Friday, January 30, 2015

Five for Friday January 30th

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. As always, thank you for hosting, Kacey!  This week we had lots of fun with winter books, so I decided I would share some favorite books from the week and some easy ideas that you might be able to use.

First, let's start with Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright . 
The kids love this book because it's a pattern book, AND because Sneezy is always doing something silly to keep warm - and melting every time. 

Finally, he figures out a way to  stay cold!
I used this as a writing prompt for the children to write about  how they like to stay warm in the winter.  First, we shared ideas as a class.  Next,  they turned and talked to a friend about their favorite way to stay warm.  Then, they wrote and illustrated that idea on their paper.  It was a great, quick morning writing activity where we could focus on some conventions and writing neatly.

The Weekly Sprinkle has a really cute hot and cold sort freebie at her TPT store to go along with Sneezy the Snowman
Sneezy the Snowman Hot and Cold Sort

Hello, Snowby Wendy Lewison, is another quick story to read that has some fun text features to show the children.  Some of the kids are really ready to pick up these clever ways to write text, and you'll see them in their next book.

The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll has a great beginning if you want to use this for an example of a strong beginning for Writer's Workshop.  We all agreed that we wanted to keep reading to find out why they both fell in love with the same snowman!
 It also has a good message about using teamwork and working together to do something wonderful.
We also loved reading The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel.  I read this early in winter to remind the children  to dress for the weather.  

We did a labeling activity to go along with it.  I updated these backgrounds, 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.

Then, they added snowflakes with Q-Tips and white paint.

When the pictures were all dry, we shared them.

The Night Before Kindergarten shared  What I Wear in the Snow at her TPT store, which goes really well with this book.

What I wear in the snow writing
The Jacket I Wear in the Snow is about a little child who gets dressed in all sorts of layers and is very uncomfortable in it all.  
She cries, and her mom helps her take off some layers and feel better.  This time when we read the book, we shared our opinions about why we thought the  child was crying.  I think every one of the kids gave a different answer! It was actually great.  It was such a good way to introduce opinions (even though I wasn't really going to- but hey, you go with it when the time is right!).  We talked about how one person's idea wasn't right or wrong, but each idea was what each person thought made the boy cry.  An opinion can't be wrong, because it is what you think.  Opinions can be different from other people's, but that doesn't make one right and one wrong. (Sometimes kids are better at remembering this than adults are...)

I also was able to introduce that fabulous word BECAUSE.  I put it up in the room a few places so the children could see it, remember it, use it, and even spell it.

  They felt so grown up writing a seven letter word. Here are some of their wonderful opinions:

He cried because his sweater was too itchy.  (I LOVE the tears and frown.)

(I feel like crying every day because I'm cold and sick of winter...)
(I love how she heard the sounds in "tight" as "toyt."

We also did some writing about animals this week after we read some books about animals in winter. Here are some of those books:

After we read several books, we reviewed what several different animals did in winter.  The children turned and talked to a friend about one or two animals they liked learning about the most.  Then, each child had to choose two animals to write about.  I pre-made books with just a cover and two pieces of paper.  I told the kids that they were going to be writing these books all by themselves.  Before we started, I had them close their  eyes and really think about how they were going to use spaces between words, their neatest writing, one capital to begin a sentence and then all lowercase letters, and periods at the end of their sentences.  I think this did give some of them some time to focus.  
It really gave me a chance to see what they can do all by themselves.  

This little guy hasn't written much AT ALL this year- and he heard all of these sounds by himself! Maybe I should leave him alone more often... 
Crocodiles go under the mud. 

First Grade and Fabulous shared a wonderful Animals in Winter Mini Unit freebie at her TPT store!
Animals in Winter--A Mini Unit
Jennifer Drake shared a great Hibernation Foldable Reader Freebie at her TPT store. 
Hibernation Foldable Reader FREEBIE!  Super easy to use!
We also had a ball with Here Comes Jack Frost.

 This is a really fun book to share with the children.  Some of them weren't familiar with the word "frost," so we talked about that first.  The book is illustrated with blue and white, and just feels chilly. 

The boy in the book has lots of fun with Jack Frost, but Jack warns the boy not to mention anything warm, or he will go away.
Right then and there, we stopped the book and I had each child tell me what they would NOT mention to Jack Frost!  I got lots of great answers from lava to hot chocolate to cozy slippers. 
Then, we kept reading until...
(I loved introducing the  children to snowdrops, because they're my FAVORITE flower!)
The kids actually gasped at this page when Jack was gone.  
They really enjoyed this story. 

At the end, I had them each think of something they could say that might bring Jack back- (so something cold).  That was fun, too.

During free choice time, I had groups of four do this little activity.  First, they wrote, "I like to play in the snow."  (We are reallllly working on neat writing, spaces, capitals, and ending with a period...). Then, they drew a winter picture with a white crayon, followed by some blue water color painting over that to make a Jack Frost winter picture, just like the book. If you do this, remind them to draw a lot of details with the white crayon in their winter picture.  They loved this because nobody else could tell what they had drawn before it was painted- and then it came to life magically before their eyes. I think I love my crayon resist activities as much as the kids do.

After all of this COLD reading (wow... lame literacy joke) the kids took home this little activity to do at home for some writing practice. 

It's part of my Holiday Homework packet if you would like a copy.  I like to spread some of these out so they have some fun sprinkled throughout the winter.  

Have a happy, healthy weekend. Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Wonderful winter literacy activities! You are a star Carolyn!

  2. I love finding new books to read!!! I just love Sneezy the Snowman! Your kids' writing is the cutest!!! I feel like crying because I'm tired of winter too! :) Have a fabulous weekend my friend!


  3. Hello Carolyn! I always love reading your posts. I don't have Over and Under... but I soon will. And how could we be so immersed in snow learning right now and I haven't pulled out Jack Frost... and that begs the question as to why he wasn't with my other snow books... hmmm. And I loved the blue painting and hot chocolate homework. Now to get back to my own tardy "Friday" post. geesh :) See you around! Kathleen
    Kidpeople Classroom

  4. I absolutely love reading your blog posts! Thank you! I always end up with great activities from you!

  5. Carolyn, your posts are always so amazing! I don't know how you do it!

  6. Well I have added several new books to my list. "Sneezy" is one of my favorites. We did a lesson on consequences and the kiddos did fantastic. I love the writing your kiddos did with "The Jacket I Wear in the Snow". What a great way to introduce, because. Thanks for sharing all these wonderful stories.

    Luv My Kinders


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