Winter. Love it or hate it? Personally, I LOVE the sun and I miss it during the winter. But there is something to be said about having all four season to mark the time and balance out each year passing. January is really when winter hits where I live (Toronto, Canada). Winter can be incredible. Winter sports and activities are completely wonderful in their own way. I especially love this time of year as a teacher because it gives us the opportunity to teach kids about the outdoors in a whole new way.
To start any unit off, I always try to brainstorm our ideas together. For winter, I like sitting down with the class and I ask the students questions like: What is winter? What animals live outside? Who hibernates? What activities and sports are popular? When we brainstorm together as a class, it is a great opportunity to teach descriptive writing!
There’s a plethora of Kindergarten and First Grade reading on each of these topics and what goes best with interesting reading? Descriptive writing! The topics are so fun that I find kids asking to keep asking to do more descriptive writing on these topics! Descriptive writing can be a challenging area in the curriculum for some students since it requires them to think outside of the box. With descriptive writing, I find students initially have difficultly with coming up with the details and then putting them into context.
Since it is often difficult for some students to get started with their own ideas on a topic being learned, I always love integrating sentence starters or a topic for them to help them brainstorm. In my Winter unit, I made sure to have multiple topics (or sentence starters) so that students can pick and chose what interests them most. We all have different likes and dislikes, so finding something that interests them for descriptive writing is very important! I also love giving students the opportunity to work in pairs, groups or alone which helps with engagement on the topics being learned.
One of the favourite topics in Kindergarten and First Grade is how to build a snowman. Thinking back to when I was younger, I remember being SO excited for the first snowfall. The first snowfall meant that it was not only was winter, but it was also time for skating, skiing, playing in the snow, making snowmen, snowball fights and of course warm hot chocolate!
When learning about descriptive writing (or really any writing), it’s so important to have kids engaged through hands on activities. For the ‘Snowman’ activity, we can make a snowman outside as a class or students can make a snowman with paper and crafts in the classroom. It is so important to talk about the steps and physically do them before they start their descriptive writing pieces. When kids do and don’t just watch, they are more likely to retain the information and be engaged!
Winter sports is another big and fun topic to encourage successful descriptive writing with my First Grade students. I LOVE using task cards, because I feel that they help engage student’s learning by giving topics for students to talk about. I just love acting out sport with my students or brainstorming which animals hibernate!
If you would like to download any of these descriptive writing prompts for First Grade and Kindergarten, please visit my store or click the link below. Thank you!