Winter Acrostic Poems and Snowflake Snowman Art

ACROSTIC POEMS: 
My favorite form of poetry is ACROSTIC POETRY. It is easy and a good critical thinking skill to get kids to brainstorm lists of W words having to do with winter.

  It is always funny when somebody says something off the wall, like Winnie the Pooh, for a W word on our Acrostic Poetry brainstorm. We all have a good laugh. 

 Then we move on to I words, then N words on the board as the kids help by brainstorming and I will help by calling out generic words like “In, Nobody, White” etc.

Word Bank of January Words – I put up a new one each month. It
really reduces the “Teacher how do you spell….?” questions a lot! 


It’s fun to then choose a favorite word from the lists we have made and come up with a sentence telling about your own favorite parts of winter. 

 As you can see, they all write about what THEY love about winter….or DON’T love….as the case may be.

 After writing our Winter Acrostic Poems, we make snowmen out of cut snowflakes and white paint stamped snowflakes and colored paper hats and scarves, with colored dot stickers for buttons.

    Winter.Acrostics and Snowflake Snowmen…..
Snowman Art using snowflakes is really a pretty bulletin board outside our classroom for January. 

After everybody has the WIN of winter, we move to T words, then E words then R words. I write them as a LIST under each letter so it’s easy for the kids to choose a word to start with. 

After writing our Winter Acrostic Poems, we make snowmen out of cut snowflakes and white paint stamped snowflakes and colored paper hats and scarves, with colored dot stickers for buttons. 

 Here are our finished Winter Acrostic Poems on our bulletin board. Super cute.

    Well, the snowmen are really cute too!

I have a huge collection of Winter Books and Stories; non fiction and fiction that fill my bookcase. Here
are just a few of my favorites. 

We sing Songs about Snowmen too. Here is one to the tun of Itsy Bitsy Spider.

 Last year we did Penguin Acrostic Poems with footprint Penguin Art….

Here is the Footprint and thumbprint penguins painted black on blue paper. I added glitter glue stars afterwards. They 
These stickers are really cute to add to the writing projects we do. I love them! 
And here are our PENGUIN ACROSTIC POEMS….They were really cute too. 

 Penguin Footprint Art with baby thumbprint penguins too. This one took a LONG TIME to finish because I had to paint with the kids practically 1 on 1. So this year we did tear art penguins with penguin stories. They are almost done.

I have literally dozens of penguin books in my  classroom library. I love all of the Tacky the Penguin ones especially. 


My favorite Penguin Children’s Book of all Time. I try to do “Text Sets” of non-fiction books AND story books on the same topics or themes.


The they make their own sentences and we try to add an adjective to each of them. They always turn out beautiful and wintery sounding.

Martin Luther King Dreams

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
I have a black and white big book I read the kids every year near MLK’s birthday. It depicts real time pictures of how things were in the 50s in kid language, with pictures of Rosa Parks, signs of segregated bathrooms, schools and lunch counters, actual photos, and I ask over and over, “do you think this seems fair?” and I am always amazed how adamant the kids are that it is not. And I always wonder, “Why weren’t the leaders of the day not aware?”

After we read and discuss the pictures we try to come up with ideas of how we (the voice of 1) would also change the world for the better, like MLK did, without violence.

And once again I am always amazed how they come up with such wonderful ideas and thoughts. It is my favorite assignment of writing the entire year. It gives me hope for the future…sniff….sniff…

Being kind to animals was one theme that got repeated as well as keeping our world clean…..

Then we do a directed drawing creating a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Red White and Blue
with the American flag in the background and some fireworks too. It always turns out so darling. 

Here are some other books I have amassed through the years to share with the kids. We also save every Weekly Reader and Scholastic News on the subject I get, and we read those as a class for background knowledge…..

I never have to encourage more writing on this assignment. The kids just go at it. It is a very emotional topic even for little kids when they find out such a good, peaceful man was assassinated senselessly. Here is our hallway bulletin board. We add the blue poem at the top as a caption. 

  There is so much one voice can accomplish…..we learn this from Dr. King.  I LOVE this one….so articulate….many had thoughts about cleaning up the environment and about gangs

And this one…..”I have something to say to the world!” It gives me hope for our leadership of tomorrow with little kids like this today…..

More books on Dr. King in Kid language. Click on any of them to order…..
Being treated fairly, not littering, being kind and helping the poor were common threads…..

No more violence or killing was another common thread. It almost breaks my heart that kids know so much about our world and some of the things we wish we could shelter them from…..

You will love reading these….I always do. I smile and I sniff through them all. What a great job I have. I honor MLK every year and thank him for making schools like mine better today. We all look around our multicultural classroom and we all know this is a great place to go to school. đŸ˜€ We are so lucky.

Salt Crystals Experiments

We did this fun experiment in our classroom last week and let the crystals grow for a week. It was fun and it goes along with our unit on Rocks and Minerals. Here are some samples of our cool Salt Crystals experiment.

I used a briquette and then we cut little evergreen tree shapes out of cardstock and glued them on bowls next to the briquettes. Then we added solution and food coloring to both. And let them sit for a few days. This is after about 2 days.

We sent home the directions for our experiments too. We also looked at salt crystals and sugar crystals under viewers on black paper and did some Water Jelly Crystal experiments too. Fun!


I have this book in my class. I tell the kids all about this old timer photographer who took old fashioned photos
of snowflakes and proved that no 2 were exactly alike when their crystals formed. I also have a copy of
his book, where he photographed hundreds of snowflakes. It was interesting to share. Our crystals kind of look like snow or snowflakes.

This one turned out the prettiest with all the colors of the rainbow and some pretty good growth. All the kids made one and took it home.  

I searched for lots of experiment ideas on the internet for this newly developed unit. I’ve not had to teach rocks before. But I think we learned a lot about them.  Check out my 3 Types of Rocks Flapbooks we made too. They are cool.

Here they are ready to take them home after a week. They looked pretty cool. We talked about gems 
and crystals and how they are found in metamorphic rocks which are under a lot of heat and pressure. That’s how
diamonds and many expensive gem jewels are made. 

 This was right after we had mixed the solution and added food coloring to our salt crystals experiment. It is salt, ammonia and laundry bluing.

Here they are after about 24 hours….lots of stuff growing and a little liquid still left….. We just left them on the
counter and kids could view them several times a day. Everybody had their own. 
Here they are after a weekend….a few still had some sediments in the bottom.

 But most of them were purely crystals by then….really interesting to see all the different colors and formations…..

This salt crystal formation was really freaky looking. Lea ended up with a really pretty purple and blue one. I think they look a lot more interesting growing on the cardstock “tree” instead of on the charcoal briquette. Next year I think we will do trees in a clear cup. That would be maybe better for transporting home too. 

Check these flap books out HERE. There is also a cool video on The Rock Cycle check it out!  HERE.

It was a fun bunch of experiments. We still have to do the layers of the earth in clay. That will be our last bit of the ROCK UNIT. It’s been such a cool earth science unit to study. The kids learned A LOT! 

The Rock Cycle and 3 Kinds of Rocks


THIS IS A FUN VIDEO/SONG DESCRIBING THE ROCK CYCLE “WE WILL ROCK YOU!”By Cassidy and the Band Queen.

What is the rock cycle?  The Rock Cycle is  a continuous process by which rocks are created, changed from one form to another,

 destroyed,and then formed again into a different type of rock. The rock cycle occurs in the different layers of the Earth. The 3 types of rocks are: SEDIMENTARY, Metamorphic and IGNEOUS.  Here are our ROCK FLAP BOOKS we made and illustrated to show the 3 kinds of rocks. 


Igneous rocks flap book pages.  We drew a Cool volcano and shiny, black, volcanic mica rocks. 

For igneous rocks we drew volcanoes of course….and Andrew and his mom came in
and showed us a fun model volcano using the baking soda and vinegar experiment…..it was enjoyed by all! 

Sedimentary flap pages…. we learned that sedimentary rocks include fossils of dead animals and plants and pebbles and shells, because they are found in sediments leftover from water areas of the earth. 
For Sedimentary Rock we drew a canyon  or an arch near a lake where you might find fossils,  and sedimentary types of rocks..

Here were some “fossils” we made with plaster of paris to go along with what you find in sedimentary rocks.
Metamorphic rocks….we drew models showing the inside of the earth cut open and a type of
rock that would have some crystals inside of it from all that underground heat and pressure.
Metamorphic rocks used to be either igneous or sedimentary. 

Rock Flap Books – Metamorphic Rocks page….

A cool lesson plan and free worksheet on  layers of the earth can be found HERE at Volcanoes Alive.
Another one I liked is at aktsunami.com. It had a downloadable fill in the blank diagram that looked fun and both of these will go along with my clay lesson plan. Another great resource for Rocks is HERE at mjksc teaching ideas. 

We also made crystals from ammonia, salt, bluing and some charcoal briquettes. 

We learned about the Rock Cycle – mostly from this THINKQUEST and a few books and posters on Rocks, Volcanos, Crystals. I have posters like these in my classroom, plus we watched the Magic School Bus video on Volcanoes.  Thanks to one of my mom helpers and Andrew, her son, we had a cool demonsotration of a Volcano erupting using baking soda and vinegar and a model volcano. At Teaching Ideas there is a fun matching activity that kids might like to do at a science center.

ROCK FAMILY SONG Check out this song about the different types of rocks HERE.

A fun wordsearch and a little quiz on layers of the earth to go with it can be downloaded Share PDF.net. It is a little tricky to figure out how to download it, just follow the directions (type in the code) on the upper left hand side of the page. If you go anywhere else it is all advertising tricks. Another one she had was giving each student a mini snickers bar unwrapped in a baggie. They press and sit and stand on the snickers bar and it becomes “changed” like a metamorphic rock, with heat and pressure. What a great idea!

Here are one of our crystals close up. It was very colorful. The top shows the “tree” we made out of
cardboard and how it really grew a bunch of cool crystals. The bottom is a rainbow looking, charcoal piece. 

HERE  is a cute printable SONG about the 3 types of ROCKS!

Check out ROCKY’s Rock Cycle. Also HERE  at Have Fun Teaching is a Rocks ABC Order Worksheet we also did. It has many of the vocabulary words we studied this week.This KIDS GEO.COM website is SUPER GREAT  because it has  cute songs to go along with  WONDERFUL pictures of all 3 rock types.

I ordered this book from Amazon along with another one called “The Rock Factory” by Jacqui Bailey. Both were great for introducing rocks to kids.

CLICK ON THE BOOK ABOVE to order one. Another cute activity I wanted to do this year too is to have the kids paint a Pet Rock. I collected smooth river rocks from Bear Lake this past summer for that very purpose, since I knew I’d be teaching rocks and minerals.

A bunch of fun worksheets I found HERE at School Express. There are word scrambles and word searches with ROCKS as the theme. A cute song I found at  at Beakers and Bumblebees  as well as some fun, edible experiments we could do. I think I’ll try the one with red, chocolate disks, melted like hot magma or lava, and then reformed when cooled into “igneous” rocks.  We could add some chipped candy canes to the hot magma like gems and crystals which are sometimes found in igneous rocks. We looked at photos of Mt. St. Helens the volcano that erupted in Washington, and we looked at Calderas in Yellowtone National Park.

ROCK RIDDLES

  1. Do you know what a rock wants to be when it  grows up??   
  2. What do you call a dog who collects rocks? 
  3. What do you do to a baby rock? 
  4. What is a rock’s favorite kind of music? 
  5. Where do rocks sleep? 
  6. How do rocks wash their clothes? 
  7. What is a rock’s favorite transportation? 
  8. What is a rock’s favorite cereal? 
  9. Where is a rock’s favorite golf course? 
  10. What is a rock’s favorite television show?

Answers



  1. A Rock Star
  2. A Rockhound 
  3. Rock it 
  4. Rock ‘N Roll 
  5. Bedrock 
  6. On the rock cycle 
  7. A rocket 
  8. Cocoa Pebbles 
  9. Pebble Beach 
  10. “Third Rock from the Sun”

We also did “Layers of the Earth” with models in crayon and clay (with a BB for the solid core). Check them out HERE.

VOCABULARY WORDS 
We did our spelling list using these words as well as vocabulary this week.
1. Igneous rock- rock formed from cooled magma or lava.
2. Sedimentary rock- rock that formed when sediments were pressed and cemented together.
3. Metamorphic rock- rock that formed when another kind of rock was squeezed and heated deep inside Earth’s crust.
4. Rock cycle- the process of rocks changing into other kinds of rock.
5. Fossils- the remains or traces of an organism that lived long ago.
6. Volcano- a mountain built up from hardened lava, rocks, and ash that erupted out of Earth.
7. Lava-melted rock that flows out of the ground onto Earth’s surface.
8. Magma- melted rock below Earths surface

9. erosion – when bits of rock and sand are taken away by wind or water and packed as sediment somewhere else. 
10. crystals – a mineral having a clear structure with cut faces. (like quartz) 
We are almost done with our unit. It’s really been fun to teach earth science to my students. 

Water Jelly Crystals

We had fun this week making jelly crystals and growing crystal gardens in science. We are studying all the properties and types of rocks and the rock cycle, so minerals and crystals were a must!

I bought some water jelly crystals from Steve Spangler Science and we followed the directions in the video above. The students started by doing the experiment in a fat test tube. Nobody knew what would happen when they added water to the crystals!

Then after an hour the crystals had sucked up all the water and had turned into jell crystals. Then we added food coloring and waited. They filled up the entire test tube from 1/4 teaspoon of crystals! Very cool!

 After the test tubes were almost overflowing with crystals we dumped them into a zip lock bag and added some flower and vegetable seeds. I had about 20 packs to choose from. Then we made our “crystal” gardens out of cardstock, colored and cut them out.

Here are our water jelly crystals before we put them in the baggies.

And here they are after adding the seeds and stapling them to the cardstock “Crystal Gardens”.

It was a very exciting and “colorful” experiment.  Most of the kids predicted correctly what would happen to the crystals. 

We had blue, red, green and purple and yellow crystals.

We also did experiments putting sugar and salt water on black paper and letting it dry. We saw the different crystal shapes of salt and sugar. 
Then we looked at the crystals through our magnifying viewers. 

Here are the 3 colors that were the most popular. The purple ones were cool too.

Then we looked on the internet and found a few websites where they had pictures of different types of crystal minerals. They were very beautiful. Here is a cool Pinterest Page HERE.

Here is a Pinterest page that had lots of cool minerals and crystals too, right  HERE.

Next we will be doing some salt crystals using charcoal briquettes and bluing and ammonia. It always grows some pretty spectacular crystal gardens.

Here we are with our beautiful crystals. And below are our crystal “gardens”.  I hope they will sprout!

Here is the link for the Water Jelly Crystals at Steve Spangler Science. I bought a pound for $16 and I’ll have lots left over for next year. It’s a very cool experiment for kids to experience.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Circle Stories

Laura Numeroff books helped us invent our own circle stories

This week I got out my collection of Laura Numeroff Books. They all start like this; “If you give a _____ a ______. I told the kids to be thinking of what animal they were going to use for the star of their story (subject). Then we brainstormed things you could give the star that would lead to their wanting something related.

 Then we did our own innovations or Circle Stories on the cute books by Laura Numeroff.  They copied the alliteration titles a bit by coming up with a similar pattern;”If you give a _____ a ______, both words starting with the same letter.  They turned out very cute!

This was another funny one…..If you Give a Bird a Banana…..these circle stories were darling! 

This one definitely had some cute artwork here…..the story is down below…..

The kids followed the story frame and then I typed the rough drafts up after school. 

If you give a Pig a Pancake and If you give a Moose a Muffin are two more of Laura Numeroff’s popular titles…..

We read a variety of the books and then I made up a sentence frame for them to try to write their own

circle stories. I encouraged them to add some adjectives or describing words to each page.

Here is the story frame we used.  They were supposed to try and add some really good adjectives, or describing words
for each of the pages. 

Then I typed up their stories for them using the page numbers to help them keep the story in order from beginning to end. And it helped them cut the pages apart to glue down on their paper.

Then they cut and glued the story pages on half sheets of white construction paper.
Then they illustrated each page and added speech bubbles.  The last thing they did was add a
title page with a dedication. They were really sweet dedications, many of them were to the moms.  

If you give a Tiger some Toast…it was really cute with all the speech bubbles….

Then we made appointments and went to read our stories to all 3 of the other 2nd grade classrooms.
Each child got to read to 3 or 4 other students in the other classes. So they reread their story at least 5 times. 

They also read their finished stories to our class, in the author’s chair, after they had illustrated them.

 Then we put them all up on the bulletin board in the hallway. Everybody loves them! They are really cute!

The Laura Numeroff Books such as “If You Give a Pig a Party” are really cute springboards for writing your own circle stories. I was pleasantly surprised how well the kids’ creative writing turned out.

I think these stories should be published in the city library. They are fun and creative too!  Good job everyone! I loved reading your Circle Stories!