What is childhood without magical snowfriends that come to life and take you sailing across wintry night skies? I love The Snowman Story and share it with my k-5 students as often as I can. I created many connected lessons that have brought so much joy to my students including the following which I have packaged up for you to explore in honor of Raymond Briggs' passing.
USING CLOSE READING STRATEGIES
I've been planning this day for a long time. Today's third grade art class included a reading and math lesson surrounding our collaborative art walls. I had written an article for School Arts Magazine about our LEGO wall and wanted the kids to read it. When I mentioned this, my Assist. Principal suggested we use close reading strategies. So we tried a few. Before we began I had students predict who my audience was for the article by thumbing through the magazine. Then, students read the first part of the text silently. Afterwards we wrote the words on the board that they didn't know. We went back and read the word in context and tried to guess the meaning together. This exercise allowed me to reinforce our art concepts and our collaborative project while helping students practice reading skills (...and bonus, it made me feel good that I had written above a 3rd grade level.)
The next activity was math and art related. We wrote a random coordinate on a slip of paper with a few parameters. The first number was between 1-32 separated by a ":" followed by a second number between 1-16. Then we took our mat and sat outside our Artsonia Tile Wall. I had numbered all the rows so that each tile became a coordinate. They took turns finding the tile that matched their coordinate and tried to label the art they found as a landscape, still life, portrait, figure drawing, collage, etc. They were very good at finding coordinates because, as they all exclaimed happily, "We did this in math!"
Since I know they understand coordinates, I think I can expand this activity into something more engaging like an I Spy game where students use art vocabulary and coordinates to get each other to look closely at the art.
Take a look at our Art History Tile Wall and some of the artists that contributed.
This tutorial below goes through my math and art lesson step-by-step for creating a clay snowman from a single lump of clay using very simple division. Students will see the pattern of "dividing into two even pieces." This is a great way for students to concretely experience the mathematical concept of division while creating an adorable little snowman.
Art teachers: Use this lesson to help put STEAM in STEM. Download the ppt here.
Click here to see last year's snowman sculpture gallery.
If you want to try this lesson with older students ask them to come up with the fraction that defines the pieces of clay as they work. The initial lump of clay at the beginning is called 1/1. Each time you divide the clay into two even pieces multiply the denominator by two. The snowman's "Large" is 1/2. "Medium" is 1/4. "Small" is 1/8.
You can continue on until you get to the final little pieces (they are 1/512).
A great book for supplementing this lesson is
The Biggest Best Snowman
This book is story about a little person making a big impressive snowman while demonstrating how to create one out of snow. It reviews the three parts of a snowman: Big Medium, and Small which I emphasize in the lesson above.
I found this video of the story on youtube.
You can watch it below.
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