Notes from a Teacher column | The magic of snow: What would you do if you were a snowman at night?

January 20, 2013 

There are some magical moments from your childhood that are very hard to forget. You know the ones I’m talking about; the ones that involve special Christmas mornings, birthday parties, visits from the tooth fairy or perhaps that first ride on the Ferris wheel with your mom or dad. I’ve been reminded lately about other particular moments when I was young, and my mom would wake me up to tell me that school was canceled because there had been a great big snowstorm!

We lived on Turnpike Avenue in the town of Clearfield, and my bedroom window faced the busy street where a street lamp stood conveniently at the end of our driveway. I would rush to my window and scream with glee when I would spy the blanket of snow covering all that I could see! I would run to wake my brother and sister, and we would rush down the stairs to begin dressing for our winter wonderland extravaganzas. Our snow days were usually filled with making snowmen, snow angels, snow forts and sled riding. We stopped only for hot chocolate breaks or to tattle on each other for unfair snowball practices.

Those were the magical winter days when I actually liked snow.

My own children were just as ecstatic when I would peek into their rooms to tell them they could sleep in because school was canceled. They never did sleep in, of course, and performed the same snow day rituals. Invariably our front yard would be filled with snow people of various size and shape. It’s those adorable snow people that I think about when I see the snowflakes fall each winter.

As a teacher, I know the snow is an incredible distraction for the young children. I do what I can to keep their attention, and try to capture the magic of winter and bring it into the classroom. When we had a two-hour delay last week, I knew it would be a challenge to keep the little ones focused on learning when there were four inches of snow just outside our classroom begging to be made into snowmen. So I improvised.

We played snowball math, snowball word games, and used incredibly messy Cray-pas to create photo-bombing snowman masterpieces. I read the story “Snowmen at Night,” and we talked about what might happen if the class turned into snow people! It became an animated discussion which, as you know, took us to a place I never intended to go.

“If I were a snowman, I would make another snowman,” said Raina.

“I would be very cirus (curious) and peek into people’s houses,” added Allie.

“I would make throw a rock at snowman Jack, cause I’m mad at him.” This came from my little Frank, who I thought had resolved his issues with Jack. Apparently not.

“I would not want to turn into a snowman cause I hate the winter!”

At this point George added, “And I would not eat chicken. Cause you should never have too much chicken!”

I thanked George for adding this lesson to our discussion, and reminded him that we were talking about snowmen.

“Oh, I have something to tell the other snowmen,” he said. “Never eat the snow. Don’t eat the yellow snow, and never, ever eat brown snow. Especially if there’s lumps in it; trust me, people.”

As he shook his head and finished his drawing, I was thinking he must have had his own magical moment in the snow. One that he probably won’t want to remember!

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