Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Connor - Teaching Ideas

All the poor little snow globe family wants is for the family in the big house to give them a little shake. Their snow is flat and they are tired of making snow angles. They want hills to go sledding! Unfortunately, the snow globe is all but forgotten as it sits on the mantle in the big house. That is, until Baby is left alone in the room while his family goes sledding in the snow. Being all alone, he climbs up to grab the snow globe and just as he grabs the snow globe he and the snow globe tumble to the ground. To the snow globe family’s delight they get the snow blizzard they had been wanting. The snow globe family as well as the family from the big house spend the day sledding in the freshly fallen snow. Exhausted and happy both families fall asleep thinking about all the fun they had playing in the snow.

This is such a fun winter book with so many teaching ideas. Listed below are 20 teaching tips to help you plan and create a truly meaningful lesson.

What stood out to me was how perfect this book was for comparing and contrasting, so I created a freebie to go along with it (link below).

Reading level: 3.5
Theme/subject: family, winter
Genre: adventure

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: mantle, parlor, tramp through the snow

Reading skills and strategies:
  1. Asking questions
    1. Possible questions before - I wonder what the story is going to be about. I wonder if it is a real family that lives in the snow globe.
    2. Possible questions during - I wonder why there is a family living in a snow globe. I wonder why the big family doesn’t notice the snow globe family.  
    3. Possible questions after - I wonder if the family will now pay attention to the snow globe. **Remember to have your students answer /reflect on their questions.
  2. Author's point of view – third person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this. (she, her, they)
  3. Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} there cannot be anyone that lives in a snow globe. It is pretty silly to see the baby’s really big eyes in the window. The snow globe family would have really gotten hurt if they were flung around in real life.
  4. Most important events from the beginning, middle, end
    1. Beginning - The baby was the only one that noticed the snow glove.
    2. Middle - The baby pulled the snow globe off the mantle and shook it all up.
    3. End - The big family and the snow globe family were all fast asleep.
  5. Cause and effect – How come nobody noticed the snow globe anymore? Because it had been there for such a long time. Why did the snow globe family want the big family to shake the snow globe? So they could go sledding. How come the big family doesn’t hear the snow globe family yell “Hellooooo…”? because the big papa is reading a story. How come the snow globe papa got thrown out of the bathtub? Because it was a big snowstorm. How come there was a gentle flurry once a week? Because the made would dust the snow globe. How come the big baby didn’t get to go out sledding with the rest of the family? Because it was bedtime. How come the snow globe family got a snowstorm? Because the baby dropped it and shook it all up. How come the mama in the big house decides to bring the baby outside to go sledding? Because the snow was too wonderful to miss. How come the snow globe family has to leave their house through the upstairs window? Because the snow is covering their front door. 
  6. Character analysis - describe the snow globe family. Describe the big house family. {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  7. Classify & categorize – Things to do when it snows: inside and outside.
  8. Compare & contrast – compare and contrast the two families.
  9. Connections (text-to-self, text-to-text, text-to-world)
    1. Possible text-to-self connections - Waiting for a snowstorm. Wanting a snowstorm. Having a now globe. Going sledding.
    2. Possible text-to-text connections - Snow Globe Adventures: A Christmas Story about Family Love by Robert Bettis both stores are about living in a snow globe.
  10. Drawing conclusions & inferencing – How come no one in the snow globe family cares about the snow flurries? {text clues} The book says that the flurries happen once a week. The book also says that the snow glob family really wants a blizzard.  {what I know} I know that when something happens all the time, you get tired of it and start to ignore it. I also know when you really really want something; there is nothing that can take its place. {my conclusion} I think the snow globe family doesn’t care about the snow flurries because they happen every week and they really really want a snow blizzard.
  11. Fact & opinion{facts} The snow globe sits on a mantle. The big house baby is the only one that pays attention to the snow globe. The big house family goes sledding after it snows. The baby climbed up and got the snow globe off of the mantle.  {opinion} Winter is the best season. Sledding is a lot of fun. The family in the big house should pay more attention to the snow globe. Going sledding is a lot of work.
  12. Main idea & details - {main idea} the story is mostly about the family living in a snow globe really wanting a snowstorm. {details} The snow globe family loves the snow. The snow globe family is hoping that someone from the big family will shake the snow globe to cause a snowstorm. The baby from the big house grabs the snow globe and shakes it up.
  13. Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when the baby grabbed the snow glob off the mantle.
  14. Predict – What do you think the story will be about? Do you think the family in the big house will ever pay attention to the snow globe family? Do you think the snow globe family will get the snowstorm they are wanting? Do you think the baby will get to go out sledding with his family?
  15. Problem & solution - The snow globe family has a problem. {problem} the snow globe family really wants a snow storm.  {solution} The baby in the big house grabbed the snow globe off of the mantle and dropped it causing a big snowstorm in the snow globe.
  16. Sequencing – There are two stories going on in this book. Students can sequence each of the stories.
    1. Sequence for the family in the big house.1.      The family is having tea and cake. 
      2.      The baby notices the snow globe on the mantle. 
      3.      Papa reads the family a story and the baby looks at the family in the snow globe. 
      4.      The maid dusts the snow globe. 
      5.      The children are hoping for a blizzard. A blizzard comes and the kids go out sledding. 
      6.      The baby cannot go out sledding. 
      7.      The baby grabs the snow globe off the mantle and drops it. 
      8.      Mom takes the baby out sledding. 
      9.      The family goes to sleep after sledding.
    1. Sequence for the snow globe family.
    1. The snow globe family is having tea and cake.
    2. The snow globe family goes out to play in the snow. 
    3. The snow globe family is hoping for a snow storm.
    4. The snow globe family tries to get the attention of the family in the big house by yelling, “Helloooo”.
    5. Papa told stories of the big storms of the past.
    6. The snow globe family doesn’t care about the snow flurries that happen once a week.
    7. A big snow storm comes.
    8. The family slides out the upstairs window to play in the snow.
    9. The snow globe family spends the da sledding.
    10. After sledding they all fall fast asleep.
  1. Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  2. Strong thought – The baby is climbing up to the mantle because he was left by himself in the room. What would you say to the baby if you walked into the room and saw what he was doing?
  3. Summarize - {someone} The snow globe family {wanted} wanted a snow storm {but} the family in the big house ignored the snow globe, {so} so Baby grabbed the snow globe off the mantle causing it to fall to the ground.  The snow globe family {finally} finally got their snow storm.
  4. Visualize – Snow globes have many different settings inside of them, some have snow that swirls around, some have sand and some have glitter. Visualize yourself living inside a snow globe. What would your snow globe setting look like?


Happy reading!

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