Baby it’s snow outside here in New England. After we get that first snow, it’s always like little bits of it seem to linger until the first signs of spring. Aside from the skinned knees and pulled muscles from slipping on ice… I don’t mind the winter weather. What I do know is that the snow can get our elementary students so excited. Cue the first snowflake of a snowfall and you’ve got finger and noseprints all over your classroom window. Sound familiar?
One of the reasons I love thematic units in January and February is that they are a great chance to harness the excitements and curiosities that students already bring with them to school in order to engage them in meaningful learning tasks whether it’s winter literacy centers or math stations. Throw in a fun science lesson and you’ve sealed the deal!
Snow and snowman activities are no exception. There are SO many snowman book titles (click here for some of my favorites) for snowy day themed literacy lessons that I never passed them by in my first grade classroom.
The great thing about this theme is also that you don’t need to block a week off in the plan book. You can either gently use snowman themed read alouds all winter long, throw in a few here or there, or even have them handy in case there is a chance of snow in that forecast.
I want to share with you some of my favorite snowman themed resources that I’ve used over the years and my students have given great reviews for!
This procedural writing resource can also double as a sequencing activity …. or both! When you’re working with procedural writing using processes that are known to students and that they can even do (even if you just use playdough!) helps students to use their brain power on the writing skill rather than trying to figure out a process that is unknown to them.
We also know that young writers also often need supports when writing. Using vocabulary cards can help students to understand vocabulary, can help you to map the words ahead of time (take a look at some of those compound words and syllable types!). Then students will be familiar with the terms, reading them, and even including them in their writing!
This particular ready to go resource includes both 4 and 8 step sequencing so whether your students are preschoolers, first graders, or second graders, you can find a way to make this resource just right for them!
I am always looking for differentiation and independent as two characteristics for stations. This print and go spinner center is a great way to practice reading words with short vowels, digraphs, or even diphthongs. This makes for a wonderful word work or word building center. It is also fun and a little competitive with the bump nature of the game (don’t worry, directions are included).
I love that students can practice reading words over and over again and when they are working with a partner they are also checking each others reading which means… double decoding!
I love that you can have different students working on the same station but the skill that is just right for them. Maybe you have students working on basic short vowel word families with one student. Give that group or pair the directions to use one of the short vowel spinners and game mats.Whereas if you have a pair ready for digraphs or diphthongs for example, you can choose that spinner!
While this resource includes more than just snowman pictures, each of my winter color by number resource includes a few snowman pictures.
If you have diverse learners in your class, you can use the bundle to have all three versions so students can be working on the same picture but with an entirely different skill that is just right for them!
I’ve written a bunch about why I love color by code resources (read more here) as well as how to use them in the classroom but in short, I love that they are print and go, great for subs, and help with fluency practice in a fun way!
When your students are ready for fluency and identifying complete sentences, this center is perfect for winter. My first graders always loved this writing center in January. I love that there are so many options so I can leave it our for quite a while before students get bored of it.
In this center, students flip over two snowballs to create a sentence. First students will turn over the snowballs, then flip two and decide if it makes a sentence. If so, they can use the recording sheet to write and draw the sentence. Some of them are basic and typical things, but some sentences can get silly and we all know little learners LOVE silly!
If you’re working on a certain skill, you can also give students additional directions and goals such as:
*Highlight or underline the nouns/verbs/subject/predicate
*Circle every letter ____
*Find any letters that make the ___ sound
*Use a capital letter at the beginning of the sentence.
*Use finger spaces between words
*Use end punctuation
I love how you can take a ready made station that is print and go and with a simple addition of a direction really cater the activity to the needs of your students!
This resource includes a variety of activities for your students. They are all pretty much print and go which is always a plus!
The first type of activity included in this resource is a write the room activity ( more about why I love these here). There is a version to practice fluency with addition to 10, and a version to practice addition to 20. You can hand up whichever version is just right for your students, or hang up both and give groups of students directions to do the version that is just right for them (by paying attention to the border). This is a great way to get students up and moving, and if you’re social distancing to any degree, you can really space these out around the room and give directions about the number of students who should be at any one card.
The second activity included are three differentiated bundle up worksheets. These are great for independent practice in identifying groups of 10 as a counting strategy. It also touches on beginning place value concepts. You can also reuse this activity once students have completed it by having them roll dice to color some in and still notice when they have made a 10.
Roll and Color games – There are a few different versions for both numbers and addition included. Roll and color activities are great because they can be done independently or with a partner (I always use these foam dice to keep the nosie level down).
Snowball Three in a Row- This game is like tic tac toe meets connect four. Students take turns solving equations and trying to get three in a row. They can, of course, try to block one another, but you have to correctly solve the equation in order to take the space. The directions have students using two colors to color in the circles. but if you want to get more use, you can just have them use counters to cover up the spaces and play again and again!
If you read the Snowmen at Night or Snowmen at Work stories, these activities will be perfect for your students. Although some of the pages reference the book, there are also pages that ask students to write a narrative story, retell any snowman story, and more.
Long story short, if you’re reading snowman stories at all, you can get some use out of this.
I’ve also included two cut and paste sentence activities in this resource. It’s a great early finisher task, writing center, or even a quick and easy activity to leave for a substitute or to leave in substitute emergency plans!
Speaking of snowman stories, if you want to see some of my favorites, I’ve listed them on this post!
Printable emergent readers are great for providing students with fluency practice once they have mastered the phonics skills included. Through read aloud they can also be used with students who aren’t yet ready to read.
The included vocabulary cards can be introduced to support before, during and after reading activities.
Most importantly the sequencing comprehension activities that follow bring value both to your readers and listeners as they build reading comprehension skills.
This is another great one to use with reading groups, as a whole group read aloud, or even to send home after a snowy day. I also like to leave these sorts of printable booklets that have the follow up activities as substitute plans since they can be done as a whole group or in small groups as well!
Take all the reasons I love printable emergent readers (like the ones I’ve listed above) and make them free… even better! This resource includes a printable booklet and instead of corresponding follow up activities, the goal is for students to identify and read the color words and then to color the picture to match.
This is a great way to have students practicing reading, fine motor skill of color, and identifying color words. It’s like the comprehension is built right into the color!
If you like to save time and money , you’re not only my kinda teacher, but you also might want to check out this bundle of snowman and winter themed activities. It offers a huge selection of winter themed resources at one of the biggest discounts I’ve ever offered… more than 60% off the price of all the included resources!
Are you the crafty type? Don’t miss this fun, cheap, and easy snowstick craft that has some awesome free graphing pages!
While some of these resources might work for your students, you might want to check out this blog post!