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January 16, 2019

Reading, Inquiry, Writing: A Kindergarten Snowman Lesson

By Deedee Wills
Grades PreK–K

    Key Takeaways:

    • Reading: Use word-attack strategies to guess hidden words in Let’s Find Out.
    • Inquiry:  Freeze water balloons to build a snowman.
    • Writing: Write a how-to text about making a snowman.

    I get it! A kindergarten classroom is busy. The demands seem higher and the time seems shorter. What if there was a way to incorporate shared reading, inquiry and writing together? (PSST...and have a blast doing it!) Here’s how I incorporated all three into a 45-minute lesson.

    1. Shared Reading (10 minutes)

    I love using Let's Find Out magazine for shared reading. This month, we practiced word-attack strategies with the Let’s Find Out mini-book Hello, Snowman!

    The mini-book has patterned text:

    I see a snowman in the snow. A puppy stops by to say hello.

    I see a snowman in the snow. A horse stops by to say hello.

    And so on.

    The final page of the mini-book has a change in the pattern:

    Goodbye, snowman. It’s time to go. See you next year when it snows.

    Before the lesson, I covered a few words from the text with sticky notes. Then I had kids guess the hidden words. The words in the first part of the book were a cinch! The words on the last page were more challenging.

    For the first word on the last page, I received the following guesses: Goodbye, See you and Oh! No! 
    We talked about the strategies readers use when they come to a word they do not know (look at the picture and think about what would make sense). 

    Naturally, they squealed with delight when they discovered the word was Goodbye.

    For the second word, they guessed: year, time and winter. When I peeled the sticky note over to reveal the "y" they cheered, “Year!” I asked them how they knew it was year so quickly and they told me they got their mouths ready for the first sound. Smart cookies!

    During shared reading, I teach word-attack strategies. Then when students are in my small group, I remind them of the word-attack strategies and ask them to use them when they come to a word they do not know.

    2. Inquiry: Build A Snowman (10 minutes)

    Next it was time to build snowmen. Two nights before, I filled balloons with water and placed them in my freezer at home. I made one larger balloon and one smaller balloon per set of partners.

    Students cut and peeled the balloons from the ice. Then they used salt to melt and fuse the two ice balls together. It can take a few minutes for the balls of ice to fuse together!

    [HINT]: Fill the balloons with water and place them in the freezer so they sit squarely on the freezer shelf. Otherwise they might topple over like in the picture below!

    3. Writing: How to Build a Snowman (15 minutes)

    While we were waiting for Mr. Snowman to get his head on straight, we did a short interactive-writing mini-lesson. I drew three little squares and asked the students to remind me of the steps we had taken to make our snowmen. I quickly drew a picture in each box.

    Then we discussed our first step. We decided on, "First, we opened the balloons." We continued this process for each step, and I invited children to the board to help me write.

    Once we were done with our shared writing, the students completed their own writing. I asked them not to copy, but rather use their own words.

    4. Melt the Snowman! (10 minutes)

    Finally, we were ready to decorate and melt our snowmen! I used construction paper and a hole punch to make eyes, mouths and buttons. I cut up one washcloth to make a class set of scarves.

    When the children were through decorating, a few snowmen participated in the next part of our lessons at the sink area.

    We talked about how salt could melt the snowman. We used it to melt the ice a little bit so we could fuse the two ice balls together. We also brainstormed other ways we could melt the snowmen. (Put them in the sunshine, put them in hot water, etc.)

    We poured salt on one snowman and submerged the other in hot water. Then, we observed!

    Which melted faster? Try it in your class to find out!

     

    Deedee Wills has spent more than 15 years in the classroom as an early childhood teacher, instructional coach and educational consultant. She writes the blog MrsWillsKindergarten.

     

    Key Takeaways:

    • Reading: Use word-attack strategies to guess hidden words in Let’s Find Out.
    • Inquiry:  Freeze water balloons to build a snowman.
    • Writing: Write a how-to text about making a snowman.

    I get it! A kindergarten classroom is busy. The demands seem higher and the time seems shorter. What if there was a way to incorporate shared reading, inquiry and writing together? (PSST...and have a blast doing it!) Here’s how I incorporated all three into a 45-minute lesson.

    1. Shared Reading (10 minutes)

    I love using Let's Find Out magazine for shared reading. This month, we practiced word-attack strategies with the Let’s Find Out mini-book Hello, Snowman!

    The mini-book has patterned text:

    I see a snowman in the snow. A puppy stops by to say hello.

    I see a snowman in the snow. A horse stops by to say hello.

    And so on.

    The final page of the mini-book has a change in the pattern:

    Goodbye, snowman. It’s time to go. See you next year when it snows.

    Before the lesson, I covered a few words from the text with sticky notes. Then I had kids guess the hidden words. The words in the first part of the book were a cinch! The words on the last page were more challenging.

    For the first word on the last page, I received the following guesses: Goodbye, See you and Oh! No! 
    We talked about the strategies readers use when they come to a word they do not know (look at the picture and think about what would make sense). 

    Naturally, they squealed with delight when they discovered the word was Goodbye.

    For the second word, they guessed: year, time and winter. When I peeled the sticky note over to reveal the "y" they cheered, “Year!” I asked them how they knew it was year so quickly and they told me they got their mouths ready for the first sound. Smart cookies!

    During shared reading, I teach word-attack strategies. Then when students are in my small group, I remind them of the word-attack strategies and ask them to use them when they come to a word they do not know.

    2. Inquiry: Build A Snowman (10 minutes)

    Next it was time to build snowmen. Two nights before, I filled balloons with water and placed them in my freezer at home. I made one larger balloon and one smaller balloon per set of partners.

    Students cut and peeled the balloons from the ice. Then they used salt to melt and fuse the two ice balls together. It can take a few minutes for the balls of ice to fuse together!

    [HINT]: Fill the balloons with water and place them in the freezer so they sit squarely on the freezer shelf. Otherwise they might topple over like in the picture below!

    3. Writing: How to Build a Snowman (15 minutes)

    While we were waiting for Mr. Snowman to get his head on straight, we did a short interactive-writing mini-lesson. I drew three little squares and asked the students to remind me of the steps we had taken to make our snowmen. I quickly drew a picture in each box.

    Then we discussed our first step. We decided on, "First, we opened the balloons." We continued this process for each step, and I invited children to the board to help me write.

    Once we were done with our shared writing, the students completed their own writing. I asked them not to copy, but rather use their own words.

    4. Melt the Snowman! (10 minutes)

    Finally, we were ready to decorate and melt our snowmen! I used construction paper and a hole punch to make eyes, mouths and buttons. I cut up one washcloth to make a class set of scarves.

    When the children were through decorating, a few snowmen participated in the next part of our lessons at the sink area.

    We talked about how salt could melt the snowman. We used it to melt the ice a little bit so we could fuse the two ice balls together. We also brainstormed other ways we could melt the snowmen. (Put them in the sunshine, put them in hot water, etc.)

    We poured salt on one snowman and submerged the other in hot water. Then, we observed!

    Which melted faster? Try it in your class to find out!

     

    Deedee Wills has spent more than 15 years in the classroom as an early childhood teacher, instructional coach and educational consultant. She writes the blog MrsWillsKindergarten.

     

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