Winter is a great time to incorporate science with reading, writing, and math. A simple way to help your young student do this is to start a weather journal. Your youngster will need a notebook, pencil, and crayons to get started.
If you live where winter is cold and snowy:
Help your child keep a record of snowfalls from local weather reports. Mark the date and the amount of snow that fell on that date. At the end of winter, go back and determine which date had the most amount of snow and which had the least.
Together read A Snow Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Let her make a picture of herself playing in the snow. Encourage her to write a story to tell about her picture. Before writing, help her understand sequence by talking about what happens first, next, and last in her story. Make sure she pays attention to capital letters at the beginning of sentences and punctuation at the end.
If you live where winter is mostly rainy:
Record the number of inches that fall on rainy days, as reported by a local weather person. In a notebook, mark the date, temperature, and amount of rain that fell on that date. At the end of winter, read books about the water cycle to find out what happens to all that rain! One example is Down Comes the Rain by Franklyn Branley and James Graham Hale.
Use the journal to introduce and increase different vocabulary words to describe rain and its intensity. For example, help your child understand precipitation and the difference between drizzle and deluge.
If you live where weather is fairly constant all year:
Record changes in the wind. Make a simple wind flag by taping a 6-inch piece of crepe paper or ribbon to the top of an unsharpened pencil. Let your child go outside to see if the wind causes the flag to move while she holds it steady. Encourage her to try different times of the day, to see if wind is stronger in the morning or afternoon. Help her make a simple bar graph to show at what time of day most of the week’s wind occurred.
Get stories of different seasons and their weather from your local library. Some examples are Four Seasons Make a Year by Anne Rockwell and Curious George Seasons by H.A. Rey. Ask her to write which season she would travel to if she could, and why.
Using your family’s environment to combine science, reading, math, and writing makes learning very meaningful to a young child.
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.