Embrace the Snow!
“Hey, it’s snowing!”
From the moment that first flake falls from the sky, even the most perfectly planned lesson may be lost to the masses, because after all, it’s snowing! To those who live in a warmer climate, imagine instead a bee or a fly buzzing around the room. The effect is similar to snow falling outside the window; attention becomes hard to maintain. There are two options as I see it:
Option 1: Close the blinds and try to ignore it. Even as you read this, you know what will happen. This will not stop the snow, and it will not stop your students wondering or thinking about the snow! In fact, students will become even more curious about the snow to the point of being able to think of nothing else, counting the minutes until they can again see out the window. Let’s look at a more reasonable option.
Option 2: (Better Option!) Embrace the Snow! Simply acknowledging students’ excitement, and taking a moment to enjoy the beauty, can do wonders. First, it sends the message to students that we understand their excitement and appreciate the moment. In Maryland where Ready Aim Teach is located, snow doesn’t happen very often (even though it feels like it recently…). Then, it’s time to think outside the box a bit. Ask yourself, “How can I incorporate snow into the learning?” Here are some suggestions:
- Snow Poetry – Start by reading a few poems about snow and then have students create their own.
- Teach a Visible Thinking Routine, such a Circle of Viewpoints – Present a scenario having to do with snow (differentiate it to meet your students’ needs and strengths), and have students take on different viewpoints, such as a parent, school bus driver, principal, teacher, and student. The protocols on the Visible Thinking Website are all targeted to help students think at a deep level as well as increase student discourse.
- Persuasive Writing – Generate a list of topics related to snow and have students write persuasive letters. (Topics might include: staying up later if forecast is calling for snow, why spring break days should not be disturbed if more snow days are used, etc) The instruction that will accompany this persuasive writing should be matched to your students’ current expertise with persuasive writing. One thing is certain; if students are excited about the topic, their attention to your instruction will be that much better.
- Math Related Activities – These will depend on the age of your students and your content. You might have your students researching average snow falls in various areas of the countries, or polling various classes about their opinions or what they like to do in the snow and then graphing the results.
- Science – If there is snow on the ground, what kind of experiments might you do? What a perfect opportunity for students to make and test an authentic hypothesis.
The bottom line is embrace the snow! Since we cannot control it, we might as well enjoy it and help students learn from it!!!