Winter is definitely here with tons of beautiful snowflakes covering our trees, roads and houses. Of course, if you live in a country that doesn’t have winter with snow, don’t worry, it’s always fun to learn about how and what the world looks like in different areas. You can still do ALL the winter activities with your students and they will love them just the same!
Below I’m going to review two KEY winter themed activities to kickstart your classroom’s winter unit:
- Winter Vocabulary
- Winter themed Sight Words
Winter Word list:
Whenever beginning a new theme in our classroom, I always like to start off with a mad brainstorming session! Get your class sitting on the carpet and brainstorm all the Winter words you can think of together. Winter words like snowsuit, mittens, downhill skiing, and of course hot chocolate! Building a strong winter word list and winter vocabulary sets a strong base for your whole winter unit.
When you are brainstorming all the Winter words you can think of, it is a perfect opportunity to do a KWL chart. Below, you can see the winter words that we used as well as winter phrases and what we want to know! The vocabulary you come up with will be continuously used throughout all your winter themed activities, including Winter writing prompts and winter scavenger hunts – both of which you can check out in more detail in my other blog posts!
First print, cut and laminate the Winter words vocabulary cards, and then put them everywhere! In your classroom writing centers, on your word wall and close at hand whenever you are doing my winter writing prompts activity. Also, place the cards around your classroom for a winter scavenger hunt. Remember, the more winter themed activities you do, the more opportunities you have to reinforce this winter vocabulary with these winter words vocabulary cards.
Winter Themed Sight Words
Sight words are the basic set of (about) 100 words that typically appear over and over in most sentences we read – such as “who, the, he, she, were, does, their, me, be.” Sight words are a very important piece to developing strong literacy skills.
Use these winter theme sight words as a key part of your winter unit! My kindergarten students love sight word games and were very excited to incorporate the new winter themed sight words.
I always try to make learning fun, fresh and different. I love using these cute winter theme sight word printables to make sight word games, sight word work sheets and activities. I believe that it’s very important to put ALL sight words into context, like putting the sight words into a sentence. When we put sight words into sentences, it gives the sight words more meaning which translates into a greater understanding of the new words learned. I believe that when we don’t put sight words into a sentence or into context, kids are just memorizing and missing the important component of reading for meaning.
How to apply this strategy:
Here is a great example of how we can put these words into sentences. Sight word: BIG Now put it in a sentence:
- The dog is big.
- My big sister took me to the park.
- The big cat is orange.
Strategies for learning at home:
For both my students and my own children, I always try to make learning fun and not a chore. As a parent, I know how daunting it can be to have to do homework, especially when you have multiple children! The struggle of sight words and the pressure parents feel towards teaching their children them, is often difficult!
Parents will often say to me: “I’m so worried! My child can remember the word when it’s on my fridge, but then when they read it in their book, they couldn’t remember the word anymore. Do you think there’s something wrong?”
This isn’t an indication of anything being wrong! It’s a function of how our brains work. When we are actively involved in our learning, we are much more likely to retain the information. This is the same for learning sight words! When kids are actively involved and putting the words into context, they will retain more information! My suggestion: Put them into context! Take the sight words of the week and make them into sight word games like:
- Ask your child to pick a few sight words and put them into a sentence.
- Play sight word matching games (my winter phrases – Winter sight words are perfect for this!)
- Play hide and seek with the sight words that are in your child’s book for that week. For example, if the sight word is “the” see how many times you can find the word “the” in their book.
We’ve now reviewed the three KEY winter themed activities that are sure to kickstart your classroom’s winter unit:
- Winter Vocabulary
- Winter themed Phonemic Awareness
- Winter themed Sight Words
Winter is an amazing season filled with unique beauty, challenging clothing, and if you are lucky – tons and tons of hockey! Enjoy the winter activities with your students and I know they will love them and learn a whole bunch along the way!