Saturday, December 31, 2011

Snow! Snow! Snow!

Okay, the truth is that I teach in a very sunny city in California.  Having grown up here, I know that it snows once every ten years.  Of course, if you blink, you miss the snow.  However, most teachers here have a deep, down fascination with snow.  So each winter, we take time to create lots of art focusing on ... snow.  One year a teacher from _________ (an unnamed COLD state) told me that it made no sense to have our students make snowmen since it doesn't snow here.  (She didn't fall for the "it snows here every ten years, but don't blink" speech.)  I tried to explain that that is EXACTLY why we make snowmen and snowflakes and whatever else we can think of that is snow related.  But she didn't get it!  Hopefully you will!

I am posting PRIOR to making these projects with my class because otherwise I won't get around to telling you until the spring.  (Seriously, I have drafts of blog pages with pumpkin ideas and gingerbread ideas that I never quite finished and I would be WAY too embarrassed to post now so those blog pages will have to wait until the next school year to be posted.  Maybe I will post them in the summer and you all will be soooooo impressed with how organized I am!  Hah hah!)

Back to snow ...

1) Pattern Block Snowflakes:

Every year we make pattern block snowflakes.  This idea came from my teaching partner Marlene.  (THANKS Marlene!!!) To prep,  I use a pattern block template and copy all of the different pattern blocks onto white paper.  Then I get a helper (usually a middle school or high school student) to cut out the various pattern blocks.  For each child,  I cut a blue (either dark or light) 12" X 12" square and glue a white hexagon in the middle. (Last year I cut the blue paper into circles ahead of time because I had kinders and wanted to make their project different than the first grade project.)  Each student is to create a symmetrical snowflake using the white pattern blocks.  The hexagon in the middle gives them a base to build from.  These snowflakes always turn out beautiful (although a few are always .. well, interesting) and they make a great bulletin board display.  Plus this is really a math project!  I expect students to use the correct names of the shapes as they work.   Here is a link to the templates for the pattern blocks.

2) Quilt Square Snowflake:

I have a quilt square bulletin board in my classroom (see the picture above).  Each month, the children make a new quilt square. Last year we made snowflakes for January.   I get all of my quilt square ideas from TLC Art from The Quilt Book.  I gave my students the 8" X 8" dark blue square along with 3 light blue rectangles (about 7" X 1") and 5 white rectangles (about 1" X 2").  The children first glue on the light blue rectangles.  Then they cut all of the white rectangles in half and make squares.  Then they cut three of the squares in half to make triangles.  (Lots of geometry here!!!)  BUT you can have students create their own patterns for this also.

3)  Coffee Filter Snowflakes:

This is an idea from Pinterest.  Here is my sample.  To make this you fold a coffee filter into half, and then half again, and then half again.  If you have older students, you can fold even more.  Then the students cut triangles, half circles, etc on the folds.  I am going to tie math into this.  As we fold, we can talk about halves, fourths and eighths.  We can also talk about the shapes we are making .  "Hmmm ... I cut a triangle, but it turned into rhombus when I opened it, Why is that?"  (I heart math!!!!)

4)  Torn Paper Snowman: 

Years ago my sister gave me a card that had a flower made from torn paper.  It was so beautiful that I decided to have my students tear paper to create snowmen.  I love to do torn paper projects because it helps my perfectionists loosen up.  It is impossible for a torn paper project to be "perfect" so they learn to live with an imperfect project that is adorable.  I am a perfectionist with a capital P (What does that really mean?  "With a capital P"?  Well, it sounds impressive so I will use it.)  I sure wish I had teachers that nudged me to loosen up instead of asking for perfect pieces of art.  This is the only sample I could find - not a great sample, but you get the idea.  I have students begin by drawing three circles with a white crayon so they know where to glue their pieces.  (I think this child skipped that step!)

5)  Cutest Snowman EVER!!!!!
Here is my very favorite snowman ever - it is at the top left of my Pinterest board.  (With all of the controversy about clipart, I got nervous about posting anything that wasn't mine.)
Okay, this is an idea I haven't used yet, but because I think it is the cutest snowman ever so I plan to have my students create these snowmen.  We will start with dark blue paper and then use crayons to create them.  (Note to self: Find white crayons for the students to use.  Why don't ALL crayon boxes come with white crayons????)  This snowman is from Kathy Barbro's art blog, which I LOVE!  

Love to all,



  1. I love your cheerful and funny blog post! I live in sunny California as well and it never snows here! Yet, I also make the pattern block snowflakes each year and yes, most are beautiful, but some are interesting like you said. We do it on a dark blue square and my PM partner will do it on a light blue square and then we display as a quilt. Very pretty!

  2. Thanks for stopping my blog and introducing yourself! Nice post! Can I say that I CANNOT make snowflakes for the life of me. Really. I have tried and tried (for years and years!) and I always seem to cut through the paper at the wrong spot OR end up with square snowflakes. True. I kid you not. Square. I think the pattern block snowflake is right up my ally!

  3. Hi!
    I got your sweet note! Love your blog! Can I add you to my roll?
    How far is your school from the San Jose Airport? I get in next Thursday at 1 and could come to your school and do a free concert if there is time.
    Happy 2012!
    Dr. Jean

  4. Hi Camille!
    We're having a hard time hooking up, aren't we?
    My email address is
    Give me a shout!

  5. I nominated you for the Liebster Award. See my blog post: . Have you seen The Help yet? I'm going this year for sure. Happy New Year. Love those snowflakes!