January 2017 - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

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Typically, you probably think of the book, Snowmen at Night, as a book for "little kids." But this is a fun book to use with the big kids too!


Here are some great activities to use after you read this book with your grades 3-5 students!


This is a good book to use if you are working on identifying the structural elements of a poem.

Grab this freebie with an excerpt of the book that will allow the students to label the stanzas, rhyme scheme, and verses. 

I also chose that excerpt of the book intentionally, to enable a focus on punctuation craft- discuss why the author used the long dashes instead of commas (what does it make you do as you read?) as well as the first stanza including parentheses.

This book also, of course, opens up a great writing opportunity! Have the students work on writing their own poem describing what a snowman does at night.

Here is a great video you can show your struggling students to help them understand how to write a rhyming poem. (Although the video is titled as "for K-2" I think it's still very appropriate for many students who need help understanding how to rhyme.)

Then, bring some art education into the classroom! Check out this fantastic post from A Faithful Attempt about the principle of movement in art using chalk pastels on construction paper! This would be a fantastic display for the hallway with their poems attached!

Not feeling the mess chalk pastels might create? Do this fun torn paper art activity instead found on The Elementary Art Room's blog:


I hope your students love this book as much as mine always did! :) Enjoy!


I am teaming up with The Reading Crew again to bring you some fun wintery mentor text lessons!

Not only are we sharing some great lesson ideas with you, but you can win all of the books, too! Read through the post to see how to enter to win!

Here in the southeast, snow is a prized rarity. Seriously. It's exciting to see a few flakes in Georgia. Sharing books like Recess at 20 Below is important to give students around here an idea of what life is like in other places. I love the book, not only because of the great information shared, but also because of the gorgeous photographs! The book is written (and all photographs are taken) by an Alaskan teacher. She shares what it's like to go out for recess in the cold weather of Alaska. The students will love seeing kids just like them at recess, below zero!


This is a fantastic book for any grade level, but because of the amazing detailed photographs, I love using the book for standard RI.1.6: Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text. It's also great for standard RI.2.7: Explain how specific images contribute to and clarify a text.



Start the lesson by reading the book, Recess at 20 Below.


Tell students that when we read a book with pictures or photographs, especially a nonfiction book, it's important to also "read" the images. They help us learn more about the subject and can sometimes even tell information not given in the words.


Discuss how the photographs show what the text is saying. "Reading" the photos will give more information and provide a visual for the words. Especially review the photographs with which students do not have prior knowledge, and those that are not described in the text of the book, like when the students are walking to school and it is still dark out.



Complete this free activity together. Review the four facts by going to those pages and re-reading the text and looking at the photographs.




You can find more ideas and activities for Recess at 20 Below, along with nine other mentor texts perfect for Earth Science lessons integrated with reading and writing, in the Nonfiction Better Than Basal for Grades 1-2: Earth Science unit.



You can visit more blogs for some wintery mentor text lessons at the links at the bottom of this post. Each blog post features a "secret" word that you will enter in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win all of the mentor texts we share. My secret word is RECESS.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other great lessons from The Reading Crew below!




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