Another favorite winter book of mine is Snowflakes Fall by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. Like Steig, she has the most eloquent way of describing winter beauty. This book was written as a tribute to the little children lost last year at Sandy Hook. As I read it the first time, I was so moved by its beauty that I had to use it with my own students. MacLachlan uses repetition throughout the book, so it works very well for students to do the same and add their own description of winter. This unit continues to be used as a donation only.
Jan Brett is another winter favorite if mine (and if you've been reading my blog long enough, you probably know that), and I believe I could list almost all of her titles really. With this post, I thought I'd mentioned two, Trouble with Trolls and Annie and the Wild Animals. Both take place in Scandinavia during the winter and are perfect for studies of character and plot development, cause and effect relationships, sequencing events, summarizing, and more. Here are the links to the units I've made for these two, or you can check out my Jan Brett Author Study [here].
The last book I wanted to highlight is Snow by Cynthia Rylant. I use her books starting in the fall with Scarecrow and In November, Christmas in the Country in December, and I'll work this one in sometime in late January/Early February. Like Snowflakes Fall, it's a beautiful description of what winter looks and sounds like. It's great for teaching sensory words and poetic language and for modeling word choice and voice.
Hands-On Activities are Snow Much Fun
If you looked through my Pinterest board above, then you will see I've been pinning for a while (on my long car trip to Iowa mostly...what else is there to do than pin and make things when you have a 15 hour drive??). Anyway, here are a few of my favorite art, science, and writing finds.
Each of the above resources are linked, so if you want more information about them, you should find all the details in the blog posts and store links. I used Snow Day, a Close Reading set from Common Core and So Much More last week, and the children really enjoyed it. It had a nice blend of skillwork combined with a high interest topic. We will definitely work in a few writing options in the coming weeks as well, but sadly, no art time for me unless it's with the writing.
Finally, one last tip...have you tried snowball writing? Snowball writing is a way to write collaboratively. Students write the beginning of a story, crumple the paper, and throw it at a friend. The next person writes the middle of the story, and the final student writes the end. Imagine the stories you'll hear.