You just can’t help but grin and giggle as you read this silly story of what one child images snowmen do at night! Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner provides teachers with a variety of opportunities for reading and writing. I have used this story as mentor text and worked on sequencing and summarizing with students. It also allows for some very creative writing.
Introducing the Story
I always start my lessons by pre-reading the book with students, just so they can hear it and enjoy the story itself. In my classroom, I usually do this on Fridays after our morning meeting, or make it one of the activities they work on during reading rotations.
When we come back to the story for the actual lesson, I then am re-reading, which allows me to pause at important parts, point out details in the words or pictures, etc. When students have read the story once for simple enjoyment, stopping during our second read doesn’t then interrupt the flow of the story, and they can focus on what I am asking them.
This story provides the perfect opportunity to summarize, asking students what comes at the Beginning, Middle, and End of the story. I would use this story in December, January, or even February here in Minnesota, so students should have a good grasp on this skill already, it’s not new to them.
We would discuss how in the beginning the boy is wondering what snowmen do at night, since he built one and the next morning it is a little lopsided and not looking quite right.
The middle of our story tells us about all the adventurous things the snowmen do together at night; how they play and have fun.
The end of the story has the snowmen getting sleepy, so they head back to their homes. Because they are tired and have played so hard, their face might be crooked or their scarf might have come unwound.
I have included 3 fun BME Sequencing pages in the FREE resource, below.
Snowmen at Night also lends itself easily to sequence of events; finding what comes first, next, then, and last. It’s important for students to be able to get the events in the correct order when retelling the story. If it helps, do a picture walk through the book again for students to see what is happening. The story itself is not text heavy, so using the pictures lends students to make inferences and adding more (unsaid) details to the story.
There are a few sequencing pages included in the FREE resource, as well as some pages asking students to think about how to build a snowman. They need to be careful here and put things in the correct order, aka not start with the head!
This is one of my favorite activities to pair with this text; giving students the opportunity to imagine what snowmen do at night, or what THEY would do if they were a snowman. For younger students or early primary, student can simply take one of the ideas already discussed through the sequence activity and draw a picture; essentially adding their own illustration to the story. Slightly older students may be able to come up with an idea not already mentioned, and the teacher could even compile these into a class book!
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