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Friday, February 8, 2013

A Wintery Print Awareness Unit

January turned out to be one of those fabulous teaching months where all my lesson plans went even better than I could have imagined when I planned them! The kids had an awesome month of learning and loving books! We focused on print awareness as we read tales that took us to winter wonderlands. (Hey, at least we got to experience winter weather somehow, right?).

We one we read All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle There are so many wonderful snowmen books out there, but this on remains a favorite of mine... and my students! They always love the interactive quality of it - insisting on the additional elements you need to complete a snowman. It's a great discussion starter with the group and keeps them fully engaged.

 We talked about different forms of print we use and see: newspapers, letters, grocery lists, etc. We also talked about words in the books we read and how they never change. We did crayon-resist watercolor painting with this lesson, and had to discover what pictures and words were hidden on our paper. The kids thought this was absolutely magical!

Week two we read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. I love sharing this classic, especially since many of my students usually haven't read it yet. This year I checked out a bunch of copies from the library (yay for there always being lots of copies of Caldecott books) and each student was able to follow along with me as I read it aloud. As I read the story, I had the students hunt for certain words and/or letters within the text - like a little scavenger hunt. They loved this, and did so great with it!

 Then we played in the snow! Woohoo! Faux snow is always a hit! We had to get all suited up first and put on all the same kind of snow gear that Peter wore. We tried to do the things Peter did in the snow (but on a smaller scale - we used our fingers). And then we just were silly and played. I could barely tear the kids away from the snow when it was time to leave class. What a special lesson that always is!

The last week we read The Snow Globe Family by Jan O'Connor. This was a new one for our winter-reading repertoire, but was a big hit! It was probably everyone's favorite for January. The kids just really enjoyed the wonder of imagining the people inside a snow globe being real and having their own little life. They loved the part where the baby shakes the snow globe and sends the snow globe family flying, along with all their furniture!

Somehow I managed not to get any photos of this week's lesson. But we used our imaginations to create our own little snow globe world. We used paper plates as our globes and drew on them with crayons. Then we added cotton balls (stretched and torn) to make snow in them. We used construction paper as the stand for the snow globe and put our names in glitter at the bottom. You can't do a print awareness unit without having some print fun with the students' names! I let the kids do the glitter process, and they thought it was the coolest when they finally shook the excess glitter off and there was their name - all SPARKLY! They were positively beaming!

A fantastic unit... and now I have to try to stay on par this month. I've got my work cut out for me!

What's your favorite wintery book to read with your students or kiddos at home?

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