Snow Day! Those two words conjure delight and joy in the hearts of all teachers, giving everyone a brief, surprise holiday in the long string of time between winter and spring break. But do you do when there’s not a speck of snow in the air?
Here’s how to make any day a snow day in your classroom with a little creative thinking:
The Blizzard of 1938. Food shortages, price gouging, and multiple fatalities, all from the surprising blizzard of 1938. You can examine this first-hand account of the blizzard for a deep discussion and text analysis, with inferring, comparing, and contrasting. The primary documents and questions are already available. Lesson completed for your first snow day.
Hibernation. If reading primary documents is right for your students, read this passage about how animals adapt to winter through hibernation and migration. Students can compare and contrast hibernation and migration, find text evidence, and identify the main idea of the passage. It’s a win/win for everyone.
Snow Fort Building Contest. Math should never be neglected on a snow day. Why not have a snow fort building contest? Students decide to enter a snow fort building contest but there are guidelines using perimeter and area. They solve the problems and even get to draw their forts. Math snow day complete!
January Morn. “Bare branches of each tree on this chilly January morn look so cold so forlorn”. For those poetry lovers, a snow day isn’t complete without a little rhyme to warm your students’ brains. Try this Winter Poetry small or whole group lesson to identify theme and compare author perspective. Engage students with writing their own winter poem afterwards.
Snowballs. Who doesn’t love throwing snowballs? Step 1. Students write a lesson summary or text summary on a scrap piece of paper. Step 2. Students wad up said paper. Step 3. Students throw them at, or to, a partner, depending on the amount of chaos you want to allow! Step 4. Students share with their partner their snowball summary. (You can do use snowballs with any activity, from the answer to a math question to a mini-assessment.)
Whether it’s throwing paper snowballs or real snowballs, a snow day becomes a treat for everyone. While we may not see “schools closed” tomorrow, at least we can be excited about making any day a snow day in our classroom. Who knows, maybe by having a little snow excitement in our classroom, we’re also creating a little luck toward a real snow day? It couldn’t hurt!