Snowman Names- A Magical Cross-Curricular Experience

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SWBAT connect their reading foundational skills, their writing skills and their math skills

Big Idea

Make it accessible from any area and all students can succeed!

Why this Lesson?

1 minutes

It is of paramount importance that our students understand that all facets of education are intertwined.  With this lesson, students are able to see just that.  I like that students originally think they are doing an art project; little do they know that they are working with letters, letter order and handwriting.  After that, they have to work with math skills and even write to explain their math.  In the end, students work for about an hour to cover many different standards across the curriculum!  With Common Core especially, I think it is important that we embed reading in our math and math in our reading, so I absolutely love this lesson!  Here is one thought on this lesson and why I really like making connections between reading, writing… and everything else.

Introducing the Lesson

5 minutes

This lesson will be done in phases.
-  I will introduce the activity in the whole group on the carpet.
-  Students will then go to their seats to independently create the craft (while also working on letter order and letter writing).
-  I will call the students back to the carpet to help them make a math connection.
-  Students will then walk around the room to independently make connections to reading and writing skills and how to connect them to their work.

"Today, we are going to be working on a lot of standards through making an awesome art project." (wait time) "We are going to be making snowmen..." (wait time) "We are going to work on a project called Snowman Names." (wait time) "We are going to be using our names to work on our letters, our handwriting, our writing and it also connects to math a little bit.  It is going to be so much fun!"

"Right now, I am going to show you how to make your snowman.  Your snowman is going to be YOURS... it is going to have as many snowballs as you have letters in your name.  So, when you make it, you will have your face and then you will need to count how many snowballs you will need."
(I will get out a snowman face and some snowballs of my own to create my snowman as I explain this process.  I will need glue and a pencil or crayon.) For example: My last name is Smith; S-m-i-t-h is five letters... that means that I need five snowballs under my face.  I will glue them and then write one letter on each- I need to start with S first since that's the first letter in my name... I will need i next..." (wait time) "Do you see how I will be doing this?"
(Students should nod or say yes to agree.)

"Good.  Now, I am going to give you the pieces to make your snowman head. Once you have done that, you will need to count the letters in your name and collect that many snowballs.  To write your name on the snowballs, remember to write one letter on each snowball, in order from top to bottom.  When you do this, please use your best handwriting.  I want to see your name, with the letters in order, written beautifully....... after all, we will be hanging up our snowmen after we work with them today!"

Creating the Craft (and working with handwriting and letters)

10 minutes

Students should create their snowman face independently. 

After they do this, they will count the letters in their name and collect that many snowballs.  I will be up at the front of the room with the snowballs.  I will be listening to students to make sure they are correct in their count- I will help out and/or redirect if needed.  I like to make sure students know how many letters they have in their name.  Then, I like to ask them to break their name into syllables.  This reinforces that our names are indeed words, that can be sounded out and also read!

Students will glue their snowballs under the face.  Once all of the snowballs are glued together, students will write the letters in their names, one on each show ball, in order with their best handwriting.  I will be walking around to check students' neatness and letter formation during this time.  This is an important step for students to complete independently because it causes them to focus on letter order.

When students are finished with their snowman, I will ask them to take it to the carpet for the next portion of the lesson.

Independently Creating a Reading and Writing Connection to Math

15 minutes

Independently, students will be sent around the room to make their own math connection and writing about it.  Students will have a recording sheet for measuring (with non-standard units) because they will be taking their snowman (which represents their name) and measuring it against items around the room! 

Also, as students work, they will be able to SEE that other students' names are longer than theirs- some students' snowmen will be shorter than a table while others' snowmen will be taller (this is because different snowmen have different amounts of letters).  I like to see the light-bulb turn on for students as they are walking around and learning for themselves!  It is important that students see and notice that different names have different amounts of letters and different amounts of syllables.

The place where the math AND the reading cross is when students are encouraged to label their measurement pictures.  This is the most important part of the lesson, in my opinion!
Once a student measures something taller, shorter and the same as their snowman, they have to draw it.  I have students try their best to phonetically spell the words to label their objects that they measured.  This is just one extra step, but is really shows students how to blend their math and their reading/writing!  When students make a connection between math, forming thoughts, then writing them in word form, they are really supporting the oral language piece of their learning while also building the connections in their minds!

Assessing this Lesson

5 minutes

I will assess students' response sheets for the following:
-Did they count the letters in their name and order them correctly?

-Did they use writing to explain their math thoughts and make that connection between the measurement and the explanation with words?

-Did they label the items that they drew from measuring, to represent that captions and labels are important to reading/writing.

Extending this Lesson

10 minutes

I like to have students compare and contrast their snowmen and then write about their similarities and differences.  Also, I like to allow students to use a Venn Diagram to compare their snowmen with each other!

I like to let students name their snowman and create a story about WHY their snowman likes to measure.  I also like to push them to say how they know their snowman is taller or shorter than something.

Snowman Names i snot only fun but it provides students with the foundation they will need for measuring with non-standard units; meanwhile, students also are able to work on reading and writing skills!

Finally, of course, the snowmen are adorable and they look great hanging in the hallway!  I love having the snowmen all next to each other with the students' names on them!  I also like to tape up the math-connected-work that we did around the snowmen to show people how we used them in our classroom!