The weather here in the Mid-Atlantic is still relatively warm, and right now it’s raining, not snowing. But this time of year and the winter months to come are filled with the anticipation of waking up to a fresh blanket of snow and the news that school is closed for a snow day!
My favorite childhood book is The Snowy Day, written and illustrated by Erza Jack Keats. First published in 1962, it remains a classic. This simple, quiet story of a boy playing out in the snow recalls for me those long ago mornings in New York, when magic happened overnight, school was cancelled, and we had a whole day to build snowmen, snow forts, or skate on a frozen lake.
Using the book The Snowy Day as an example, have your students write about their perfect snow day. How do they feel when they wake up to the streets being covered in snow? What are their plans? Do they rush outside or stay in reading a favorite book under the covers? What does the air smell like? What sounds do their boots make as they track through the snow? How can they describe what a snow covered tree looks like? Do they play alone like the character Peter in the book or do they make plans with friends? What sorts of adventures do they have in the snow? Even if your students live in warmer climates where they never see a snowflake, have them stretch their imaginations to describe what a snow day might be like.
Younger children can tell their story in pictures, and older ones can illustrate the story they have composed. Using construction paper and/or patterned scrapbook papers, have children make a cut-paper collage like the illustrations in The Snowy Day. Smaller details can be added with a black marker.
Mixing it up a little, have children write about an unusual character that finds him/herself in a snowy environment, or something/someone from a colder climate in warmer temps. What would happen if snowmen traveled to the beach? If an alligator crawled up a snow covered mountain? Lots can happen on a snowy…or un-snowy day.
Here’s wishing all our readers a wonderful Holiday Season, and a snow day or two in the coming winter months!