Teaching the Signs of the Winter Season
I can’t believe it is time to start talking about winter already! This year has really flown by! When discussing the different seasons of the year I like to use real photographs to which the students can relate and go out and explore their own environment as much as possible. This helps the students make the connection between what we are learning and their own experiences/lives.
We start off talking about and listing things that the students already know about the winter season. Then, I like to show them a PowerPoint presentation that explains the winter season in very simple terms that they can understand and uses real, full-color photographs to which they can relate. Here are a few sample slides:
At the end we play a few little games to check their understanding. I show them the following slide:
We look at each picture and they tell me whether or not it is something they would normally wear in the winter. After their response I click on the picture. A smiley face shows for correct answers, an unhappy face shows for incorrect responses providing immediate feedback.
The winter clothing pictures are then given gold stars to distinguish them from the rest giving students a visual aide.
We then do the same thing with the next slide. The students have to pick out the animals that hibernate during the winter season.
After the group activity I check individual student understanding by having each student “hunt” for signs of winter and color clothes that they would wear in the winter.
I upload the PowerPoint onto our class computers and allow students to access it during group or free time. They enjoy looking at the pictures and doing the “quiz” at the end. If you would like to use this PowerPoint in your classroom it is available here.
The next day we review the signs of winter by reading the following emergent reader. It coordinates with the PowerPoint and uses fun, repetitive text along with full color photographs from the PowerPoint to review the signs of winter. I read it to the students first and then we re-read it together.
We review relevant words from the reader and place them on our word wall.
During our group times the students get to make their own copies of the emergent reader. I differentiate them according to students’ ability level. Some students read the words and color provided pictures.
Other students read the words and draw their own pictures. I check their comprehension by the pictures drawn and their explanation of them.
The next day is our favorite! We take a walk/hike and look for signs of winter on our school grounds and playground. We take pictures of signs of winter we discover and collect signs of winter to bring back to our science center (snow, icicles, pine cones, etc.).
Once we’ve returned to our classroom, we create a class book. Each student creates a page by drawing a picture of a sign or signs of winter and writing a sentence about it using the words from the word wall.
These pages are then bound together to create a class book which is placed in our reading center. Students can also “check it out” like a library book and take it home for one night to share with family and friends.
I have used both the Little Bird Tales app to create a class book using the photos we took on our winter walk and Pic Collage (we have the Pic Kids version). To me Pic Collage is easier. You can also have the students do it themselves (yes, it’s that easy!). Here are the steps for Pic Collage:
Load all the pictures from your winter walk onto your iPad.
Take a picture of one of the emergent reader pages. You can choose one of the templates or the blank one if you wish to type all the text or use your own text.
Add the picture of the emergent reader page to Pic Collage and size it to fit the entire screen.
Set it as the background by holding down on the picture and then hitting Set as Background (this keeps it from moving around while you are adding additional pictures and text).
Add a photo from the fall walk and adjust the size and placement.
You can save each page and print them out for a book or create a digital book.
If you would like to use the Signs of Winter emergent reader in your classroom click here.