Have a “Snowy Day” in Your Upper Elementary Classroom
The weeks before and after a long holiday break can be really difficult to successfully navigate.
On the one hand, you completely understand how easy it is to get distracted. After all, aren’t we all thinking about the upcoming winter break?
But we know that teachers and students alike both need more routine than we sometimes want to maintain.
We know that winter can drag on, both before and after the holidays.
Why not break up your routine with a fun-filled snow day with your students?! (Most of Florida never sees snow, but the kids still love it)
I’ve rounded up some really fun ideas for an easy-prep snow day!
Language arts is one of those subjects that students either love or dread. For the reluctant readers and writers, there are ways you can hook them. Using a theme that is open-ended but also provides student support usually works.
One easy snow day idea for language arts is to read a snowman-themed mentor text. After you’ve read the text, analyze how the author developed the plot, then have your students create a snowman story.
My Snowman Narrative Writing Unit is a great way to help students analyze mentor texts and develop a strong plot. This activity is a print and go resource, perfect for those busy days when your prep time is limited.
Click on the photo to check out this writing unit now!
Why do some parts of the country get a lot of snow, while Florida has none? I would have students explore this question in social studies. These articles could be used for an exploration of climate:
I liked this bite-sized article from BBC that quickly discusses the factors that affect climate.
This article from Climate and Weather is longer, but may be better for older students.
Straight from NASA, this article takes a closer look at snow cover. The text is more appropriate for higher reading levels, but there is also a cool interactive map that shows snow on Earth over time.
With a few simple steps, snow can quickly become a science unit!
There are two big questions students have about snow:
- How do snowflakes form?
- Why is every snowflake different?
You can answer both of these questions with these student-friendly articles:
Both articles do a nice job discussing snowflakes, so just pick the one that best meets the reading level of your students.
Every class has a student (or two) that doesn’t believe that math can be any fun – ever!
You can prove them wrong during your snow day.
When math time comes around, have students design a snowman or a snow fort on graph paper, then have your students figure out the area and perimeter of their creation. (Have them make a “pixel” snowman so it is square.)
If you have students who prefer something more hands-on, have them determine the area and perimeter of a Lego snow fort. (If you don’t have Lego, try mini-marshmallows – students can eat their creations at the end.)
If you need a digital math center, try my Build A Snowman Boom Cards. These digital word problem cards come in packs for 3rd and 4th grade. As students complete questions correctly, they build a snowman.
These are an engaging, no prep way to practice word problems!
What is your first thought when it comes to STEM during a snow day?
Was it snow? (Of course it was!)
If you live in a snowy spot, then bundle up your students and head outside for some snow-building practice. Afterwards, head inside for STEM.
For STEM, make your own snow.
Check out Elf On The Shelf’s 5 ways to make snow!
Meredith from Momgineer has some great ideas on how to use fake snow for STEM.
Meredith also has a ton of great resources for snowflake STEM! You can check them out here.
Teach students how to fold and make paper snowflakes. This may not seem like a good use of class time, but it actually can hit a number of goals:
- Practicing fine motor skills.
- A lead-in to a discussion of how snowflakes develop.
- Discuss the symmetry of snowflakes.
If you need directions on making paper snowflakes, check out these directions at Martha Stewart.
Is there anything better than a themed snack?!
Continue your snow day by having a fun snack!
Here are some great ideas:
- Hot chocolate with marshmallows (make it ahead of time in your crockpot! Then all you have to do is bring your crockpot to school.)
- Archway Snowball Cookies (you know, those delicious cookies covered in powdered sugar)
- Sno-Cones (only if you have the machine already!)
- Doughnut holes (simple and delicious)
- Popcorn (be really extra and put your popcorn in clear cups with snowman faces!)
Looking for other snack ideas? Check out these inspired snacks!
I hope you use these ideas for a super fun snow day!
Looking For Ways To Save Time On Prep?
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