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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter Mini-Unit

Yes, winter is long, and cold, but I decided we might as well do something fun with it!

We started the night of our huge snowfall (about 2 feet) by going outside for our nature walk. We explored how snow made for different sights and sounds in our backyard.

I read some books aloud to all of the kids. For the older two, this was a review as we covered weather in great detail last year. For the younger two, this was an introduction to how snow works.

Flakes and Flurries by Josepha Sherman: Book Cover

Flakes and Flurries: A Book about Snow by Josepha Sherman is a wonderful introduction to the science of snow. It mentions how ice crystals form around a dust particle and join up to fall as snow.

Snow (Ready-to-Read, Level 1) by Marion Dane Bauer: Book Cover

Snow by Marion Dane Bauer (who has written some wonderful books for teens) is a simple introduction to the hows of snow. It is also a easy reader.

Animals in the Snow

My children adored Animals in the Snow by Margaret Wise Brown. It seems to be out of print, which is sad. We got this (and all of our books) from the library. This is a repetitive, but not tedious, story of animals and children playing out in the snow. At the end of the story, the animals lead the children into the woods and they find a budding flower. Spring has come!

Blizzard! by Carole Gerber: Book Cover

Blizzard! by Carole Gerber explains what is happening to the world outside during a blizzard, all while a boy and his cat are snuggled warmly inside. This book had gorgeous artwork, especially of the quiet, snowy world when the blizzard had ended.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin: Book Cover

Finally, we finished up with Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. This book offered us the chance to talk about a number of things. First, I pointed out the Caldecott award on the front cover. We discussed that it goes to the illustrator for best picture book art for the year. I also pointed out that it was a biography, and the kids mentioned some other biographies we have read in the past. Scrappy and Funny were quite interested to know how Bentley did his work, and were fascinated that until he came along, no one really knew anything about snow! Scrappy has requested Bentley's book, Snow Crystals, from the library, so that he can look at more snowflakes. The kids also took an online comprehension quiz, in the style of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Finally, all of the kids took a stab at drawing their own snowflakes. The older two had to draw a flake with 6 sides, and identify the type of snowflake, while the younger two just played around with chalk on construction paper.


  1. After all my time living in the frozen north you would think that we would have heard of Snow Cream. But we had not. We were introduced to it by, oddly enough, a sountherner. Anyway, another fun thing to add to a unit study about snow.

  2. Is that the ice cream made with snow? I should've made that during our blizzard. Our snow is all old and gross now. :(

  3. I can't believe I just realized that you have a blog. I'm such a loser :(. You on the other hand , have an awesome little blog going on here! I'm catching up tonight on all the posts I've clearly missed out on.

  4. you make me wish i had little kids again. :-)

    most of those books i have never heard of. sad for me, and for my kids who missed out when they were younger. :-( but here is my favorite snow-themed book: the good old classic, the snowy day, by ezra jack keats. i probably love it because i love cut/torn paper illustrations. the book was always a launching point for us to do our own cut/torn paper pictures. (i think i was usually much more into that than the kids and would still be at the table working on mine after the kids had lost interest and run off to play...)

    oh, and if you want to cut out snowflakes with the kids, my favorite way to do it is with coffee filters. i am a stickler for making SIX-sided flakes, and imo the coffee filters are much easier to fold into 6ths (half, then 3rds) than regular 4-sided paper.

  5. How much fun!! I wish we had enough snow that I could read books to my kids about snow. But then again, the daffodils are popping out, so I am happy!

  6. Snowflake Bentley looks so interesting! Another snow related book we have always loved is The Snow Party by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers. It's out of print now, but I just happened to find a copy at a thrift store. It's about a little old lady who feels lonely way out on the farm on a snowy night with just her old man husband and some chickens for company and she says she wants to throw a party. Her husband scoffs at her. But it snows and snows and people get stuck in the snow and she invites them in and before you know it, it's a BIG old party! Darling pen and ink drawings to boot.


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