In my little part of the world, we usually get some snow in winter, but so far this year we have missed out. Whether you get too much snow or none at all, kids really do love the idea of a "snow day." So, why don't you bring a "snow day" to the classroom?
Here are some ideas for each subject.
My friend Anna, also recently held a Snow Day in her classroom. On her blog, Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey, she shares how her students made snowflakes using pipe cleaners and Borax. They turned out so great! This picture is the "before" so you must visit her blog post to see the "after." Check out the post here to learn the recipe and secrets to this fun science project.
I love Art Hub for Kids for all their directed drawings. We don't have an art teacher at my school, so that means I have to be a "Jack of all Trades" and pretend like I know what I am teaching. Check out this directed drawing of How to Draw a Snowman.
This activity will actually work for Fine Arts and Language Arts! Bonus! My friend Rachel wrote a great post about a Snowglobe Winter Writing Activity on the All About 3rd Grade blog. It is the perfect "snow day" writing activity because it is short, fun, and writing with a different perspective. Didn't her bulletin board turn out so adorable?
Here is a fun activity from my friend Kim at Elementary Antics called Donut Math. You can read about it here on the All About 3rd Grade blog. You can see how I just took the idea and made it super, extra cute Snowman Math! What is so amazing about this activity it that you can easily make this practice for multiplication or addition!
Just start by drawing a snowman on your white board for the number of teams you want. I just usually draw two snowmen because....well you get it....who's got time? I divide my class in half and they make two lines in front of the snowmen.
Write a number in the center of the snowman and that is what the students will multiply (or divide by). Each student answer one problem (any one they want) and they pass the dry erase marker onto the next person. If an answer is incorrect, someone in the line has to fix it as "their turn." Students are not allowed to whisper or call out an answer or let another student know their answer is wrong. The group that has all the answers written down correctly, wins that round. This is the perfect activity to have right after the students are coming back from lunch or recess. I start it as soon as the kids start arriving. At our school, the kids are a bit pokey about changing their tennis shoes back from their gym shoes or they dawdle in the bathroom, so if they aren't back then they miss out on the fun and they hate missing out.
I utilize centers a lot in my classroom because it gets my kids out of their seats and focused on some review skills (and sometimes a introductory skill). For our snow day, I had several stations set up.
#1 Work with a Partner - I had two different games for the kids to choose from here: winter division bump and winter missing factors. You probably have a few games already that you could use in this center. If you are looking for some winter themed games, check out the links below.
#2 Fact Practice - For fact practice time on our snow day, we did a fun, get up and active practice. The students that were in the group each took a time at the snowball run at least twice. (That way they could try to beat their previous time.)
I made flashcards with cardstock paper although you could use flash cards you already have in the classroom. I made them self checking by putting each answer on the back of each flashcard.
I wrote answers on pieces of paper and wadded them up like snowballs. The snowballs go in a pile behind a line. Have another student time the player and record their time so they can try to beat their own time the second time they play. (I encourage my students to beat their own time and not worry about other student's time.) The player picks up one snowball, unfolds it and matches it to the two factors that equal the product inside the snowball. They keep coming back for one snowball at a time and continue matching until all the snowballs have disappeared. Have them check and record their time and then check their answers with the products on the back of the flashcards. Now it is player two's turn. Play again and try to beat their previous record.
#3 Tech Time - Usually during Tech Time, my students work on a program my school has purchased called IXL. It allows to students to practice and master ALL of the 3rd grade math skills. For every ten skills they master, I award a brag tag. This helps keep my kids motivated. HOWEVER, today I totally splurged and let them work on winter themed math games on Cool Math. (See link below.)
My students also love a lot of the themed winter fact practice games on Multiplication.com. (link below)
#4 Independent Work - I love using math sorts for independent work. On this particular day, my students were reviewing missing factors since we were in a division chapter. Students sorted the snowballs (factors) onto the snowman with a missing factor body part. I also had prepared a multiplication and division fact family center, multiplication riddle sort, and multiplication more or less sort. There were several options for them to choose from and I allowed them to start with any one of them and then trade. (link below)
#5 Work with the Teacher - Of course any activity would work at this rotation, but on this particular day, I worked with my students on subtracting across zeros because I had noticed that this particular skill had went POOF! (You can relate, right?) We called it working on "Sub Zero" and I worked with the kids on the boxing in method. You can see the steps to practice below.
Where did I find the resources for my snow day math stations?
Snowmen at Night and Snowmen at Work by Caralyn Buehner make great snow day books with tons of activities. If you don't have copies of the books, below are videos of the two books being read aloud. Some of the activities can include: compare and contrast (of the two snowmen's adventures), finding rhyming words, and making predictions.
We did a quick research of current temperatures across the United States. I gave each student 2-3 states to look up on the internet. They found out the capital of that state and the current temperature. I gave them a mini post it note and they recorded the temperature and stuck it to the state. We talked about the temperature that it needs to be to get snow and how many states could be getting snow that day. Nothing huge, but it is a great way for the students to learn how to research on the internet and they may learn a new state or capital. Not everything has to be a huge deal!
My friend Cassandra held a Snowman Day in her classroom. Check out the ideas she had here.