TeachersFirst's Snow Day Resources
It seems that snow days sneak up on our classes when least expected. Use this collection of resources to "plan ahead" for snow days. Maybe you want to stop and appreciate snow for snow's sake by creating snowflakes and studying this striking weather phenomenon. Or perhaps your class needs a way to convene for some snow day collaboration. Whatever your situation, you will find tools and ideas here for any grade level.
Share this link on your class web page or TeachersFirst public page so your class is prepared. Even if a blizzard should close your school for a week, these links can prevent cabin fever for all, and keep the learning moving!
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis lesson is perfect for saving for a snowy day or use during winter lessons. Create your free TED-Ed account, reviewed here, and save this lesson and others for use in your classroom. Before introducing this lesson to students, ask students to share what they know about snowflakes on an online bulletin board like Lino, reviewed here. At the end of your lessons, revisit your bulletin board to add additional information learned and correct previous misconceptions. View the video together as a class, then allow students to research and find answers to the included discussion questions. Create a Google form for students to respond to discussion questions. Ask them to back up their response by including information and/or images found during their research.
GradesK to 4
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In the ClassroomLet it snow all day with these virtual snowflakes. Challenge students to write poetry to include when students send their snowflakes to parents or grandparents. Research winter animals, places, or birds and put information and write facts on snowflakes. Create and make a multimedia presentation with your different snowflakes. Make a blizzard of all of your snowflake messages! Virtually cutting and creating snowflakes may become addicting!
Grades8 to 12
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In the ClassroomInclude this story (or portions of it) during your science study of motion, gravity, or weather with secondary students. (Our check of reading level found it to be approximately 8th grade). Experience the text on a projector or interactive whiteboard to annotate figures of speech that tell us even more than some of the images. Read and analyze it as an informational text in English class. (it's viewable on tablets, too!). Discuss how the author uses media as part of the writing instead of as an add-on. For journalism and other writing classes, you may want to have your students read the accompanying article How We Made Snow Fall to analyze how the interactive and graphics departments at the New York Times worked with the text of the story to make the graphics and video a seamless part of the "reading". Challenge student groups to investigate a true story of a weather event or other actual occurrence through a combination of media and writing, explaining the science concepts along the way. Share their projects using one of the multimedia tools available from the TeachersFirst Edge. Expecting a snow day? Share this on your class web page for your literature or science class as a productive way to spend the day. Teachers of gifted can share this as an example of a project that can draw on a student's interests in science, art, and writing. Challenge students to try one. If you teach journalism, you could make the two articles an entire unit as you discuss the changing role of print vs. web-based writing in the 21st century.
Grades2 to 6
In the ClassroomFlake Pad is a great site to help students understand symmetry. Any time students click a space on the grid, the shape will appear on multiple points on the grid. Use Flake Pad on an interactive whiteboard and have students identify lines of symmetry on the flake. With the pointer tool on Flake Pad, students can drag the shapes they have created to different points. Have students in the audience describe what happens to the flake as you move the shapes.
GradesK to 4
In the ClassroomThis site would be perfect for the 100th day of school activities! Use in a computer center and have students group the snowballs into different size groups and count how many are in each pile. Have students create a scene using the 100 snowballs then write a poem about their creation.
Grades3 to 9
In the ClassroomSince elementary and middle school curriculum content varies from location to location, it is unlikely that every question will fall within the scope of your school's curriculum. High point questions may fall outside standard classroom fare. Five-point questions tend to be at the knowledge/comprehension/application level of Bloom's taxonomy and closer to "normal" content. Ten pointers are more likely cross-curricular application/analysis, and twenty pointers require analytical thinking and a wider experience level, such as knowledge of current events or information beyond normal curricula. Twenty pointers may require more than one student's input.
Do the questions as a whole-class activity with a projector or interactive whiteboard with students contributing the portions of knowledge they do know toward solving the question. Using teamwork and thinking aloud can often help the group reach a conclusion that no single member could do on his/her own. They can each test different math answers to see which one is correct. This process will not only foster thinking aloud and group communication, but also model test-taking skills for multiple choice.
Alternatively, do the Twister in small groups, with one student an answer entry but others as researchers on neighboring computers to find out what the group does not know. It may be helpful to assign roles: moderator (assigns what to find out and helps the group reach consensus), keyboarder (enters responses, may conduct research in a new window), or researchers (find information as assigned). Use the Twisters to model and teach information literacy skills in a high-motivation activity. Or offer the Twisters as an enrichment challenge or extra credit option for students to do at home. Ask parents to be on the honor system to sign a note indicating the score their child achieved. Since parents may be overly interested in helping, you may want to simply give extra credit for anyone completing the quiz, no matter the score. Be sure to mark this ready to go exclusive in your favorites and share it on your teacher class web page.