For those of you that live in climates that have snow, it can be a magical time for children. We had our first “dusting” of snow yesterday. ALL the kids had to touch it, smell it, look at it, and try to make the season’s first snowball…rather unsuccessfully. For teachers, the mere presence of snow can make make for some wonderful “teaching moments!” Here are a few suggestions from our Winter Thematic Unit.
Winter Introduction – I like to Snowman
Have your children brainstorm what they like to do best on a snowy day. Chart all the answers the children give on a separate sheet of paper. Have the children write their answer on their own snowman (linked above). Younger children can use alphabet stamps on their sheet or you can write their answers for them. The children can color the snowman, if desired. “I like to ____________in the snow.”
I’m a Little Snowman (Tune: I’m a Little Teapot) – have all the children form a circle
I’m a little snowman, round and fat; (children make a circle with their hand in front of body)
Here is my carrot nose, and here is my hat; (children make a triangle with fingers for the nose and pat their heads for the snowman’s hat)
When the sun comes out; I’ll melt away; (children “melt” down to the floor slowly)
Down, down, down; I’ll go away! (children sit down on the floor and tuck their heads into their laps) ~Author Unknown
Print the Snowman for Math Estimation (one for a large group activity or several if doing in small groups) and one Snowman Graphing Table (both linked above) for each student. Decide what “non-standard” measuring items you would like to use (ex: foam blocks, unifix cubes, paper clips, wood blocks, game counters, etc.) Print the snowman template and have the children predict how many cubes (or other measuring items) it will take to measure the snowman picture (see photo at the beginning of this post.)
Talk about good guesses as estimation is a difficult concept for younger children to grasp. Some children like to consistently say, “100!” Discuss whether 100 would be a good guess or not by measuring some other things. See how many cubes it takes to “measure” the hand of a child. Is the snowman bigger than a child’s hand? See what other things around your room you could “measure” for perspective. Chart each of the student’s predictions on a separate sheet of paper. Ask each child to put one cube at the bottom of the picture until you have enough to “measure” the snowman. Count together how many cubes it took and graph the correct number on the Snowman Graphing Table.pdf. (linked above).
Extension idea: “Measure” other objects around the room and graph how many cubes, etc. were used.
Snowman Literacy Activity – Snowman Dress-up and Words Play
Materials needed: Winter clothing items that can be worn by the students. Gather several hats, gloves, scarves, and boots then select one child to be the “snowman.” Dress him/her up in the winter clothes. Have the other students close their eyes as you remove one article of winter clothing from the “snowman.” When students open their eyes ask, “What’s Missing?” The children have to remember what the “snowman” was wearing and tell you what has been removed.
Extensions: 1) Have the children try to determine what beginning letter the missing item starts with. Select another child to call out the beginning letter of one of the items on the snowman child. The “snowman” then must remove a corresponding article of clothing. 2) Write words on index cards and practice the words with all the children. Lay the card pile face down on the floor and choose one child at a time to draw a card. The “snowman” child must try to read the card (can ask for help from peers) and remove that article of clothing (i.e. hat, cap, mittens, scarf, boots.). For younger children, have them work to identify the beginning letter on the word card and then, as a group, name the articles of winter clothing on the snowman child that begin with that letter. The snowman child can then remove that piece of clothing or accessory.
For songs, powerpoint presentations, literacy, math, science, and MORE – see the WINTER THEMATIC UNIT here on the blog!