Snowman Creative Writing Project - Perfect for December or January

Today I'm jumping in with a winter idea that you can print and implement in an instant for some winter/holiday snowman fun. It's my snowman creative writing project.

Over the years, I've used this writing project for different holidays--Halloween/fall, winter, and Valentines--to provide something educational, worthwhile, and fun for my 4th and 5th graders.

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If you knew me in real life, you'd know we don't ever "party" in my classroom. But, we do have fun educational celebrations {wink}. Over the years, I've come to realize that there's nothing wrong with letting your hair down a few times a year and having a little fun.

Whether you are a big classroom reveler or you are still in the "We don't have parties” camp, I think this snowman creative writing project will be perfect for your classroom.

If you want to squeeze it in before holiday break, 1-2 weeks to prepare the stories should be sufficient. If you need something for your return in January, well, this is all about snow people, and in my neck of the woods, it will be getting even colder in January ;) 

In this writing unit, students write an imaginative narrative about a snowman with a given character trait. You could also focus on writing poetry or let students decide.

Students do a craft or art component by creating a 3D snowman or just illustrating their snowman on paper to go along with their story (depending on how much time I have to allot for this mini-unit).

Here's what I do:

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1. Launch the Mini-Writing Unit

I do this with a picturebook like Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner.  I usually read just one, but it would be absolutely perfect to read 3-4 different snowman books prior to launching this unit.

Most of the snowman-themed books I have found are very short, so this wouldn't be hard to do. Snowman Magic by Katherine Tegen,  All you Need for a Snowman by Alice SchertleSnowmen at Playand Snowmen at Work (both also by Caralyn Buehner) are some other great reads.

snowman read alouds snowman picturebook

2. Choose Character Traits

Next, I have each student choose a snowman trait from a set of adjectives I have generated for the project. Each student receives a different trait so that students learn about as many different words as possible during this project.

snowman personalities vocabulary writing

3. Use Graphic Organizers to Explore the Snowman Character Trait

I created different graphic organizers for students to use in exploring their word. Students use dictionaries, thesauruses, and other resources to learn definitions, synonyms, and antonyms of their word and complete the graphic organizer. Word exploration takes at least 1-2 writing workshop periods. We love to use wordhippo to help us in our research, but thesauruses are also necessary.

character trait graphic organizers

This snowman is so jubilant! And look at all those new words this student has to add to their vocabulary!

jubilant snowman example

4. Start Writing the Snowman Story!

As students finish up their word research, they move into their actual snowman creative writing project. They use a "character questionnaire" to explore their character to deepen their understanding of the trait,  and to brainstorm and plan their stories. As students plan their stories, I am sure to check their ideas and talk to them about whether or not their character's actions represent the character trait they are supposed to.

Sometimes students incorporate character change into their story--for example, a jubilant snowman could be cantankerous or grumpy at the beginning of the story, but along the way, he found the holiday spirit and became the most jubilant snowman in all the land. :)

Some of your writing lessons could even aim for teaching students to create character change in their stories and this would allow them to utilize their synonyms and antonyms more easily. A simple "beginning, middle, and end" graphic organizer is perfect for having students describe the character at the beginning, think about events that could happen to cause the character to change, then describe the character at the end.

character planning graphic organizers character questionnaire

5. Draft & Publish the Snowman Story

Next, students draft and publish their story. They also sketch out and plan what their character looks like by drawing him/her on a sheet of paper. I give students a sheet of facial expressions to help guide their artwork.

drafting and publishing templates

6. Design, Draw, or Decorate the Snowman Character!!!

THIS IS WHERE YOU GO ALL OUT—YOU PARTY ANIMAL ;) The next step is snowman decoration day! I gather tons of craft items that students can use to decorate a 3D snowman (using paper plates, Styrofoam balls, tea lights, marshmallows and pretzels, or any other snazzy snowman idea you can find on pinterest). I invite a few parents to come help us put our snowman ideas into action. If you do not want to make 3D snowmen, students can simply design and draw their snowman character on the snowman design template.

7. Celebrate!

And the very last step is to CELEBRATE! To prepare for the celebration, you can have students' snowman designs and stories set up around the classroom. Readers move from story to story leaving “Snowman Shout Outs” (aka positive feedback) for the writer. My students love to celebrate this way AND the room is always quiet with everyone reading happily.

snowman writing celebration

Take the Learning Deeper

To take it a step beyond (especially if you have extra time and perhaps two days for your writing share-a-bration, you can use the vocabulary template that includes space for the character trait’s definition, synonyms, antonyms, and personal connection. Students can complete a vocabulary square for each story as they read them. This is a great way to reinforce vocabulary learning as students walk away with a collection of new words to add to their vocabularies!

Add Some Sweetness

This writing celebration is PERFECT for the last day you have before winter break. I mean, what could be better than your students rotating the room, reading one another's stories in near silence, and checking out each other's art work? Not to mention, having students write compliments to each writer on a sticky note is pretty heartwarming as students express kind words to one another.

To make this celebration even SWEETER, serve hot chocolate and candy canes and you will be making MEMORIES for your students! {low prep, low stress, educationally worthwhile memories :)} Don't forget to invite your principal to stop by during your celebration!

If you are interested in the snowman personality traits, graphic organizers, and other templates and activities I use for this writing unit, you can find them here  in my tarheelstate teacher store.

No matter the activity or idea you choose, I do hope you take some time to let your hair down and let loose with your students. I truly believe that while my job is to create passionate readers, competent and joyful math students, and all-around good children in my classroom, a little part of my job is also helping to add memories to their childhood. I hope my students look back fondly on our snowman, valentine, and pumpkin personality units!

Click over to grab your snowman creative writing project resource now!