Snow Globes

It’s amazing how you just finish a unit and you find a perfect activity to use with it! I think this has happened with almost every unit I have ever taught. I have decided that it is because the topic is on my mind so I am more aware of things relating to it. Anyway, tonight I was looking at Pinterest and I saw the cutest blog posting about making snow globes with clear plastic plates! You must check out Molly’s post at Lessons With Laughter. It is too cool!

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I love that she took the kids’ pictures and had them in the snow globe and then she had them write about their day inside a snowglobe to tie it all together. Be sure to check out Molly’s blog which is filled with other great ideas.

Remember to always. Keep ’em Thinking!. – Susan

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Snowflake Bentley Literature Guide

To me Wilson Bentley, better known as Snowflake Bentley, was a fascinating guy and should be such an inspiration and role model for persistence. This book touches my heart every time I share it with students. Here is a guy who spent his entire life studying snowflakes and even developed a method for photographing them using a microscope with a camera attached to it. Now that might not sound too impressive to you, but considering that he did this in the late 1800’s is pretty remarkable. The kids have always found his life pretty interesting, and are very sad when they read that he caught pneumonia walking home in a snowstorm and died two weeks later, but even with the sad ending, they say it’s one of their favorite books.

I decided to create a literature guide to go along with the book which I think many of you will enjoy. It is geared to grades 2-5, but could easily be used as a read aloud for first graders. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Snowflake-Bentley-A-Winter-Themed-Unit-Integrating-Literature-and-Science ; It’s a pretty good deal at $8.00 for 116 pages.

The purpose of this unit is to help students develop the skills of advanced readers in analyzing and interpreting literature. The questions promote big ideas, themes, and concepts, and provide opportunities for students to question the author, analyze the author’s and illustrator’s craft, and make connections to self and the real world. Questions can also be used for journaling and require responses that go beyond the literal meanings or the answers found in the text as they invite analysis of character, events, and interactions; synthesis of ideas; and evaluation of relationships, actions, consequences, and alternatives.

Extension activities address multiple intelligences and learning styles, provide multiple paths to learning and opportunities to develop higher level thinking skills, writing skills, vocabulary, and research through choice in the creation of products and/or performances. The Common Core Language Arts Standards are embedded throughout the guide in the questions and extension activities.

Teachers may decide how many questions students need to answer and how many activities the students must complete. It is important to note that teachers should allow students some choice in the selection of questions to respond to and activities to complete. Providing students with choice increases student interest, engagement and learning. Students should not be required to complete all the extension activities. Rubrics and checklists should be used to evaluate the student products.

Activities in this unit include:

Comprehension Question Cards

Summarization – Someone Wanted But So

Character traits anchor chart

Snowflake Bentley Character Analysis

Cause and Effect activity

Snowflake Bentley Fortunately/Unfortunately story

Theme Anchor Chart

Understanding the theme worksheet

Similes activity sheet

I am Snowflake Bentley activity

Snowflake Acrostic Poem activity

The Important Thing About Snowflakes activity

Snowflake facts mini book activity

Poem in Two Voices – comparing Snowflake Bentley to John James Audubon

I am Unique writing activity

Persuasive Writing Activity

My Gift to the World writing activity

Book Review writing activity

Book about the life cycle of snowflakes

Interview the author activity

Classifying snowflakes activity

Looking Closer activity

Vocabulary Cards with matching definition cards

Word Map

Synonym and antonym game

Syllables matching cards and game

Parts of speech sorting activity

Making words from the letters in snowflake

Making OW words

Analogies activity sheet

Growing Borax crystals science investigation

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I hope you and your students enjoy learnning about Snowflake Bentley. Remember to always Keep ’em Thinking! – Susan Morrow

Do You Wonder?

I love Debbie Miller’s books. In fact, I have them all, so it was only natural that I would purchase the 2nd edition of Reading With Meaning which was just released by Stenhouse. Of course, it is even better than the first edition. One of the things Debbie talks about is having each child have a “wonder box’ which holds wonder questions the children have written on index cards. Debbie uses the book The Wise Woman and her Secret as a springboard to getting your children to begin wondering. This book is the story of a wise woman who knows the secret of wisdom and a little girl named Jenny who learns that she knows the secret too. As Debbie says, the secret of wisdom is to be curious about the world, to open up your senses and see, hear, taste, touch, and smell life’s treasures.
I love that idea! How great it would be as a starting point for independent projects. While reading about the wonder boxes, I remembered an absolutely fantastic web site which would partner with the wonder boxes beautifully. It is called Wonderopolis and if you haven’t seen it, be sure to check it out. Every day they post a new wonder with lots of neat ideas. There’s an archive of all the wonders, so you don’t have to just use the current daily post. It has vocabulary, activities, links, videos and more. If you aren’t familiar with it, be sure to check it out!
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Have a great day and remember to always Keep ’em Thinking!
Susan Morrow

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