Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuesday SOL What about snow?

This is a Tuesday "Slice of Life" for Two Writing Teachers. Check out their website for lots more reflections on teaching.

Happy New Year!
Today was our second day back at school and, much to my surprise when I woke up this morning, it was snowing! I had heard that we might get a dusting, but unfortunately this 'dusting' came during the morning commute…I struggled to get in to my classroom, my typical 30 minute commute tripling in length.

Yes, I was late to school.
I don't think I have ever been late to school.

That slog of a commute gave me so much time to watch the falling snow and plan a snowy extension to today's learning. I always find nature so engaging for children - and isn't it particularly magical when nature is a fresh snow?

After gathering, I took a small group of children outside when it was still snowing, to collect fresh snow for our classroom. We had so much fun!

Back in the classroom, one large tub of snow was dumped onto the sand in the sensory table - snow on a beach! The children were surprised and elated by this combination…making snowballs, trying to build a snow man, watching the sand and snow mix together, surprised by how cold the sand became.

Snow in sand. It was so cold, it started melting... you can make an outside snowball

There were still three more large containers of snow…and these I added to the art table. The art table had been readied for a process art activity with found objects and paint. What if we used the paint and the found objects with snow? Why not? What might happen? Let's see!

I added a few extra tools - tongs, eyedroppers, tweezers, stirring sticks, spoons. I watered down the paint so that it might be useful with a dropper. Then I stepped back and watched the children explore...

immediately seeing

Excited preschoolers,
touching and squeezing the snow
filling eye droppers with paint, squeezing paint onto the snow
making dots, speckles on the snow
adding spoonfuls of snow into the paint
picking up snow with tongs
I love pink
I love purple
I love blue

Curious preschoolers,
dropping found objects in the snow
retrieving them with tongs
stirring them into the snow
dropping found objects into the paint
adding in more snow, to the paint
I'm making soup
I'm making spaghetti
Look! I got it all gone!

Focused preschoolers,
picking up tongs full of snow,
plopping the snow into the paint,
watching, watching, watching
as the paint moved up the snow ball,
the snow slowly filling with paint color
not melting but growing in color,
Stirring, stirring, stirring
meticulously removing every bit of snow from the containers
We are making snow!
It's turning to dark red
My snow is all pink
This is cold

Feverish preschoolers,
rapid questions, incessant demands
I need tongs!
What about tweezers?
I need another tray!
I need more water!
I need a clean squeeze thing! 
I want pink, too! 
What are those? 
I need something to mix!
Where did you get that?
I need a spoon!

Alert, excited, restless, engaged.

I was the guide on the side,
moving quickly to support them,
all things at once,
taking pictures,
making notes,
asking questions,
pointing them towards supplies,
encouraging them to resolve problems themselves
Where are they kept?
Has anyone seen where those are kept?
Where did we put them?
What just happened when you did that?! Wow!
What if you ask a friend where she got hers?
How might you get the paint out of the eyedropper?
What happens to the snow when you do that?
Did you ask her if you can have some?
Where might we get water?
Will that fit in there?
What happens to the paint when you put snow in it?
What do you think will happen?

I, too, was alert, excited, restless, engaged.

This is my favorite kind of centers work!

And it sure helped me to forget about that horrid commute.


  1. I LOVE that you took a snowy opportunity and turned it into a fun learning experience. This is exactly the kind of classroom I want for my own daughters!

  2. I loooooveeee days like this when serendipity brings the best learning in the world right into our classrooms - spilling out all over the place in rainbows!!!

  3. I wondered how it was going there. We saw pics of your storm. What a wonderful day you had with the kids. They'll never forget this, Maureen! Hope the commute is better this am!