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What are some of your most memorable holiday memories from childhood? For me, it was our annual family road trip. I was raised in small town in Canada, and we always lived anywhere from 6-12 hours away from where the rest of our family lived. Even so, without fail, we would pack up our car and make the drive to be with them for the holidays.
This drive was no joke. We’re talking winter in Canada, so there was lots of snow and it was freezing cold. So cold, in fact, that we didn’t like to turn the car off in fear that it wouldn’t start again! But the cold didn’t matter. My mom always made sure that we had fun games and snacks for the long drive, and what I remember most is how much I laughed on those trips.
When we finally arrived at our destination, we were surrounded by dozens of cousins, aunts, and uncles. We were all wrapped up in so much love and happiness. The more that time goes by, the more I’ve become aware of the privileged life I’ve lived, specifically because of the wealth of love that I’ve experienced. Being with my family at Christmas time made me feel like anything was possible. That is the reason that I always loved sharing the joy of this season with my students, and why I want to pass that magic on to you and your class.
We should all be able to experience the light, gratitude, imagination, and possibility of this season. It’s in this spirit that I want to share a very special project with you. It’s one that I have been thinking about creating for over a year now and I just know that your students will absolutely love it. It’s called “My Sneaky Snowman’s Adventure”, and it is a narrative writing project that I’ll give you step by step directions for in today’s episode.
This project begins with reading one of my favorite seasonal books, Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner. After reading, little by little your students will develop their own snowman’s character, create a diorama, brainstorm, and craft a final piece of narrative writing. Each lesson in this project follows the writer’s workshop model and practices important skills such as problem/solution, character development, sequencing, and introductory and conclusion sentences. It also breaks down each piece of the writing process into manageable chunks so that your students can truly become masters of the skills that you’re teaching them.
The Sneaky Snowman Adventure project is set up in a way that allows students to use their imagination and do all the creative pieces before they start any kind of formal writing. When our kids are engaged and invested in their work, they produce impressive results. I think you will be really surprised at the amazing ideas that your students come up with! A bonus of this project is that it doesn’t need to be completed in December. You can save it for January or February. Continue reading for a detailed list of all the supplies you will need for the Sneaky Snowman Adventure project.
This project is used with the book, Snowmen at Night. Here are some related books by Caralyn Buehner:
Here is a full list of materials that you will need for this project:
Check out these examples of completed projects for
My Sneaky Snowman's Adventure!
Share images of your students' Sneaky Snowman Adventure projects on Instagram and tag me @beginningteachertalk for your chance to win one of Carolyn Buehner's amazing books.
1. Cut your card stock into a square (8.5 x 8.5 inches) and fold in half corner to corner.
2. Fold in half again corner to corner, then cut to the middle of one triangle.
3. Overlap the two triangles and secure with white glue (be sure to draw the background of your diorama BEFORE you add glue)! 😂
Learn how to make My Sneaky Snowman's Adventure Dioramas and flip books in this super engaging, winter narrative writing project by visiting my TpT store!
I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.
Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor
Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at drlorifriesen.com and at howdogshelpkids.com.
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