I start off this lesson by showing students several short video clips of winter in different parts of the United States. I remind them that one cannot draw conclusions from a video alone, but that I have used background knowledge to intentionally choose videos that show weather that is representative of the winter climate in a given state or region.
Colorado (might want to leave music turned down - 3 min. Students will get the idea in the first minute. Dogs and person give good sense of snow's depth).
Snowstorm on Lake Michigan. (Loud wind). 1 minute.
I guide the students through the writing of this poem by giving them mandatory (at first) and then optional starting phrases. We look at a series of representative winter pictures from colder regions of the United States and through a combination of conversation and questioning; I encourage students to write briefly about what they see. Losing the constraints of conventions is very freeing for many of them. Then we write about our own climate, in the Desert Southwest. It’s a nice way to end our first semester studies of weather and climate.
This Winter Climate Poem Teacher Script contains the prompts, phrases, and guiding questions I used to take students through this activity.
This Winter Poem Images PowerPoint contains the images I used.
After the students finish writing the poem, they read it to two peers, who help them flag phrases that may be unclear and words that need to be spell-checked. It is easy for me to give this a final edit for spelling because the format is fairly consistent. As this is going to be a published piece of work that they present to the class and that is displayed, we want all the conventions to be correct!
Here is a student sharing his poem with his classmates. (It was pajama day).