Pictures in the Snow - Imaging

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SWBAT draw images to demonstrate understanding of the character and how he responds to events and challenges in the story.

Big Idea

Imagine what fun you can have in the snow!



I chose this classic because I think that students should read award winning stories, such as this one. Although the boy's coat and some scenes are dated, the story is engaging and my kids related well to the concepts of playing in the snow. We had a good discussion about books that are favorites and classics. They kids were amazed at how 'old' this book was!

 ** "Imaging" is the term that my district uses for "visualizing". In order to stay true to the district expectations, I'll continue to use this verbage. Visualizing is a critical skill for 2nd graders because they need to 'go deeper' in the text. By visualizing as they read, they are creating and tweaking images in their minds as they actively read. This kind of 'close reading', forming images using text, verifying and changing those images, and ultimately comparing their images to the author, creates critical readers and deepens comprehension.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Common starting point

  • Use your imagination for a moment - close your eyes and pictures snow  - all over the ground, falling from the sky, snow hills, snow angels, footprints, snowballs.... can you see it?"
  • "Today we'll read a literature book and use our imaging strategy to think about how a character reacts to the snow and what words help us know this."


The critical part of this lesson is to show students how the authors puts specific words into the text to describe and elaborate on characters. Using the imaging strategy allows them to be creative, but use the text to find evidence of how the characters change (RL.2.3). This kind of 'close reading', asking students to verify in the text to demonstrate understanding of character development, is a shift in the thinking for the Common Core Standards.


I am working on imaging/visualizing throughout this unit by helping students realize that this powerful reading strategy can really deepen comprehension. Take a look at some of my other lessons, utilizing the 'Imaging/Visualizing' poster mentioned in the materials section: Imagine That-Make a Picture in Your MindPicture This-Lost and Found on a MountainOh No! Duck for President-Imagine That!Extend Your World, and Imagine What An Inchworm Would Say.

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "The character in this book is a little boy - maybe 1st or 2nd grade who loves to play in the snow. Can any of you connect with those ideas?"
  • "When we use imaging to think about characters, there are words in the text that help us create good images. Today we'll identify those words and then create images."
  • I'll add that to the 'Imaging/visualizing Strategy' chart:
    •  Images help us describe the characters.
  • "Let's see what this boy does in the snow. When we're done, you can create your own images of what you like to do in the snow."


Introduce strategy - teacher models

  • Read through the page  'Crunch, Crunch, Crunch...' and DON'T SHOW the picture.
  • "I'll use imaging to make a picture in my mind of what is happening.  I imagine deep snow. Let me think about how does the character reacts to this. He makes footprints that go different directions. What words help me to know that? - toes pointed in, toes pointed out." Write those on the organizer.  
  • Here's what our discussion about using words from the text looked like.


Practice strategy - guided practice

  • "Let's try one together." Read through the next few pages and stop (don't show the picture).
  • This is what our discussion of imaging looked like with student input.
  • Continue to focus on how the character faces obstacles and challenges. (i.e. When the kids won't let him play)


As students create images in their mind, they are using the text and ultimately the illustrations to add meaning (RL.2.7) and then comparing their perceptions to the author's illustrations. The shift in Common Core standards requires the students to actively read and take ownership of their reading to facilitate their learning process by being active participants in their own learning.

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Set up Task

  • I'm passing out a copy of an 'imaging' organizer for you. There is a 'thought bubble' for you to draw your image. You can show what the character is doing and write the words that helped you create that image on the lines."
  • "I"ll read the text two times and then pause while you draw your image and identify the words."


Read through the text


Formative Assessment

  • As students work, walk around and ask questions to assess their understanding.  "Why did you pick those words?  Does that image represent those words? What did you draw?"  
  • Using this time to 'peek' into the students' reasoning and thinking is a valuable tool to help you assess what they understand and what you need to cover more fully.
  • When students ask questions about what to write or how to draw, remind them to use the text as a resource before asking for help.

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Share what you know

  • "You've done a GREAT job identifying words and creating images with those words. Now we'll do it backwards."
  • "Think of some fun things to do in the snow.  You are the character - what do you like to do in the snow?  If you were 'challenged' with a big snowfall, what would you do? Let's make a list."
  • "I'll create an image of me doing something fun with scrap paper. No markers or pencils or scissors - just rip the paper.  It's fun."
  • "Now that I have my example, I need some words to describe what I'm doing.  Write down 2-3 words in the thought bubble."
  • Here are some of my students' projects.


Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Students with learning challenges may need to work with the teacher or partner. They may need some help thinking of vocabulary to describe the words and for spelling.

Students with greater ability should be able to read the text and choose some of the higher level vocabulary to describe their image. Have them go beyond 'fun' and 'snow', to 'freezing' or 'chilly' or even 'frigid'.