Snowmen at Night: Virtual Learning Style

Snowmen at Night Response to Literature

This week we spent our time on Zoom reading about snowmen and writing from their point of view.  I adapted this lesson from that I saw while I was searching for academic, yet fun, lessons.  You can read about the full lesson here.  In this blog post, I am going to share how I adapted this to work with my third graders over Zoom for distance learning.

We began by reading the story Snowmen at Night together.  I have a copy of the book, so I projected it with my doc cam while I read aloud.  We stopped to discuss some of the experiences being mentioned in the story and how they would be perceived by the snowmen in the paintings.  I would point to certain snowmen and ask, "what do you think this snowman is thinking?"   It was very informal but got the students minds set on the experiences of the characters in the book.

After we were done, just like in the original lesson, I turned to the snowball fight and asked the kids to think about the experience of the large snowman in the front.  What might he be thinking and feeling?   I then asked them to describe what that character might be like.  He obviously is having a great time in the snowball fight, so what adjectives/character traits might describe him?  We made a circle map of all our ideas.  

Then, I brought their attention to the snowman hiding behind the tree.  What did they think he was feeling?  He seemed to be more shy and reserved, not as into the snowball fight.  He was literally hiding from it.  So we added to our circle map with adjectives about him.

The next day, we focused again on the outgoing snowman in the front of the painting.  We brainstormed a list of things that the snowman was thinking and experiencing.  The goal here was to get the kids thinking as though they were that snowman.  Writing down "his" thoughts helped the kids get into character, which was good because I then asked them to write a paragraph as if they were that snowman themselves.  I asked them to put themselves in his shoes and tell me the story of the snowball fight from his eyes.  Using the adjectives from the day before and the brainstorm of thoughts we created, the kids were off writing their paragraphs. 

On day three, we did the same thing with the more shy snowman.  I kept emphasizing that this was a narrative, a story, and it needed to tell the events.  When I modeled, I was sure to include some details from the painting itself, hopefully encouraging
the kids to do the same.

On the fourth day, after working together in breakout rooms, giving each other feedback on their work, I then asked the students to type both paragraphs.  I gave them this google slide and they typed their narratives.

On the final day,  once the paragraphs were typed, I showed the students how to use the shapes tool on Google Slides to create a snowman themselves.  They were to create one that was outgoing, showing the personality traits from the circle map, and one that was more shy.  The kids' snowmen came out SO cute!

And that is it!  It was a week of rigorous, worthwhile activity that the kids were engaged in throughout!  On Zoom it honestly wasn't all that much different than if we were in class.  The kids are getting really, really good at using the computer so these types of activities are getting easier and easier as we go.

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