With ice, snow, hot chocolate, fireplaces, and all kinds of holidays, winter is such a beautiful season that almost all of our kids love! What winter plot activity do you like to use to teach plot or story elements in winter? Of course, there are tons of good activities, and today I am going to talk about some plot activities based on the three books below:
- The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll;
- The Mitten Tree by Candace Christiansen;
- Brave Irene by William Steig;
I will also share some activities regarding the learning of the story plot and elements. Before you move on, here is a freebie for you to try!
If you like general plot/story elements resources, you may check out this post. There are differentiated resources in different formats and more freebies!
Winter Plot Activity 1: Story Mountain Graphic Organizer
Whenever I teach the plot of a story, I always start from the story mountain graphic organizer because the visual is very easy for students to understand and remember.
I like to print out the story mountain graphic organizer with instructions (see below) for every student to glue in their reading notebooks. Besides, I also make a big chart of that to display in my classroom.
The blank version goes with most of the storybooks in elementary schools. Therefore, I can use it after any read-aloud, guided reading, or independent reading to check students’ comprehension. I even use it as an assessment sometimes.
Winter Plot Activity 2: The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll
This is one of Steven Kroll’s “The Biggest…Ever” series books. It’s about two mice who decided to build the biggest snowman to win a contest. They started off building snowmen separately, but not long after, they both realized that in order to win, they’d better work together. Finally, they built the biggest snowman together and won the prize.
This story has a clear story mountain structure–introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. What’s more, it teaches students the importance of teamwork, so it’s great for social-emotional learning as well.
To start with, I have a matching activity that comes in two versions (see above). Both provide a lot of scaffolding as students don’t have to identify or summarize the key events in the story. After reading all the key events on the worksheet, students just need to match each event with the story element. Obviously, the worksheet on the right shows the story mountain and the positions of each element as visual support.
Next, for your advanced students, you may want them to identify and summarize key events by themselves. Therefore, the worksheet below can help you challenge them and expand their learning. The blank graphic organizer on the left allows students to find important events from the story independently and then place them in the story mountain.
After that, students can move on to write a story about a snowman picture (see below). The writing prompt asks students to use all five elements in the story mountain to make it more interesting. If they need ideas, they can go back to reread the storybook they just did all the activities with.
Finally, for the students who need extra support and scaffolding, try to let them do multiple-choice questions first. As you can see below, each question provides four choices. Therefore, instead of actively looking for answers from the story, students can find the answer by eliminating choices.
If your students become good at multiple-choice questions, they can move on to do other worksheets mentioned above.
To Sum Up
The three books I mentioned at the beginning are very good books for both winter read-aloud and social-emotional learning. To check or improve students’ reading comprehension, I shared some differentiated plot and writing activities that can go perfectly with these books. Click here to get your freebie (The Biggest Snowman Ever).
To get the activities for the other two books and more for other seasons, click the following pictures to go to my store.