Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Successful Lesson

Back in December, on the Friday before Winter Break, I shared the story of Snowflake Bentley with my 6th grade students.  If I were following my plans that day I would have been working on another writing lesson, but as I looked around the room Thursday I could see we were all pretty much spent.  Recalling the words of a former colleague- read your audience- I decided Friday would be better spent learning about Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley and his perseverance in trying to photograph snowflake crystals.

My hook was the school calendar that had us returning from break on Thursday, January 2.  I told the kids if we read about snow and then created our own snowflakes to hang around the room we might just coax a snowstorm out of the skies for somewhere around December 31.  Our goal was to make sure white, wintery weather kept us out of school until January 6.

The kids were game.  Many had heard the story of Snowflake Bentley before and were happy to hear it again.  Those who were unfamiliar with Wilson Bentley were shocked to hear (spoiler alert) that he died of pneumonia after walking 6 miles home in a blizzard.  The kids created about 50 snowflakes that day and left the room buzzing about the fun they had in class and their hopes for a well-timed snow day.

The white stuff arrived a day late, on January 3rd, and since then it has kept coming.  We've had four snow days since January 1st but because of the timing of each snowfall we've been treated to one 3-day weekend and two 5-day weekends. 

Snowflakes still hang from the drop ceiling of room 86.  Just the other day I asked a student if he thought it was time for me to take them down.

"No way." he replied.  "They're working!"

Yes they are.  Today I caught sight of this statement on my favorite local weather blog:  The National Weather Service – overnight- issued a winter storm watch for the entire metro region late Sunday night through Monday afternoon for a period of freezing rain and sleet, followed by the potential for at least 5 inches of snow. 


  1. Hasn't this been an extraordinary winter? I love that your student said, "No Way." I can imagine all the snowflakes and buzz in your room about an upcoming storm. Not sure where you are from, but we shall see what Sunday/Monday bring here in Michigan too!

  2. Your snowflakes are working in Central Illinois as well. What a crazy winter. We're getting ready for another round today through Monday. Love the peek into your classroom.

  3. Reeled me in! Thank you. a joy to read this. :-)

  4. Great story- thanks- now take down the snowflakes...I think folks back there need a break in the weather:)