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December 18, 2017

Snowmen at Night: A Writing Lesson in Perspective

By Kriscia Cabral
Grades 1–2, 3–5

    Looking for a fun way to kick off winter in the classroom? Use Caralyn Buehner’s Snowmen at Night to teach perspective writing to your kids, then add an adorable art project to go with it. Read on to see how I set this up with my students.

    I began by setting up the scene with my class. We recently finished the book Because of Mr. Terupt, where author Rob Buyea tells the entire story through different perspectives. I asked my students to connect back to Buyea's story and think about the different perspectives that could be created in just one scene of a story.

    While reading Snowmen at Night to the whole class, I stopped on the snowball fight page and asked my students to turn to a neighbor and tell the story of what is happening on that page. I asked my students to think about the scene and wonder to themselves, “Does every snowman on that page really want to have a snowball fight?” “What story would each of the many different snowmen tell?”

    After our discussion and finishing the story, I went back to the snowball fight page and displayed it on the projector. I passed out the Scholastic Character Traits page from Top Teaching Blogger Genia Connell's "Bringing Characters to Life" post.

    I chose one snowman to be our model and asked students to use the Character Traits list to “bring this snowman to life.” I asked, “What kind of snowman is he?” As students listed traits, I wrote them on my chart paper. I then asked students to do the same for another snowman that could be feeling the opposite way. In doing this step, try to pick a snowman on the page that is more hiding toward the back and maybe less engaged. This way the voices of the two characters will be noticeably different in their writing.

    On my second piece of chart paper or other side of a T-chart (I did it both ways), I listed the traits of the second snowman.

     

     

    I then explained to the class that we would be telling the story of the snowball fight from both perspectives. As a class, we wrote a short story for Snowman One, using our listed character traits as our guide. We read it out loud and discussed words that we used that help us to understand how Snowman One fits the traits we gave to him.

     

    We did not complete the writing for Snowman Two together, but discussed how it would look different from Snowman One and why. Students gave me ideas, but I wanted to keep them excited so I sent them back to their writing notebooks to get started.

    Students then went back into their notebooks and created a T-chart and completed the process on their own.

    I stayed at the front of the room and completed the story for Snowman Two so the whole class could have a clear idea on how to write from both perspectives.

     

    Once students finished, they were invited to share their stories with peers for revision help and feedback. Their published writing was printed in two different fonts and posted with their Snowmen art. Read on to see how to integrate and connect the two.

     

    Integrate Art

    I found this perspective snowman art on Michelle Osborne’s art class website and incorporated it into our writing piece. While the artwork is a drawing of four snowmen, I had students focus on two to portray the traits that they were given.

    The writing and the art were attached and displayed without identifying which piece of writing went with which snowman. Students visited each piece, read the perspectives, and determined which snowman said what.

    My students really had an opportunity to stretch their creativity and find voice in their writing. The art extension was also a hit in our classroom. Students enjoyed finding clues in the writing of their peers to determine which snowman was doing the talking.

    What ways do you kickoff winter writing with your kids? I’d love to get more ideas!

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

    Looking for a fun way to kick off winter in the classroom? Use Caralyn Buehner’s Snowmen at Night to teach perspective writing to your kids, then add an adorable art project to go with it. Read on to see how I set this up with my students.

    I began by setting up the scene with my class. We recently finished the book Because of Mr. Terupt, where author Rob Buyea tells the entire story through different perspectives. I asked my students to connect back to Buyea's story and think about the different perspectives that could be created in just one scene of a story.

    While reading Snowmen at Night to the whole class, I stopped on the snowball fight page and asked my students to turn to a neighbor and tell the story of what is happening on that page. I asked my students to think about the scene and wonder to themselves, “Does every snowman on that page really want to have a snowball fight?” “What story would each of the many different snowmen tell?”

    After our discussion and finishing the story, I went back to the snowball fight page and displayed it on the projector. I passed out the Scholastic Character Traits page from Top Teaching Blogger Genia Connell's "Bringing Characters to Life" post.

    I chose one snowman to be our model and asked students to use the Character Traits list to “bring this snowman to life.” I asked, “What kind of snowman is he?” As students listed traits, I wrote them on my chart paper. I then asked students to do the same for another snowman that could be feeling the opposite way. In doing this step, try to pick a snowman on the page that is more hiding toward the back and maybe less engaged. This way the voices of the two characters will be noticeably different in their writing.

    On my second piece of chart paper or other side of a T-chart (I did it both ways), I listed the traits of the second snowman.

     

     

    I then explained to the class that we would be telling the story of the snowball fight from both perspectives. As a class, we wrote a short story for Snowman One, using our listed character traits as our guide. We read it out loud and discussed words that we used that help us to understand how Snowman One fits the traits we gave to him.

     

    We did not complete the writing for Snowman Two together, but discussed how it would look different from Snowman One and why. Students gave me ideas, but I wanted to keep them excited so I sent them back to their writing notebooks to get started.

    Students then went back into their notebooks and created a T-chart and completed the process on their own.

    I stayed at the front of the room and completed the story for Snowman Two so the whole class could have a clear idea on how to write from both perspectives.

     

    Once students finished, they were invited to share their stories with peers for revision help and feedback. Their published writing was printed in two different fonts and posted with their Snowmen art. Read on to see how to integrate and connect the two.

     

    Integrate Art

    I found this perspective snowman art on Michelle Osborne’s art class website and incorporated it into our writing piece. While the artwork is a drawing of four snowmen, I had students focus on two to portray the traits that they were given.

    The writing and the art were attached and displayed without identifying which piece of writing went with which snowman. Students visited each piece, read the perspectives, and determined which snowman said what.

    My students really had an opportunity to stretch their creativity and find voice in their writing. The art extension was also a hit in our classroom. Students enjoyed finding clues in the writing of their peers to determine which snowman was doing the talking.

    What ways do you kickoff winter writing with your kids? I’d love to get more ideas!

    Thank you for reading.

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

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