Snow Much Learning!

This past week was stuffed full of winter themed learning.  Having daily temperatures in the 60s, the concept of snow is foreign.  Building background was to be a little more tricky.

Monday, we began the unit developing our schema with books about snow. When the concept still remains foreign, you get inventive.  Nothing that many others haven't done.  Dramatic play and science does the trick.  Up first, making snow.  Then freezing and melting ice.  A snowball fight with paper?  Yes, please.  Sledding with cardboard?  Nail it.  The kids were all a buzz.

As the week went on, we read many different snow related books {a few not pictured}.  I have to say, the kids were enchanted with all the stories below.  After library this week, I'm certain all snow related books in the school can be found in room 3! 

I couldn't say enough about 100 Snowmen.  The book pictured above has strong addition concepts for K-2.  Each page incorporates additional snowmen to the story through a number sentence.  I used a sticky to cover the single digit fact on each page while the kids solved.  To challenge 1st graders or take 2nd graders on an equally exciting adventure, kids can add two digit numbers by combining the snowmen from each page.

The following picture show the matrix constructed to assist in comparisons, connections, and main idea.

Using Snowmen at Night, the kids assist in generating a list of describing words to type in the editable snowballs.  Adjectives has been a challenging concepts for my firsties so I revised later in the week with an additional adjective activity.

After reading Snowmen at Work, the kids were quickly identifying differences and similarities between the two stories.  

Prior to beginning Snowman All Year, we watched a video about seaons on Brainpop Jr.  If you are unfamiliar with Brainpop, the subscription based website provides content driven videos that are approximately 3-5 minutes. I ordered a home subscription.  I can only use on one computer at once. Since I use the program to introduce a topic or activate schema, I display during whole group only. This costs me $8 a month.  I ordered my subscription four years ago and have use it weekly.

The video began with seasons and how they are classified.  Annie and Moby, the characters of Brainpop Jr., explain weather and how people adapt.  The kids will be introduced to opposite climates and the rotation of Earth around the sun.  Transition between seasons happens once Annie and Moby discuss the effects of winter on animals.

This video packs a punch within a few short minutes, yet I still had challenges connecting activities completed during each season.  No fear, Annie and Moby have separate videos on each season with deeper content.  We generate a list of things after watching each season.  The kids would promptly return to illustrate their snowman.  This would be repeated in the following days with additional seasons.

Following the reading of Snowmen All Year, kids worked on constructing a connections between two stories.  I will say, connecting between at Night and at Work would have been easier for my kids. Finding similarities and differences would have work just as well using any of the books.

Throughout the week, the kids assisted and produced procedural writing.  We spend a day constructing how to build a snowman in shared writing.  The following day, they wrote their papers while making the craft below.  We repeated the first two days with how to decorate a snowman.  The kids were naturals at writing by the end of the week.  Once the snowmen were completed, the kids selected a setting and colored.  The kids were excited to have their own choice and the wall looks uniform yet unique.  

By the end of the week, I felt it was time to revisit adjectives.  We started our day with magic snowflakes and watercolors.  Such a calming way to begin school.  The kids used a white crayon and made snowflakes prior to using shades of blue and purple for their background. This activity was awaiting their arrival so from start to end, it took 15 minutes.  

Once the watercolors were dry, we took a break to make our melty snowmen.  I opened up pinterest and typed in the search melted snowmen.  This provided the kids with a collection of the completed activity by different classrooms and displayed on the screen.  The doors to creativity began to flow. The kids excitidly talked about how they were to cut arms and scarves and arrange in various ways. They were truly inspired and engaged.  

After the craft was completed, we reviewed nouns and adjectives. I balled up various nouns and adjectives and had the kids throw their paper snowball into correct hoop.  During independent work time, I used the editable snowballs in my unit and created a list of nouns and adjectives.  The kids were to sort into two piles.  The adjectives described the melty snowman and the nouns included things the snowman wore.  Once sorted, they glued on the adjectives to the artwork.

By Friday, we were working on a district writing prompt and finishing a week worth of sowman math centers from All Students Can Shine's TpT store.  The kids needed a fun release.  It had been rainy all week.  Although they enjoyed Go Noodle for breaks, a group was begging to make another snowman art project.  They had seen the little snowman catching snowflakes on the pinterest search the previous day.  I went back and pulled up theimage online, gave each a handful of colors and allowed them to create.  They were free to pull objects in class as a tracer.  Some grabbed buckets while others grabbed pencil cups.  My only rules were to use the one piece of paper for head/body and put all supplies back where they were found. Prior to starting we discuss the perpective of the snowman. What was he doing?  Why was the eyes missing and the carrot face upward?  Kids are so much more creative than me.  I ended up with a cowboy snowman chasing an outlaw.  

Staying on track with time is key to getting through so much content in one week.  Personally, I don't use my phone.  I'm terrible about placing it somewhere and spending too much time looking, so I use a timer.  I have the Giant Classroom Timer from Lakeshore Learning.  This magnetic clock is easily seen by all students, loud without being annoying, and kid friendly.  It's so appealing that I added it to our jobs.  It's about as coveted as line leader and lights. 

You can find a link to the activities in this post embedded in the picture below.  Wishing you snow much fun learning about winter, too!

1 comment:

Elementary Stories said...

I love all the Snowmen books and we do a similar comparison chart. I'm in love with that timer - I could see myself using it to let kids know how much more time to finish an activity, etc. Perfect! ~ Lisa