This week long writing workshop began with a shared reading experience. Students had copies of the Caldecott Award winner, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I'm very fortunate to have an ENO board in my classroom, so I played the book's DVD...it actually snowed on the screen. My firsties enjoyed the book and noted some of their favorite snow words from the text such as "crunch," "plop," "deep" and "heaping." I love talking about an author's craft and word choice so that my young writers can be inspired to use similar descriptive language. It's so important to me that they know what author's do, and that they see themselves as authors.
Now comes the fun part. It's something I have never done in 15 years of teaching. I took my firsties to our all-glass stairway, and we sat and watched the snowstorm. It was magical. We probably should have had a snow day, but we didn't. As we watched the snow fall heavily, we recorded descriptive, "juicy" words to depict the beauty of the snowstorm. I even went out and collected a snow sample. We kept track of this fun "matter specimen" all
day-- I was introducing our new science unit on the states of matter. Talk about a throwback to thematic teaching! Check out all these snow words.
In the next lesson, the students were introduced to the writing prompt. "If this day was full of snow, What would I do? Where would I go?" Students first drew a picture of what they would do on a snowy day. Check out this budding artist of mine in action.
After illustrating, students wrote about their snowy day. I told them they had to use a minimum of three snowy words from our brainstorm. As they were writing, students got to observe the snow sample with their hand lenses to add even more rich detail to their writing. These "sloppy copies" were then edited while the students worked on their publishing craftivity included, too. They created themselves bundled up just like Peter from the story. I was sure to have my multicultural-colored markers at hand. Snow sample anyone?
By the end of the day, our solid had changed to a liquid. We had a text connection to discuss; the same thing happened to Peter's snowball after he had placed it in his pocket before returning home
I whipped up a "Peter" out of poster board for my outside bulletin board display. How cute?
Look at this finished project. My first grader captured the style of The Snowy Day and the mood of our snowstorm perfectly.
Here are the finished projects. How impressive are these?
I'm proud to share this terrific idea by a fellow TpT seller with you, and how I turned a writing assignment into a complete week of activities incorporating reading, categorizing, use of the senses, author's craft, adjectives and science!