Winter Book Ideas
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
This week, I'm suggesting some winter book ideas that integrate the standards, art, music, teamwork, and a lot of imagination! Hopefully these ideas will get your class feeling warm and cozy for the winter months ahead.
Snowy Weather Days by Katie Marsico is a marvelous book when beginning to teach your students about winter. This book is effective because it uses real pictures of children experiencing the joys of winter. After reading the book, have students create a winter collage. Students cut out pictures from magazines that reflect winter. Glue the pictures on a piece of white construction paper that spells out the word Winter. Also take pictures of your students enjoying winter and make your own Snowy Weather Days classroom book.
Another terrific book to read with your students this time of year is Winter by Melvin and Gilda Berger. It is included in the Scholastic Time-to-Discover Reader collection. The book displays realistic pictures of what a snowy winter looks like. An activity to integrate with this book is to make a word web that includes a copy of one of Ansel Adams' winter photographs. Ask the students how the picture of winter makes them feel. Write responses around the Ansel Adams picture. Using the Scholastic Printables "Winter Mobile," the students can also create their own “Winter Makes Me Feel” mobile. The students write one or more adjectives on each snowflake. As an added touch, I play "Winter" from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons while they are making their mobiles.
There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! by Lucille Colandro is a hysterical addition to her There Was an Old Lady Who . . . series. This time, the “cold” lady is swallowing everything from snow and coal to a pipe and a scarf. Once again, Colandro's creative rhyming text and the humorous illustrations don't disappoint. When you get to the page, "She hiccuped twice and out popped . . . ," ask the students to predict what they think is going to happen to end the story. Have the students write down their prediction and illustrate it. Let students share their predictions, and then finish reading the story!
The next two books I’d like to share with you go hand in hand. The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll has laughter, heart, and teamwork all rolled into one story. The story is about two mice, Clayton and Desmond, who are in a contest to see who can build the biggest snowman. The two mice realize that they can only build their snowman so high without help. This story gives your students a real experience of the importance of working as a team to achieve a common goal.
The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler is about a girl named Little Nell, who wants to help her family prepare for a party. Her mom and sisters tell her she is too small to be of any assistance. Feeling dejected, the girl goes on a walk through the woods and meets up with her forest friends. Little Nell’s forest friends give her the support and encouragement she needs to build her own spectacular snowman. Little Nell's magnificent creation shows everyone that a person’s size doesn’t have anything to do with their capability: that depends on their determination and heart.
As an extension activity for these two books, create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the characters, settings, plots, illustrations, themes, and even the morals of the stories.
Another “must do” activity is having your students build their own snowmen. Provide materials such as paints, cotton balls, tissue paper, crayons, markers, glue, paper, and whatever else you can find around your classroom. When finished, use this project as a writing prompt to engage your students in writing their own story about their BIGGEST or BEST snowman. Have the students write: "I had made a big snowman. I made it out of ______. This is the story about how it came to life one day."
I had to save my favorite book for last. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is an incredibly illustrated and powerful wordless picture book that will leave you and your students breathless. The story is about a boy who builds a snowman that comes to life. The boy lovingly teaches the snowman how to do everyday things such as eating, cleaning up, and getting dressed. The snowman returns the favor by taking the boy on an incredible adventure, flying over rolling hills and beautiful buildings to eventually land on a pier to catch the morning sunrise.
One of my favorite activities to do with wordless picture books is to have the students give a voice to the book. Record each student describing the illustrations using an iPod, iPad, or a tape recorder. When finished, put out the recording with copies of the book for the students to listen to. Another activity to do with wordless picture books is to type the text that the students dictated. Print a copy for each student. The students then cut out each sentence and sequence the story in the correct order.
Share with us your winter ideas or even your adaptations of these ideas. We would love to try them in our own classes!