Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Biggest Snowball Ever! by John Rogan - Teaching Ideas




It is Christmas Eve, and Claire and Paul are excited to go out and play in the snow. They join their friends at the park where they all build snowmen. While working on her snowman, Claire decides to throw a snowball at her brother. She hits him right in the back of the head. As Paul tries to get back at Claire, she ducks and the snowball that Paul throws hits someone else in the ear. That was all that was needed to start the snowball fight, unfortunately for Paul, he is everyone's target. Paul decides to get back at everyone by rolling a big snowball down the hill at them. To Paul's dismay he slips as the snowball starts to roll and away he and the snowball goes, collecting speed, snow and kids on its way down the hill. Thankfully Claire stays clear of the snowball and is able to go run for help. Will the neighbors be able to rescue the children so they don't miss Christmas? Find the book and read it to find out!! :)

Below is a list of questions and ideas for many of the reading skills and strategies. You can use these to come up with a fun activity for your students to do after reading this super cute winter book. If you don't have time, don't worry, I came up with one for you.

Reading level: 2.6
Theme/subject: Christmas, winter, snow
Genre: fiction, holiday

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: winter gear, even up the score, summit of the hill, massive size, one and all, aid, delayed, glum, all their might, plight, hesitate,

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions – these are just possible questions or wonderings from either the student or teacher
    • Before – I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder how the boy got stuck in the snowball. I wonder if the other kids will get stuck. I wonder if the boy is going to get hurt.
    • During – I wonder what the kids are going to do in the park. I wonder if Paul really will get mad at Claire. I wonder who is going to win the snowball fight. I wonder what Paul is going to do to even up the score. I wonder if you really could get stuck in a snowball. I wonder if the kids will be able to get out of the snowball. I wonder what Claire and Paul will get for Christmas.
    • After – I wonder what Paul and Claire got for Christmas. I wonder if Paul will try to make a big snowball again.
  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – third – they, he, she
  • Author's purpose – entertain
    • Evidence
      1. The author wrote the story in rhyme.
      2. Kids can’t really get stuck in a snowball.
      3. It was pretty silly to see all the children sticking out of the snowball.
  • Beginning, middle, end – the most important event from each
    • Beginning – Paul and Claire went outside to play with their friends in the snow.
    • Middle – Paul decided he was going to get even with all the kids by making really big snowball.
    • End – Claire got the parents to come help dig the children out of the big snowball
  • Cause and effect
      1. Why did Paul and Claire decide to go outside and play? Because there was snow outside.
      2. Why were Paul and Claire looking for clothes that no one wears? Because they were going to use them for their snowman.
      3. Why did Claire think Paul was going to be mad at her? Because she threw a snowball at him.
      4. How come the snowball fight started? Because Paul’s snowball missed his sister and hit someone else in the ear.
      5. How come Paul wanted to even up the score? Because he got hit by ten or more snowballs.
      6. Why did Paul end up a part of his snowball? Because he slipped.
      7. How come the children were running? Because the snowball was headed straight for them.
      8. How come the snowball stopped? Because it hit a tree.
      9. How come Paul and Claire are dreaming of toys they’d love to keep? Because they know that Santa is on his way.
  • Character analysis - describe Claire and Paul {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Classify & categorize
    • Classify – the snowmen in the story
    • Categorize
      1. Their size
      2. Their clothes
      3. Their noses
  • Compare & contrast 
    • Claire and Paul
    • Claire and Paul’s snowmen
    • Your snowman and a snowman from the book (have students draw their own snowman first.
  • Connections 
    • Text-to-self    
      1. Having snow to play in.
      2. Having a snowball fight with your friends.
      3. Making a snowman.
    • Text-to-text
      1. Snowball Fight by Jimmy Fallon
      2. The Big Snowball (An All Aboard Picture Reader) by Wendy Cheyette Lewison and Maryann Cocca-Leffler
      3. The Snowball (A Step-Into-Reading, Step 1) by Jennifer Armstrong and Jean Pidgeon
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing – What does the word plight mean?
    • Text clues – the text says that the neighbors dug with all their might to save the children. I can see the children stuck in a big snowball.
    • What I know – I know that if you are trying to save someone it is because they are probably in trouble or stuck.
    • My conclusion – I think the word plight means stuck because the kids were stuck in the snowball and needed help to get out.
  • Main idea & details
    • Main idea – the story is mostly about kids getting stuck in a huge snowball.
    • Details – the kids were having a snowball fight. Paul was making a big snowball to get back at all the kids that hit him with a snowball. Paul lost control of the snowball and it rolled down the hill collecting snow and kids.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Paul slipped and lost control of his snowball.
  • Predict
      1. What do you think the story is going to be about?
      2. What do you think happened to cause the snowball to get so big?
      3. What are some of the things you think the children will do in the snow?
      4. Do you think Paul will get mad at Claire?
      5. Why do you think Paul is walking up the hill?
      6. What do you think Paul is going to do with his snowball?
      7. How do you think the snowball is going to stop?
      8. How are the children going to get out of the snowball?
  • Problem & solution
    • Problem – the problem in the story is that the kids get stuck in a giant snowball.
    • Solution – Claire runs to town and gets the neighbors to come help the kids.
  • Sequencing
      1. Claire and Paul want to go out and play in the snow.
      2. Claire and Paul walk to the park with their friends.
      3. All the kids build snowmen.
      4. Claire decides to throw a snowball at Paul.
      5. Paul throws a snowball and it hits someone in the ear.
      6. Paul gets hit by 10 or more snowballs.
      7. Paul goes up a hill to make a snowball.
      8. Paul’s snowball starts to roll down the hill and collect snow and kids.
      9. The neighbors come and help the kids get out of the snowball.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Summarize 
    • Someone - Paul
    • Wanted – wanted to get back at all the kids that hit him with a snowball
    • But – but he couldn’t do it with a small snowball
    • So ­– so he walked up the hill to make a big snowball that he was going to roll down on them.
    • Then – Then all of a sudden he slipped and got stuck in the snowball, which rolled down the hill and gathered up snow and kids!
    • Finally – Finally Claire got the neighbors to help get all the kids out of the giant snowball.
  • Visualize – what do YOU picture… Paul was going to roll a big snowball down the hill to get back at all the kids for hitting him with snowballs. What would YOU do to get back at someone that hit you with a snowball?
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Happy reading!


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