Teaching Seasons and Weather

Friday, April 11, 2014

One of my favorite units to teach with my first graders is seasons and weather.  I love being able to integrate science, math, reading, and writing into one theme, and seasons lends itself perfectly to that!  Here's what we've been up to! (Hold on to your hats- it's a long one!)



I begin my unit by teaching/reviewing the months of the year.  I was really shocked last year when I launched right into seasons and then found out my firsties didn't know the months.  Uh oh.  So we back-tracked!  Now I make sure to start with it.  We loooove this dance.


At the same time, I begin integrating a "Today's Weather Is..." during our morning meeting time.  I have a poster that looks like the one below and I rotate students to do Class News and the weather each day. 

Need this for 1st graders!


Next, I read Chicken Soup with Rice.  That book is so perfect for teaching months, seasons, and weather.  It is also great for figurative language and understanding illustrations.  My kids loved being able to shout out "chicken soup with rice!" at the end of every stanza.  Following our read-aloud, I projected a poster from my Seasons, Clothing, and Weather (Oh My!) unit onto my whiteboard and we completed  attempted a sort to match the seasons with their months.  It didn't go so well.    


Here's how I know it didn't go so well: when I saw them struggling with the table sort, I had them do a walking sort instead, thinking that would be better.  Nope.


Lesson learned. It's ok to slow down and not rush the "what months are in the seasons" lesson.  So, the next day, we reviewed the months and took it one season at a time.  We did the sort over again a day later and had much much better results! 

In the meantime, we learned the Seasons Song from this packet, which is so perfect for my students.  We also completed some of the writing prompts to tell about our favorite seasons and weather. 


To add to our study of the weather, we learned about some clothing vocabulary using one of the posters in my pack, then worked on the mini-book on the board.  Students practiced sorting the appropriate clothes to wear for different weather situations.  I spent a lot more time on this part of the unit last year- the group this year had a much more solid foundation in clothing vocabulary. 


My first grade group is extremely diverse in terms of proficiency.  I have two extreme newcomers, one student ready to exit, two somewhere in the developing stage, and one extra-special friend.  I am very fortunate to have a class set of Surface tablets, so I'm often able to do a semi-center rotation in order to work with students independently or allow my high-level students to explore things more in-depth.  Here are some of the websites I've been using to teach seasons, weather, and clothing (oh my!):


I found this one in the morning while getting ready for the day.  It was such a lucky find!  My group loved it and it was perfectly paced for them.  Definitely give it a go. 


This one is an interview with a meteorologist! So cool! There are really great extension websites at the bottom that gave me a lot of great ideas for my students as well.  Below are some other websites that were in heavy rotation in my classroom. 

1. http://www.eslgamesplus.com/weather/
2. http://www.abcya.com/months_of_the_year.htm
3. http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-games.htm
4. http://www.brainpopjr.com/science/weather/seasons/preview.weml

To finish our unit, we did two culminating activities because I just couldn't choose!


We made it rain!


I had them put 5 or 6 drops of food coloring- it was cool to see the different strategies once they saw where their classmates placed theirs. 


They had the best time patiently waiting for the rain to fall.


My fourth graders came in the next period and wanted to do the experiment too, so we did, just with a little more academic vocabulary and a little more scientific method thrown in.   And finally, while waiting for our rain to fall, we made rainbows about our favorite seasons.  They came out so cute!  I've seen the rainbow name-bows all over the blogging world and finally had a good reason to make them. I love how they turned out! 

Summer is the best.  I like the summer.  I can ride my bike.  I like to go in the pool.  I can go to the park.

I like summer.  In summer I can ride bike.  In summer I can swim.  I like summer because I will go to the beach.  The summer is my favorite season.

That was one of my newcomers.  He only learned cursive on Monday! He started with me in September...I cannot believe how far he has come.  He is writing paragraphs and talking up a storm.  I am constantly amazed by his drive and dedication. 

I put our rainbows out in the hall for everyone to see.  I am so proud of my 1st graders- our Seasons, Clothing, and Weather uint was a success!!



3 comments:

  1. Wow! I love everything in this post! That experiment looks like a lot of fun! Sometimes you do have to back track, but it is definitely worth it. Good for you for taking the time!

    Amy
    Eclectic Educating

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