Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow

The Jacket I Wear in the Snow,by Shirley Neitzel, is one of my favorite winter books to use in my classroom- to teach labeling, recall, and opinion writing.  The kids have a lot of fun with it.  It also gives me yet another chance to remind them of everything they need to bring to school each day to go outside to play in the winter.

I have many extra sets of gloves, mittens, and hats, that are used every day.  (I take them home each night and throw them in the wash, because I am paranoid about lice I feel better about it. 

Our school has a heaping table of Lost and Found everything- and many kids go to that table to borrow hats or gloves. Not my kids. I won't let them "borrow" things from that pile.  In fact,  I became the "self-appointed" (or anal- as my Principal says...) keeper of that table because it was this enormous mound of a mess of stuff that everyone saw many times a day, and everyone ignored many times a day.  Also, it is right under one of the two bulletin boards that I do in the hall, and when my brother-in-law's beautiful snowflakes started to get hurt- I had to stop the madness. :)

I don't have a picture of it - but just picture a huge mound of ugliness. Or wait a minute...

There.  It felt like it looked like this on a table.


I folded it all and set it out for our conference days, thinking parents may find a shirt, a sneaker, a coat, a necktie, a lunch box, a hat, mittens, etc (I drew the line at underwear. and got rid of that on my own without asking.).  After that, and several last-call announcements for clothes, the nurse and the BOCES school next door took anything they could use. We donated the rest of the decent clothes and "dontated" the not-decent clothes to the garbage.  Lots of outside people use our school for practices, so it's anybody's guess who the clothes belonged to in the first place. 

Also, our school has NO extra room if someone wants to take a child somewhere to work one on one- so this table was also a work table - which, ewww, was awful.  Lysol wipes can only do so much.  (Yes, I cleaned it with wipes, too, sometimes. I guess I am a little anal- but you would be too, if you saw it- and knew children use it to work on.)

If anybody has any great ideas that your school uses for Lost and Found, I would love to know.  We obviously struggle. 

SO- now we have a relatively clear table for a while, but still kids (from other classes) borrow hats and mittens that are there.  I think being dressed warm for the winter is a great area for the children to start learning to be responsible for themselves, and realize that they need to check to be sure they are prepared each day, even if mom or dad forget.

Long story short  way too long, I use The Jacket I Wear in the Snow to REMIND the kids, yet again, to bring their winter clothes.  I used to think it was not the kids' fault- but the parents' fault for not sending what was needed to play outside, however, no matter who is at "fault," the children are the ones who are cold.

After we read the story, we did an interactive writing activity to label our winter person. It was great to watch (and listen to) the children hearing  sounds as they stretched out those words.  I also leave this poster up as another reminder.
We  talked about what, "Bundle up," meant.  Some of their ideas were great, like  wrap up in a blanket  or  carry a cat...  OK...
You could also have a child come up all dressed for outside and label him or her with Post-its (Like this picture from Julie Lee) or 3x5 cards with tape on back (because sometimes my Post-its don't stick great on people- I know- isn't that strange?! I'm sure that is what they are made for, right?)  and really talk about each piece of winter clothing. 

I take a picture of each child dressed for winter one day before they go out to play,  and print it out for their project. ( I cut the pictures out for them.)   Each child's picture goes on a background paper. 

I updated these, made several different versions of the background paper. Some have snowflakes. One has lines if you would like the children to write more.  One is blank if you want the children to add their own snowflakes. Click on the picture below if you would like a copy.

I printed my background on blue paper. I also had some extra batting left over from Christmas, so I cut "snow" for the bottom of the paper.

The children labeled  themselves.

(NJ hat is ninja hat, in case you wondered.)
Then, they added snowflakes with Q-Tips and white paint. 

When the pictures were all dry, we shared them on the rug. 

I am hanging these over the children's lockers. I made a black and white copy for each child to take home to remind them what they need to bring to school each day. (You know- I really drilled this into the ground.)

The Night Before Kindergarten shared some writing activities that go well with The Jacket I Wear in the Snow-   In the Snow and What I Wear in the Snow.

In the snow writing
What I wear in the snow writing
We also used this book for opinion writing.  The little boy in the book is crying, and his mother helps him get all of his winter clothes off.  Why is he crying?  Is it because... His scarf is caught in his jacket? His sweater is itchy? His socks are wrinkled? His snowman melted? He got hurt? He was cold? He didn't want to come inside?  Oh the possibilities for opinions!  One little boy thought he was crying because his cat was bothering the bird. 

("He cried because he fell off the sled."  I sort of love those tears.)

("He got frostbit.")

("He hurt his leg."    He even used an arrow to point out which leg.)

Here is another other favorite "Bundle Up" book!  You can listen to Robert Munch read this here if you want to show the pictures as he reads aloud!
It's a balmy 17 degrees now, so we are doing much better.  This weekend is supposed to be 45! 
Stay cozy. Thank you for stopping by!


  1. We have a new JK Rowling in our midst! This is such a wonderful activity to get the kids involved in, really enhances both their writing and artistic creativity at the same time!

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