Snowmen like it Cold

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Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of adjectives and verbs by relating them to their opposites.

Big Idea

Filling in the blanks and creating a simple poem helps students work on adjectives and opposites.


10 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I tell them they are going to rock around to the snowman rock. They will get to use their air guitars and move anyway they like so long as they keep control of their bodies. Anyone who I see does not have control of their body will be asked to move to the side and sit down until we are done.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Snowman, this is a free downloadable song you can get from the website Music K-8.     

It is a very fun rocking song and I introduce the idea of rock and roll music to my students. The song also gets my students thinking abstractly about snowmen. This will help them think more outside of the box about what a snowman might say during the activity section of the lesson. 

After the song is done I have the students sit back down on their spots by singing the “Spot on Your Dot” song. 


40 minutes

“Today’s book is called The Biggest, Best Snowman, by Margery Cuyler and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. In this story a little girl lives with her big mother and two big sisters. What can you tell me about the words big and little?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol to respond to the question.

“That’s right Kara, they are opposites.”

I am ask the students about the words "big" and "little" because the students have to come up with opposite words during the poem and also later on in the exit ticket process. I want the students to recall what opposites are and this is an easy example to give them. 

“Looking at the cover what do you think the story is going to be about?”

This time I use the fair sticks to select three students to make a prediction about what they think the story will be about.

After I have heard their predictions I say, “Okay those were all good predictions we are going to go ahead and read and see what happens.”


During reading we discuss how Little Nell must feel when her “big, blustery” sisters tell her she cannot help with anything because she is too small to do anything.

We also discuss the steps she takes to build her snowman and how each animal gets to do the same step each time but step less depending on the size of the snowball they are creating.


At the end of the story I ask the students what they think Little Nell will be able to help with at home now that her mother and sisters know she is capable of doing great things.

I ask the students, “If the snowman could talk what do you think he might say?”

I select two or three students who are following the correct protocol to respond to the question.

“Those were great responses and if you were talking to a snowman what would you say?”

I select two or three students who are following the correct protocol to respond to the question.

“Those were also great responses. I would like you to listen to what I am about to read.”

How to Talk to Your Snowman,” by Beverly McLoughland.

Use words that are pleasing,

Like: freezing

And snow,

Iceberg and igloo

And blizzard and blow,

Try: Arctic, Antarctic,

Say: shiver and shake,

But whatever you say,

Never say: bake.”


I pause for a few moments and then I say, “Can anyone tell me anything about what I just read?”

I select two or three students who are following the correct protocol to respond to the question.

“Those were great responses. Emily said it was a poem and she is right. Finnley said it had rhyming words like snow and blow, and shake and bake. Thomas said it had mostly cold words in it. He is right there are lots of cold words in the poem and only one hot word. Why do you think a snowman does not want to hear any hot words?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol to respond to the question.

“You are absolutely right Owen. He does not want to hear any hot words because they make him melt. Well today at one of the work stations you will have to come up with three cold words and one hot word to complete your very own poem.”

“Your cold and hot words can be nouns or adjectives. Who remembers what a noun is?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol to respond to the question.

“Yes Emily; a noun is a naming word for a person place or thing. So an example would be Jack Frost, Antarctica, or Klondike.”

“Does anyone remember what an adjective is?”

I select a student who is following the correct protocol to respond to the question.

“Well done Rachel; an adjective is a describing word. So an example would be freezing, chilly, or icy.” 

Working on expanding students vocabulary

 I hold a blank master for the students to see. “You will need to put your name on this paper. Then you will need to think of how many hot words?”

Hands-On Math Around the Year, by Jacqueline Clarke. ISBN 0-590-96725-8   

I allow the students to call out the answer, “Three!”

“That’s right three. And then you will need to come up with how many hot words?”

Once again I allow the students to call out the answer, “One!”

“That’s right one. After you have finished your poem you will need to add details to the picture to make it interesting for the reader.”   

“When you are done writing your poem and adding some details to your snowman image you may come and let me know if you would like to practice reading aloud to an audience. I will film you reading and then you can watch it and decide if you want to share it with the class or not.”

“Does anyone have any questions?”


Once I feel the group has a good grasp of the instructions I send the students over one table group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom. It usually sounds like this;

“Table number one let’s go have some snowman poem fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, you shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely. 

Students working 1      Students working 2


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look, listen” technique mentioned above.

“When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.

Student reading snowman poem 1       Student reading snowman poem 2 

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one hot word and one cold word.

“Today’s exit ticket is you have to tell me one hot word and one cold word. I want you to think back to all the cold words you thought of for your snowman and also the hot word. Hot and cold are…?”

I allow the students to call out the word, “Opposite.”

“That’s right; hot and cold are opposites. Now your snowman poem had you think of three cold words but you only had to think of one hot word. Well you might want to think of more than one hot word because once someone has used that particular hot word it is…?”

The students are very used to hearing me say this now and will chant back, “It is off the menu!”

Off the Menu explanation

“Now I am going to give you about ten seconds to think of your cold words and your hot words. Here we go.”

I hold up my arm and look at my watch as I “time” their thinking. I also pretend to be thinking so the students stayed focused on thinking.

“Okay your time is up. I hope you thought carefully because here we go.”   

I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.

Once a student has told me his/her hot and cold word they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on coming up with a cold and hot word together.


I use the Snowman Poem Checklist to go over the poem and once it is complete I will place the student’s work in his/her collection portfolio. 

Looking at the student’s work with the checklist helps me to stay focused on the point that I am looking to see if a student can come up with the words necessary to complete the poem. I check to see if the student has three cold words and one hot word. I also make comment on how neat and tidy the work is.

The checklist helps me because the work sample provides me with evidence of students learning as to whether the student met the objectives or not. The checklist helps to convey information to the student’s family as to how well they are doing in class, and finally it helps the student by letting him/her know how he/she did and if there are areas where he/she could improve. 



At one station the students will work on coming up with a sentence said by a snowman. They will also add details to this picture to make it interesting for the reader.

My Snowman Says master          Students working on snowman sayings         Student sample


At another station the students’ will play a subtraction game pretending they are in a snowball fight with other students. The game is a Freebie download from the TeachersPayTeachers website.

Snowball Fight Subtraction Math Game          Students playing the game


At another station the students select either a rectangle or a circle shape and use adjectives to describe the attributes of the selected shape.