Using Snowman's Story as a Writing Mentor Text

Welcome Friends!

To me there is nothing better to do on a snowy day than wrapping up in my favorite fleece blanket with a good book and a warm cup of cocoa!

Snuggling into a wonderful story just makes the rest of the cold, frosty world outside melt away, and allows my imagination to go to a magical place!

I invite you to join me in doing the same now as The Reading Crew takes you..... 

Welcome to our second annual Winter Wonderland link up!  

Last year, The Reading Crew sponsored a winter literacy hop, but we decided to run it a little different this time. Instead of hopping with the potential of dead links, we decided on a closed link up. What this means is that there is a "map" of the blogs at the bottom of each post, so you can hop through them all at once, visit some today and some later in the week, or see what best 
matches your literacy needs.

On each blog, you will see a word in blue font. This is the blog's mystery word. Please be sure to record them because you will need each word for a five point entry in our raffle. To help you keep track, you can download and print this form {HERE}.

We are raffling off two wonderful prizes. Each blogger is donating a copy of their featured book  to two winners--one for the grades K-2 group and one for the grade 3 & up group. 

The K-2 prize package features 12 books! 

The grades 3 & up prize package features 13 books!

On each blog, we will be sharing a mentor text lesson using the book we've chosen. The lesson will be modeling a reading skill, comprehension or writing lesson typically, but some at the primary level may target vocabulary, fluency, or word building skills.  The materials that are shared may be forever freebies or may only be free for a limited time. Please take note of this as you visit the blogs. 

Again, we welcome you to our blogs and wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season!

Snowman's Story
Written & Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Published by Two Lions

This summer I had the pleasure and privilege of presenting a Mazza Museum Summer Conference workshop on using wordless picture books to encourage reluctant readers and writers.  I was blessed to talk with a room full of kindred spirits--fellow teachers and librarians who were a wonderful audience and who believed in the magic books with no words can help young children make. 

Afterwards, a lovely woman approached me and introduced herself as Will Hillenbrand's wife, Jane. I was honestly a bit star-struck as I talked with her and accepted her kind congratulations on what she called a "fun, energy-filled, and informative" pull-out, but finally thanked her kindly as she promised to send her husband's newest wordless picture book to me!  

It arrived from Cincinnati with a delightful note as my school year was beginning, and I am just so tickled to be able to share how I plan to use this special "gift" of a 
book with my second graders this winter!  

Click {HERE} to check out this talented author/illustrator's website and other books!

Even though I really don't like the cold of winter, I do love the look of snow!  I've always been a collector of stuffed snowmen and rustic woodland holiday decor items, and can't wait to create a classroom window sill display for my students to enjoy as we head into the months of 
December and January.  

Don't you think this trio of "snow sisters" will be a great conversation-starters before 
I introduce Snowman's Story?  I may even have to be on the lookout
for an old black top hat to wear!

Beautifully "frosted" and snowy landscapes set the tone for this story about one snowman's encounter with a whimsical and energetic group of woodland animals.  Students will have a grand time tracking the mischievous antics of the brown bunny as he takes advantage of  nap time and steals the snowman's beloved book!

Building schema, or helping children make connections between what they already know and the story they are going to enjoy, is always more fun when you include a song!  Frosty the Snowman is the perfect tune to introduce this book!  This video clip from the classic television show from my youth even has follow-along lyrics!

Jules Bass & Arthur Rankin Jr.

Michael Friermood blogged over at The Thinker Builder about how he takes his students on a "picture peek" instead of a full-book "picture walk."  I've been sold on the idea ever since reading his post!  Covering part of the cover illustration and just showing the inside cover page sparks interest and animated discussion about what students are wondering and thinking!

Once you've shared part of Snowman's Story silently, have students write questions they have on post-it notes and collect them on "I Think...." or "I Wonder..."  charts before 
perusing the rest of the pages.  

Questions you or they may ask include.....

What is the snowman holding?

Will the bunny be the snowman's friend?

Is the black hat magic?

Is there something under the hat?

Why does the bunny take the snowman's book?

After making predictions about what is going to happen next, and discussing the story character's actions and reactions, share the rest of the book with your students silently.   After the "quiet read" where you've asked them to tell themselves the story "in their head," then ask them to tell their versions out loud.  You can sit them in a circle and do a group story retell "in the round," or you can snap photos of the pages and use the Chatterpix Kid iPad app to record what your students think the snowman and his friends might say!

After the oral re-telling, it's time to ask your students to extend their story experience and create their own snow story illustrations using chalk, crayon, and blue construction paper!  It's a project that is a little "dusty" but I am always amazed at how lovely their winter scenes turn out!  

Once your students have captured their story ideas in pictures, provide them with a variety of graphic organizers and sequencing maps to help them draft, revise, and write their own snowman stories.  The pack I've created includes everything you will need to model the process!

Once your students have finished their stories, be sure to provide time for them to share them with each other!  Maybe even mix up a batch of hot cocoa and serve it up with some snowman-themed snacks and craft activities!  Make it a celebration full of "snow" much learning fun!  You'll find plenty of  party ideas on my winter Pinterest board!

Be sure to grab my forever freebie {HERE}!  
Know that your thoughtful feedback is appreciated!

You might also like this companion resource pack!
It includes open-ended story response sheets that can be used along with any of
your favorite snowman stories!
Click {HERE} to check it out!

Before you go, I will remind you that my mystery word is winter. You can enter it onto your sheet or into the rafflecopter below. Good luck to you, and I hope you'll come back soon! 

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  1. Wowza! What a thorough post! I love all of the wonderful ideas you shared! Thanks so much for linking up!

    1. I am off to hop through everyone's posts now, Carla! It's always so affirming to participate in the event's you organize!

  2. I am looking forward to adding this book to my winter book collection. Thanks for all the wonderful freebies!

  3. I LOVE using wordless picture books and have never heard of this one! Thanks for all the great ideas.

    Literacy Spark

  4. I am really looking forward to checking out this book! Will Hillendbrand is a local and I always love to share that with the students! Thank you for your thoughtful post!