Thursday, January 4, 2024

No Snow? No Problem! Snowy Classroom Activities

Just ask any kid - snow is the BEST! But depending on where you live, you may have students who never have ... and maybe never will ... experience all the fun that comes with a snowy day!

Well, you have the power to change that! Even if you can't take a class trip to the snowy mountains of Switzerland, here are some ideas for bringing snowy learning fun into your classroom... even if you teach in the tropics!

First up is the classic snowball fight game. 

This game has so many elements that kiddos love ...

*   Sitting on top of their desks
*   Ripping paper 
*   Crumpling paper
*   Throwing paper (or anything!)

You can find lots of variations on this by checking Google or YouTube, but here's the one that worked well with my first graders.

Have your students sit in two rows facing each other, or sit in a circle, either on the floor or sitting on top of their desks. Give each child a recording page (blank paper folded into 8 boxes works just fine) and a smaller paper (about 1/2 of a page is a good size - big enough for them to write on and still be able to have fun crumpling into a snowball).

Decide on your topic. We used this most often to build math fact fluency, so the topic might be sums of ten, subtraction within 20, doubles facts, etc.

How to play: Have your students write the equation (without the answer) on their small "snow paper" and crumple it to make a "snowball". Wait for the countdown... "3,2,1 - snowball fight!"  After all the snowballs have been thrown out into the middle of the group, send them out to each get one snowball (using teacherly tricks to maintain order as needed 😅). They write the equation on their recording page, solve it, crumple again, and get ready for round two!

TEACHING TIP: We all have students who have trouble getting started. Support them by generating a few examples together and displaying them on your whiteboard or interactive board. Encourage them to come up with their own equations, but leave the support visible for any students that might need it!

Next idea! Have you taken your class on a virtual field trip? 

What a great way to get some unique snow experiences! Try one of these snowy expeditions!

From Sesame Street kids, here's some up close and personal sledding fun! This would be a great opportunity for a mini-lesson about verbs.

Not exactly a field trip, but here's a walk in a snowy Canadian forest. Personally, I'd rather pick this lovely YouTube video than the classic fireplace one to use during a quiet reading or writing session.  

Here's the third idea to bring snowy fun into your teaching!

Books! Readalouds are an awesome way to get immersed in a snowy landscape! Books by Jan Brett are my personal favorite for this. I love the way her illustrations in books like The Mitten and The Hat draw you right into the snowy drifts.

Looking for non-fiction? My hands-down favorite is Snowflake Bentley, a Caldecott Award winner by Jacqueline Briggs MartinIt's the life story of the man who first photographed snowflakes. Some of William Bentley's actual photos are even included! My first graders absolutely loved this book. It's a great segue into teaching about perseverance and determination.

Search Amazon here for pages and pages of books about snow!

Do you need a book for shared reading? Here's a free book for K-1. Patterned text, strong picture/text match, and lots of high frequency words make Hey, Mr. Snowman a fun choice!
ESL / ELL teachers are finding this free book to be a good vocabulary builder for their students.

After you enjoy Hey, Mr. Snowman! together, you might enjoy using the activities in this set.

Lots of activities to extend the snowy learning fun!

The last suggestion for incorporating snow into your curriculum won't take even one extra minute from your busy day!

You're probably already using math games in your math centers and math tubs, so why not use games with snowy themes?

This game need absolutely NO PREP! The snowflake is from Dollar Tree, but you can just enlarge and print a copy. Then just add dominos. Click here to read about FIVE different ways to use this game, and to link to my friend Anne's blog where she's kindly provided more extensions with ten frames and higher numbers.

I have many (many, many 😊) winter activities in my TPT store - see them all here.

Here are three of my favorites!

Keep that snowflake fun going in your classroom, and you'll keep your students happily learning this winter!

Happy Teaching!

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