TeachersFirst's Snow Day Resources

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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!

 

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The Science of Snowflakes - Marusa BradaA''''?

Grades
4 to 12
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Take a fascinating look at the secret life of a snowflake with this TED-Ed lesson. This lesson includes a video and a series of discussion questions. Take advantage of the ...more
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Take a fascinating look at the secret life of a snowflake with this TED-Ed lesson. This lesson includes a video and a series of discussion questions. Take advantage of the large selection of additional resources offered on the site to explore snowflakes further. Log in to your free account to save and modify the lesson as you desire. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

In the Classroom

This 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.

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Snow Days - Always Snowing LLC

Grades
K to 4
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Do you need a snow day? Create a virtual snowflake without folding and cutting. Send it to your friends and family with a message. You will receive notification when someone ...more
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Do you need a snow day? Create a virtual snowflake without folding and cutting. Send it to your friends and family with a message. You will receive notification when someone responds. The site keeps track of the total amount of flakes ever made (currently over 12 million). The site also tells you how many others are currently creating snowflakes (in "real time") by sharing "Current Conditions."
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Let 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!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek - John Branch, New York Times

Grades
8 to 12
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Experience the true story of a deadly avalanche and its aftermath through this 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning multimedia feature article. Rich with metaphors and imagery interwoven with...more
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Experience the true story of a deadly avalanche and its aftermath through this 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning multimedia feature article. Rich with metaphors and imagery interwoven with the narrative, the online article includes interactive maps, videos, and photographs. Discover the science behind avalanches in this exquisite example of informational text and narrative. The article sidebars share related slideshows and more. The story is long but well worth the time to fully experience.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Include 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.

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Flake Pad - Pen Flakes

Grades
2 to 6
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Flake Pad is a very simple little website that lets you create geometric snowflakes using basic shapes and a grid. To make the flake, choose a shape and click a ...more
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Flake Pad is a very simple little website that lets you create geometric snowflakes using basic shapes and a grid. To make the flake, choose a shape and click a spot on the grid. You can add as many or as few shapes as you like to your flake. View the completed flake off the grid for a screen shot then include it in other projects or print using the print button on the site.

In the Classroom

Flake 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.

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100 Snowballs Game - ABCya!

Grades
K to 4
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What can you do with 100 snowballs? Find out with this interactive activity where students can let their imaginations run free with creating a winter scene using 100 snowballs. The...more
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What can you do with 100 snowballs? Find out with this interactive activity where students can let their imaginations run free with creating a winter scene using 100 snowballs. The activity is easy to use, simply click and drag each snowball anywhere in the scene. Finished creations can be saved to your computer or printed using links at the top of the activity.

In the Classroom

This 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.

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TeachersFirst Brain Twister - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 9
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These ten question quizzes, written by Thinking Teachers, are changed each Friday and are ready to go with one edition for middle school students and one for elementary students. The...more
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These ten question quizzes, written by Thinking Teachers, are changed each Friday and are ready to go with one edition for middle school students and one for elementary students. The quiz presents ten questions, one at a time. You have only ONE try to pick the correct answer, so think carefully. You get points for each correct answer, totaling up to a possible 100. When you finish, you see your score and how long you spent. Questions are intended to stretch your thinking. Printable versions are available along with answers to the previous week's Twister. A new version of the Twister is mobile-friendly and adjusts to any screen size. Take the Twister with you wherever you go!

In the Classroom

Since 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.

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Build a Snowman - Highlights Kids

Grades
K to 5
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Students will enjoy creating unusual characters with this fun Snowman building activity. Pick from a several different body parts, accessories, and possible settings. This site guarantees...more
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Students will enjoy creating unusual characters with this fun Snowman building activity. Pick from a several different body parts, accessories, and possible settings. This site guarantees a giggle. Note: depending on the time of day (and month of the year) this site may take time to load. Be patient and sing a snowman song while you wait!

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector and then ask students explore it independently or in small groups. Connect this activity to literature study books such as Lois Elherts "Snowballs," and ask students to label or write about their online creation. It is possible to print directly from the site. To save on paper and ink, simply take a screen shot and save it to the desktop ("Prnt Scrn" key on Windows, Command+shift+4 on Mac --- then paste into a document or slide). Exercise your students "fluent" creative thinking skills by asking them to brainstorm items that developers could add to the snowman options, and collect them in a digital "idea bin" like Lino, reviewed here. Soon students will be generating their own ideas for unusual snow characters. These images could be incorporated into a class book in programs such as Book Creator, reviewed here, or Story Maker, reviewed here.

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Snow School - Winter Wildlands Alliance

Grades
3 to 6
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Snow School is a program run by educators across the country that enables students to attend actual classes with hands-on learning to find out about living creatures under the snow....more
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Snow School is a program run by educators across the country that enables students to attend actual classes with hands-on learning to find out about living creatures under the snow. The site contains links to programs run in 48 states and can be used to sign up individual classrooms to participate in their area. Even if your class doesn't participate, there are 2 important sections of the site that can be used in any classroom. The first area is For Teachers. This section contains links to lesson plans that allow students to explore the snow outdoors of their classroom, snow science experiments and activities, and links to other resources for teachers. The second area is For Kids. Here kids can learn how snowshoes work, find activities to do in the snow, and links to other resources.

In the Classroom

PE teachers can use the activities area for suggestions on teaching students games and other things to do on a snowy day. The Snow Science sections contains many experiments to perform in Science class that can be related to weather units, chemistry units, and animal units. Take your class outside after a snow to perform experiments in density, insulation, and snow melt included on the site or look for animal prints to identify.

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All About Snow - National Snow and Ice Data Center

Grades
3 to 12
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Everything you wanted to know about snow can be found in this informative site. The site is divided into easy to use sections containing facts, questions and answers, a gallery, ...more
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Everything you wanted to know about snow can be found in this informative site. The site is divided into easy to use sections containing facts, questions and answers, a gallery, and other useful links. The range of topics goes from blizzards to snow formations. Especially informative is the question and answer section where readers can find the answer to questions from "How big can a snowflake get?" to "Is it ever too cold to snow?"

In the Classroom

Ask students to write their own questions about snow and research the information on this site. This is a perfect site to include with any winter activities. Ask students to locate the places mentioned in the gallery on a map. Have students research a historic snowstorm from a specific geographical location and use an online mapping tool to tell the class about the winter event (and location). Try a tool such as MapHub, reviewed here. Use the site when teaching a unit on weather (or winter Olympics) for factual information about snow using the resources link. Extend the snow "storm" by investigating everything there is to know about snowflakes at Snowflake Bentley, reviewed here, and Snow Crystals, reviewed here.

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Snowflake Bentley - Jericho Historical Society

Grades
3 to 8
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This site offers many links to information about Snowflake Bentley and other resources for studying snow crystals. Wilson (Snowflake) A. Bentley is credited with the discovery that...more
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This site offers many links to information about Snowflake Bentley and other resources for studying snow crystals. Wilson (Snowflake) A. Bentley is credited with the discovery that no two snowflakes are alike. His research and studies on snowflakes were conducted in the small Vermont town of Jericho. Snowflake pioneered the science of photographing snow crystals by attaching a microscope to his camera. The most in-depth section of the site offers resources to learn more about snowflakes such as an educational unit on snowflakes, computer recreations of snowflakes and math sites studying patterns and symmetry.

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects about famous pioneers, weather research, or famous characters from books. This site is a perfect addition to any winter activities. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific section of this site and share their findings on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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Dream Snow Hangman - Amanda Madden on Quia

Grades
K to 2
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Everyone loves Eric Carle's Dream Snow book. Now, quiz your students on the book's details through a simple, interactive hangman exercise. Students must answer 10 questions...more
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Everyone loves Eric Carle's Dream Snow book. Now, quiz your students on the book's details through a simple, interactive hangman exercise. Students must answer 10 questions about the book by guessing the letters. It's edgy and fun to avoiding being hanged.

In the Classroom

This is definitely a winter book, so plan on sharing it on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) during your winter unit. Or quiz your students' understanding of the book by having each take the Hangman quiz. Have them print out their scores or raise a hand to share it with you for a token grade.

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U.S. Antarctic Program: Science and Education - National Science Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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Grab your winter coats, and let's head to Antarctica. This website is phenomenal and truly has a wonderful variety of information for students. This website provides information about...more
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Grab your winter coats, and let's head to Antarctica. This website is phenomenal and truly has a wonderful variety of information for students. This website provides information about Antarctica, video clips, lesson plan ideas, maps, news and much, much more.

In the Classroom

This website has resources for all grade levels. If your class is learning about Antarctica - check out the lesson plans at this website. Or better yet, get an interactive whiteboard and share the unique video clips or pictures from the Arctic photo gallery with your class.

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Kidspired Frostytales - Patricia Knox and Susan Silverman

Grades
K to 2
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Teachers from around the country participated in this online collaborative project and share their ideas and Kidspiration templates on this site. The activities are based on children's...more
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Teachers from around the country participated in this online collaborative project and share their ideas and Kidspiration templates on this site. The activities are based on children's literature with a winter theme. Kidspiration is required. Get a free demo from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page (click on Inspiration).

In the Classroom

Pick your favorite winter book from the student sample section and download the template on to a classroom computer. Be sure to follow district policies for downloading information from the Internet. You need the software to make the template work. The demo versions are good for 30 days only, but doing a project using a demo is a great way to demonstrate to budget committees why they might consider purchasing the software for your school.

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Snow Crystals - Kenneth G. Libbrecht

Grades
K to 6
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Treat your class to a "snow day" at this website. This unique website provides information, pictures and activities about snow and ice. They show authentic snowflakes up close ...more
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Treat your class to a "snow day" at this website. This unique website provides information, pictures and activities about snow and ice. They show authentic snowflakes up close from cities across North America. Please note that you must ask permission before you copy any of the photographs. There is a link available to request permission to copy.

In the Classroom

Share this link in your class newsletter or web site for fun things for parents to do on a snow day! Try it on an interactive whiteboard and project these large snowflakes and discuss the science behind the snow. You can draw over them on the board to analyze the geometry.

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Kids Soup - Ear Twiggles Productions

Grades
K to 3
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Find easy-to-make winter crafts and games - perfect for early elementary students. Includes printable patterns and step-by-step instructions. ...more
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Find easy-to-make winter crafts and games - perfect for early elementary students. Includes printable patterns and step-by-step instructions.

In the Classroom

You might want to pass this on to parents anxious for at-home "snow day" activities. SHare it with parent volunteers who will be helping plan class parties, as well.

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All About Wind Chill - Canadian Government

Grades
4 to 12
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From the Canadians (and who would know better?) comes this detailed explanation of wind chill, how to calculate it, and how it affects us. Try this one as a handy ...more
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From the Canadians (and who would know better?) comes this detailed explanation of wind chill, how to calculate it, and how it affects us. Try this one as a handy reference tool or as a mathematical challenge for students. For extra credit, have them convert the Celsius formulas into Fahrenheit!

In the Classroom

Use this site as a reference tool for students working on a wind chill lesson or activity. Have students determine the wind chills of multiple locations using the formulas and information on this site. Be sure to save the site as a favorite on classroom computers to allow students easy retrieval of the information.

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