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
This site includes advertising.
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!
Grades1 to 4
In the ClassroomAdd this site to your lesson plans to use for winter. Introduce simple games on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Bookmark (or save) this link on your class computers. Use as an incentive to promote positive behavior. Share this link on your class website.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAllow your students to explore a virtual LEGO playground without having to keep the plastic bins organized! Create a whole class account if your students do not have their own emails or use the Gmail sub account trick explained here. Challenge them to see how large a building they can build with only a limited number of bricks. Have your students build two dimensional tessellations or something that represents a geometric shape. Teach basic math concepts such as volume or multiplication by counting brick units. Your students can select a place in the world to build and research the architectural designs associated with that location. Challenge your students to build a design to fit that geographic environment. Encourage your students to locate and research different historical monuments or buildings around the world and recreate them using the virtual LEGO bricks. Have your students research the ecology and climate of where they are building. Your students can construct creations for humans or animals that live in that ecosystem. Integrate writing with your students Build with Chrome creations. Have them write descriptions and explanations of their designs. Your students can also write stories about events that may have occurred at the building they created. Assign your students different regions around the world and challenge them to build a cultural center for the area. Use the Google Maps interface to travel around the world as students use Swipe, reviewed here, to extend their learning and present information of their Build with Chrome building and the culture. Create your own town with the buildings created by your students. Create a newspaper for your town using a site such as Printing Press, reviewed here. This is a great tool for cross-grade activities in a gifted program or sharing among students in several schools.
This is a great idea. My school has a lego club and this would be great for the students.Lorraine, VA, Grades: 1 - 3
Grades8 to 12
This site includes advertising.
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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomScreen share with students in computer labs to demonstrate items such as website addresses, how to locate information on websites, or when learning text editing features such as changing font size or color. Use this tool to collaborate with other teachers when creating lesson plans or student documents. Students with laptops can share the screen with the teacher during presentations to make information easier to view. Share this site with students to use at home when collaborating on projects. Help a homebound student by sharing your class computer screen and opening an audio connection on the phone. Offer "extra help" sessions via screen share at predetermined "office hours" or during a snow day. Have students teach tech skills to their peers using this free sharing app.
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.
GradesK to 5
In the ClassroomIntroduce 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.
GradesK to 5
*BE AWARE: at the time of this review, a few of the links were "under construction." However, what IS available is worth taking a look at!
In the ClassroomIncorporate fun digital activities into your interactive whiteboard or projector lessons this December. Make a shortcut to links from this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Read Jan Brett's book "Gingerbread Baby" and then have students create virtual gingerbread cookies from the variety of sites on this blog. Science units covering the states of matter, weather, or water cycle can include a fun diversion to cutting out virtual snowflakes. Schools that celebrate Christmas will enjoy projecting an advent calendar daily and seeing what surprises each new day brings.
General Tips and Reminders: Fully preview the links on this site at school before introducing them to students. Some sites may be down or not accessible on your school network. There is some advertising on a few sites. Students may have the opportunity to create virtual cards. These require users to enter email addresses directly into the site. Advise your students to print their work rather than submitting personal emails. Or use a class email (rather than your personal email, create a class gmail account for all students to use).
Grades3 to 6
In the ClassroomPE 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.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomAsk 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 Click2Map, 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.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomUse 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.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomThis site would work well in an elementary art class as a winter project or when teaching about the seasons in primary grades. All of the saved snowflakes are assigned an ID number. The flakes can be downloaded as jpeg files, EPS files (to be manipulated in your own graphics programs), or emailed to you. Use downloaded images to create a winter "big book" along with winter poems by your young students. Use this site in upper grades in both graphic design classes as part of a winter webpage project or in a geometry lesson on angles or reflections. The website could be previewed on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Then students can create their own on laptops or in the computer lab. What an entertaining way to teach symmetry to younger students!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse a Padlet to collaborate in collecting ideas, brainstorming, and more. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Padlet does not show which work is attributable to which student, so you may want to require that students initial their contributions in order to get credit. If allowing all students to post to the wall or make comments, you may want to discuss internet safety and etiquette and establish specific class rules and consequences. Making the setting private again will prohibit content from later being replaced by classmate "vandalism."
Use a Padlet to collect webquest links and information to share with students. By leaving the wall open to comments, solicit input, discussions, or viewpoints from students. They can even contribute other sources they find. Color code resources to indicate different reading levels or "high challenge" sources for your more able students. Assign a student project where students choose their theme and design a wall around it. For example, have students create a wall about an environmental issue. They can include pictures, audio or video, links, and other information to display. Use as a new format for book reports. Do your students have favorites such as music or sports? Create a wall around these favorites or hobbies. Use a wall for grammar or vocabulary words. Create walls for debates or viewpoints. Post assignments, reminders, or study skills on a wall. Do you use student scribes or reporters? Use the Padlet site to create a wall with the goings-on in class. Embed your walls in a blog, wiki or website. See a similar tool (and more ideas to use either tool) in the TeachersFirst review of Lino here. Decide which one you prefer! Unfortunately, the Padlet embedded viewer is very small but can be scrolled in both directions.
Use Padlet as a class space during snow days and school breaks. Share the link to a teacher-created, public wall where students can share notes about what they did during the snow day or respond to a thought-provoking question.
Encourage creativity and organization by having your gifted students (or anyone doing independent projects) create Padlets to collect ideas, images, quotes, and more in an "idea bin." Require them to share a brainstorming Padlet to show you the ideas they considered before they launch into a project. Have them brainstorm (and later sort/color code) the possibilities for a creative problem solving or "Maker Faire" project. In writing or art classes, use Padlet as a virtual writer's journal or design notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips.
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes Interaction w general public/ public galleries with unmoderated content
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Grades1 to 3
In the ClassroomUse simple story writing for beginning keyboarding or write a whole-class story on your interactive whiteboard. Have ESL students write their own stories to reinforce their writing, grammar, and reading development. Share the site on your teacher web page as an at-home activity during school breaks and snow days!
GradesK to 3
In the ClassroomAll of these activities would be perfect on your interactive whiteboard. Students would also enjoy independent exploration of the activities on a classroom computer or cluster. Be aware - some of these activities lack educational value, so check out the activity BEFORE using it in your class. Most of the links are very educational and offer excellent enrichment activities. Also, you may notice some spelling differences (since some of the links originate from BC, Canada).
GradesK to 6
tag(s): snow (21)